This crisis is a global crisis.
The flooding and climate change disaster unfolding in Houston, southeast Texas, and southwest Louisiana is a crisis that carries direct, immediate repercussions as well as global implications. Houston’s Ship Channel is home to the nation’s largest petrochemical complex. The Gulf Coast represents over 50% of U.S. oil and gas refining. The potential for toxic spills, fires, explosions, leaks, and disasters is compounded by the lack of corporate and state accountability, regulation, or transparency. Gas shortages and spiked up prices will affect all of us, particularly in the South. The dynamics of the border, an already militarized and dangerous zone, will threaten immigrants moving in and out of the region. Incarceration, racial profiling, the militarization of police, and the criminalization of survival tactics will put more Black people and people of color at risk for violence. Houston is a global finance hub with almost no zoning laws and a Ship Channel that generates over 1 million jobs. Given the political and economic climate, what can we anticipate about the state and private sector response?
There are many, often less visible, crises that need attention.
We recognize that the larger cities and larger institutions will receive more attention and resources while rural and indigenous places as well as impoverished, LGBTQ, and communities of color within cities will not. The crisis will occupy a position on the news cycle for a few weeks but not for the years of recovery and rebuilding that will be required. How can we remain vigilant and anticipate which communities require intentional support, where interpretation will be harder to access, where trans folks can get what they need without violation?
Displacement is a political and economic strategy.
The depopulation of New Orleans and many of the areas affected by Katrina, Rita, and Ike served political ends to whitewash and redistrict a Black city. Houston is a global city that holds significant Asian, Latin American, Iranian, Arab, and Muslim populations. Even the relief efforts themselves can contribute to price gouging, raising rental prices, evicting people. How can we ensure that recovery efforts include the strengths, needs, and contributions of all people living there?
Resistance & movement infrastructure exists.
The Southern Movement Assembly
is a coordinated organizing process originating in the 2005 Gulf Coast Crisis. With eighteen anchor organizations meeting weekly and over 100 participating organizations that converge annually, Southern communities are implementing a collective strategy to build a new economy, a people’s democracy, and movement mechanisms to protect and defend ourselves. You are already a part of the Southern Freedom Movement.