Ways to Provide Solidarity to People in Houston
Thousands are suffering because of Hurricane Harvey and spillover flooding since this weekend. Many of us are wondering how we can volunteer and donate to help the many in hard-hit areas. We all know that showing solidarity in trying times is an important part of what we do and why we do it as progressives.
Local relief groups, progressive organizations, unions, and immigrant rights groups are already mobilizing grassroots relief efforts. Here is a list of groups and efforts you can plug into to help:
The Texas Workers Relief Fund http://www.texasaflcio.org/donate. A union-relief effort by the Texas AFL-CIO, donations are tax-deductible. The state fed has been closely coordinating with the Houston and Corpus-area central labor councils to provide material aid.
RNRN Disaster Relief Fund http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/pages/rnrn-disaster-relief-fund. National Nurses United organizes medical relief for major disasters through this fund.
Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group Fund http://www.cbcfoundation.org/. If you want to donate directly for relief in the Coastal Bend towns hit directly by the hurricane.
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/. Houston’s mayor has set up this fund to assist with victims of Houston’s ongoing and increasingly dangerous flooding. Donations are tax-deductible.
The extreme enforcement policies of SB4 and ICE have put immigrant workers in increased harm’s way through the crisis. Immigrant and refugee groups such as RAICES https://www.raicestexas.org/pages/volunteer-opportunities in San Antonio are moving to get aid directly to immigrant families.
The National Black United Front Houston chapter is coordinating relief efforts through its “Feed the Hood” program at https://www.facebook.com/nbufhouston/ or call Malik Muhammad at 832-880-2791.
Austin Common Ground Relief are antifa providing mutual and grassroots solidarity relief on the New orleans model HarveyAid2017@gmail.com @ATXFlood on Twitter (209) 787-0473. Also check online for Occupy Houston, still around. If you are local and want to sign up to volunteer with relief efforts, there’s a GoogleForm: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdk0SkSJLXTEuaBcL4WGPB7z-X41qwp8iyQRuKVqH5P22U8fQ/viewform
CAPITALISM CAUSED CATASTROPHE
How is it that Houston was inundated with more rain in a day than it usually gets in a year? George Monbiot, writing in the UK Guardian, notes that Harvey is clearly a consequence of human-caused climate change. “We know that the severity and impact of hurricanes on coastal cities is exacerbated by at least two factors: higher sea levels, caused primarily by the thermal expansion of seawater; and greater storm intensity, caused by higher sea temperatures and the ability of warm air to hold more water than cold air.
“Before it reached the Gulf of Mexico, Harvey had been demoted from a tropical storm to a tropical wave. But the water it brought up from [deep in the Gulf] was unusually warm. Robert Kopp, a professor of Earth sciences, predicted: “In the absence of major efforts to reduce emissions and strengthen resilience, the Gulf Coast will take a massive hit. Its exposure to sea-level rise – made worse by potentially stronger hurricanes – poses a major risk to its communities.” To raise this issue, I’ve been told on social media, is to politicize Hurricane Harvey, an insult to the victims and a distraction from their urgent need. I believe it is the silence that’s political. To report the storm as if it were an entirely natural phenomenon, like last week’s eclipse of the sun, is to take a position. By failing to make the obvious link and talk about climate breakdown, media organizations ensure our greatest challenge goes unanswered. They help push the world towards catastrophe.”