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Houston is the largest city in America without an Equal Rights Ordinance to protect its residents and visitors from discrimination. 

 

The Mint Needs Volunteers for Activities Monday - Friday 3-6 PM! Our Kids Need your Help!
Discussing Dioxin with A Resident Along the San Jacinto River

 

Words That Matter:

"He who awaits much can expect little."

―Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

 

 

 

Empower Houston Leaders in Pasadena

Here at Texans Together we work to build communities by engaging those who have traditionally been disenfranchised or disengaged. By identifying community leaders and teaching them powerful organizing skills, we’ve helped Houstonians from all walks of life make their neighborhoods better. Empower Houston Leaders, our eight week course in community organizing, has graduated hundreds of activists and volunteers who work together to improve their communities. We’re excited to take EHL to Pasadena, in a continued partnership with Neighborhood Centers Inc., where a new class of Spanish speaking participants will learn the power of Direct Action Organizing.

San Jacinto River Coalition Calls on Waste Management to Live up to Earth Day Promises

As millions around the world observed Earth Day, The San Jacinto River Coalition and Texans Together held a press conference at the headquarters of Houston-based Waste Management to discuss newly public court documents that confirm they wholly own and operate McGinnis Industrial Maintenance Corp, who constructed the San Jacinto River Waste Pits in the 1960s. While Waste Management Inc. talks the good corporate citizen talk with its massive promotion of Earth Day, to date it has refused to walk the walk and take action at the San Jacinto River. The waste pits are a major source of the dioxin and other toxic chemicals that have polluted the river and poisoned the community for decades.

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest

View From The Cheap Seats

This is an article originally published in the New York Times and it gives a lot on information on something I have been talking about for a long time: Income Inequality. 

Here is a link to the original article. The New York Times is a national paper and a strong leader in providing news to the public. I strongly suggest that anyone with an interest in an in depth examination of the news of the day subscribe, I did.

 

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest

 By David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy
 

The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that honor, and many Americans are dissatisfied with the state of the country. “Things are pretty flat,” said Kathy Washburn of Mount Vernon, Iowa. “You have mostly lower level and high and not a lot in between.”

The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.

 

While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

 

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

The numbers, based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years, offer some of the most detailed publicly available comparisons for different income groups in different countries over time. They suggest that most American families are paying a steep price for high and rising income inequality.

Although economic growth in the United States continues to be as strong as in many other countries, or stronger, a small percentage of American households is fully benefiting from it. Median income in Canada pulled into a tie with median United States income in 2010 and has most likely surpassed it since then. Median incomes in Western European countries still trail those in the United States, but the gap in several — including Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden — is much smaller than it was a decade ago.

 

EHL Graduation!

Last week a new group of passionate community leaders graduated from our Empower Houston Leaders class. Over the course of seven weeks our students learned the principals of direct action organizing and began projects to make their neighborhoods better. From organizing ESL classes to building a community garden, these graduates are ready to get to work using the powerful skills they learned.

President Obama Speaks at Civil Rights Symposium

This week, thousands gathered in Austin for a Civil Rights Symposium to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among them are Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Bush Jr., as well as President Barack Obama, who spoke earlier today. Gathering at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, the symposium is celebrating one of the most important pieces of legislation of the 20th century, but also recognizing the work still left to do. Texans Together is working hard to continue the fight for Civil Rights and equality for all by working to pass a Civil Rights Ordinance to protect Houstonians from discrimination.

Mayor Parker Announces Civil Rights Ordinance

 

Last month, Texans Together launched a petition to urge City Council to pass a comprehensive Civil Rights Ordinance to protect Houstonians against discrimination. Since then our organizers have been working hard to engage Houston’s traditionally disengaged communities about the importance of a local Civil Rights Ordinance and gathering support. Hundreds of people from all over the Houston area have added their name to our efforts, and today we got one more. Earlier this afternoon Mayor Annise Parker announced that her administration is ready to get to work with City Council to protect our City’s diversity. Speaking at the annual State of the City luncheon, Mayor Parker agreed that it's time for Houston to undertake the important work of safeguarding the rights and dignity of all persons.

The Supreme Court Gone Rogue

 

And Now, A Few Words…

(Today's blog was written by Texans Together's president, Fred Lewis who is an attorney and campaign finance expert.)

The United States Supreme Court’s just released decision to invalidate contribution is both a constitutional and policy abomination. The decision undermines American democracy, people’s faith in the integrity of our elections, and the legitimacy of the Court. In McCutheon vs Federal Election Commission, 5 judicial activist justices invalidated aggregate federal campaign contribution limits for individuals that restricted how much one person could give in contributions. Federal law had limited very rich individual donors from giving more than $48, 600 in contributions to federal candidates and over $74,600 to political action committees in a two year election cycle.  Now the rich and powerful can give an unlimited amount of total contributions to multiple federal candidates and political action committees, although the limits they can give to any individual candidate remain—for now.

Celebrating Cesar Chavez Day

(Today's blog was written by Texans Together's Assistant Director, Jose Antonio Ramirez.)

Today, March 31st, marks both César Chávez’s birthday and César Chávez Day. Today serves as a commemoration to the legacy of service, community, environmentalism, and civil rights that César Chávez dedicated his life to. In addition to being a state holiday in Texas, Colorado, and California, President Obama has issued a Presidential Proclamation, encouraging Americans to make this a national day of service and education by speaking out, organizing, and participating in service projects to improve lives in their communities.

What If a Hurricane Hit the San Jacinto Waste Pits?

(Today's blog was written by Texans Together's president, Fred Lewis.)

It seems obvious to me that it is extremely unwise to leave hundreds of tons of dioxin, a highly toxic waste, in the middle of the San Jacinto River, capped with a liner covered with rocks, because of the all too real threat of hurricanes on our Gulf Coast. I came across today a real world example of the power of hurricanes. A National Academy of Science report indicates that Hurricane Katrina, which was a Category 3 hurricane, had winds so powerful that it moved, toppled, and caused a massive spill from a gigantic 250,000 barrel oil and gas storage tank. Yet the Waste Pits' potential responsible parties, International Paper and Waste Management, want people to believe that their liner capped by large stones would protect the public from dioxin being dispersed everywhere when (not if) a hurricane hits the superfund site. Really? They expect us to buy that?

What the Galveston Bay Oil Spill Can Teach Us About the San Jacinto River

Over the weekend a barge owned by Kirby Inland Marine collided with a tanker in the Houston Ship Channel, causing 168,000 gallons of oil to leak into the water, shutting down the Ship Channel and contaminating Galveston Bay. The economic and environmental tolls of this accident are yet to be seen, but with a third of affected birds already dead, and the Ship Channel’s traffic still limited, it doesn’t look good.

 

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