To hurricane-ravaged Houston, with love

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THE NATIONAL GUARD
  • The National Guard
When I heard about Hurricane Harvey bearing down on Houston, my first thought was a selfish one: I was worried about my brother.

My only sibling and his fiancé call Houston home. Thankfully, they are safe, having always loved high-rise living. My brother, like so many Texans, loves Houston, has full faith that it will recover, and has no plans of leaving.

But it's hard to imagine a recovery right now — when people have died, others are in danger, and high waters have destroyed so much of America's fourth most populous city. The Independent is a member of the Association for Alternative Newsmedia, an organization representing 108 news organizations much like our own. AAN journalists have been in contact with each other throughout the crisis, and today, we've been showering love and support on the journalists in Houston, who are fighting to cover this disaster even as their own lives have been impacted.

In a particularly touching exchange, Kevin Allman, editor of New Orlean's Gambit Weekly, reached out to the Houston press saying, "Love from New Orleans. You have such a long road ahead. We know, and we won’t forget you in the weeks and months to come."

Allman meant it as a personal exchange, but I'm sharing it with you because it made me think about how we are all linked with each other in times of disaster. The people of New Orleans can't help but flash back to Hurricane Katrina when they see those images from Houston. And, while it's certainly a different kind of disaster, I couldn't help but think of what we went through with the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires, and the flash floods that hit afterward.

Disasters are horrible for everyone caught in them, but for reporters they mean long hours of work, even when all you want to do is go home to your family and take care of your personal affairs. So, our hats are off to our colleagues in Houston. And we'd like to share some of the work that they are striving so hard to produce. Take a look at some of the links below:

When Houston Went Under: Harvey Brings Historic Floods (Houston Press)

Exxon, Other Refineries, Emitted Chemicals Into the Air During Harvey (Houston Press)

Houston's Real Heroes of Harvey...and One Goat (Houston Press)

After the storm: 15 things to do (Houston Defender)

46 Inches of Rain (Hispanic Houston)

And if you'd like to help the victims, but want to go a little off the beaten path with your donation, our (unabashedly populist) columnist Jim Hightower, of Austin, Texas, wanted us to share this list of organizations sent by Our Revolution Texas:

Friends,

Thousands in our state are suffering because of Hurricane Harvey and spillover flooding since this weekend. Our Revolution Texas members are among them. Many of us around the state 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 progressive populists.

In the Houston Area

If you have a flat-bottomed boat or a high-water vehicle, you are urgently needed. Call 713-881-3100.
If you are in need of immediate help from a life-threatening emergency call 9-1-1.
If you are or know others in need of non-emergency help call 3-1-1 in Houston or 2-1-1 in nearby areas.

Outside Houston

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. 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. Our ally the National Nurses United organizes medical relief for major disasters through this fund.

Texas DSA. DSA chapters (also allies) have been organizing both volunteers and those in need at a grassroots level. Sign up here to offer help (or ask for it) or donate directly to Houston DSA.

Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group Fund. If you want to donate directly for relief in the Coastal Bend towns hit directly by the hurricane.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. 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 in San Antonio are moving to get aid directly to immigrant families. Jumping in now is just the beginning.

In solidarity,

Chris Kutalik-Cauthern
Our Revolution Texas, Statewide Coordinator

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