The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) is an organization of institutions dedicated to developing power and leadership among citizens in order to transform the city. We work to create relational power that can build and strengthen each member institution as well as shape public policy for the common good. TMO was formed in 1980 to give a voice to people who are usually excluded from major decisions that affect their lives. TMO is a part of a larger network of organizations known as the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a nationwide organizing institute with a fifty year history. TMO is also part of the West / Southwest IAF regional network and the Industrial Areas Foundation national network.

TMO believes that a truly democratic society requires the active participation of ordinary citizens. When people lack the means to connect to power and participate effectively in public life, social relationships disintegrate. Our model of relational organizing helps build real community. It generates social capital through a tight web of relationships across lines of race, ethnicity, class, faith, and geography. This social capital enables us to participate fully in public life and to become more effective actors in our communities.


TMO & Texas IAF Clergy Testify at House Public Education Committee Hearing on School Finance

Minister Jaqueline Hailey of New Hope Baptist Church and TMO testified with Fr. Miles Brandon of St Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church and Central TX Interfaith on behalf of the Network of Texas IAF Organizations at the Texas House Public Education Committee hearing on school finance.

The Network of Texas IAF Organizations is calling on legislators to 'invest in people' through increased spending on public schools and adult workforce education programs.   

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TMO Convenes Gun Control Vigil with Houston Police Chief

[Excerpts below]

As the state legislature prepares to convene, local clergy and The Metropolitan Organization on Sunday held a gun control vigil at Trinity United Methodist Church. Those present spoke passionately about gun safety policies.

“Despite the fact that we’re supposed to be a first-world country, a civilized nation, a nation of laws, we continue to see the scourge of gun violence in the United States,” said Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo....

David Lyon, senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel, read an opinion piece he wrote for the Houston Chronicle in January of 2013. After every mass shooting in the years since, he has referred to the article and says he could still write it word for word. He eventually published a version for his congregation with blanks instead of the words “Sandy Hook” so that members could fill in the name of the latest disaster.  

“Our purpose here is to stop filling in the blanks and change the narrative,” Lyon said.

For the Rev. Ed Jones, the pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church, the urgency of the vigil that he had been planning for months had been underscored by personal tragedy that very week. 

A family member, 17-year-old Drew Conley, had been shot and killed the Monday before.

[Photo Credit: Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle]

Houstonians Recall Sandy Hook Victims and Push for Gun Law ChangesHouston Chronicle

Legislators on Quest to reform Gun LawsHouston Chronicle

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TMO Pushes Back Against Proposed Changes to "Public Charge"

One day before Thanksgiving, the Houston Chronicle published a letter submitted by TMO clergy Rabbi David Lyon, Rev. Albert Zanetta and Rev. Simón Bautista.  

[Excerpt below]

This past week, many of us sat down with our extended families at Thanksgiving celebrations. As faith leaders, we teach that family is sacred. We are moved to keep families together, so they may thrive together.

The Trump administration has proposed a policy that would force immigrant families to make an impossible choice between caring for their children, parents and grandparents and keeping their family together in the United States. The proposed changes to the 100-year-old “public charge” regulation will make it more difficult for an immigrant to become a legal permanent resident or obtain a visa to visit the United States if he is not wealthy, have a preexisting health condition, or participate in programs that support health, nutrition and housing stability....

Don't Penalize Children for Being Poor, Especially After HarveyHouston Chronicle [pdf

Push Back Against Proposed Changes to 'Public Charge'TMO

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TMO Leaders Organize GOTV Neighborhood Walks and Phone Banks, Increase Turnout

TMO leaders knocked on hundreds of doors and contacted thousands of voters by phone through organized Get Out The Vote walks and phone banks around their churches in Houston, Cypress, and Pasadena.  While 63% more people voted in Texas this year, targeted precincts far outperformed the statewide average.  In one targeted Cypress precinct, leaders called hundreds of voters and voter turnout increased by 95.65%. In another targeted precinct, in Pasadena, leaders called hundreds of voters and turnout increased by 117.65%!

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700+ Leaders Participate in TMO Accountability Sessions at St. Leo the Great Catholic, Congregation Beth Israel, and St. Pius V Catholic

In advance of the fall midterm elections, TMO leaders gathered and publicly challenged candidates running for office to, if elected, commit to working with them on immigration, job training, expansion of health care, flooding mitigation and Harvey Rebuilding, public education, college debt, and payday lending.  Participating candidates publicly stated their stance on these issues and made commitments to TMO leaders to support and/or craft policy in these areas.

Candidates challenged included U.S. Rep. District 29 Phillip Aronoff (R) and Sylvia Garcia (D), Harris County Commissioner Precinct 2 Adrian Garcia (D), Harris County Judge Ed Emmett (R) and Lina Hidalgo (D); Texas Senate District 17 Rita Lucido (D), House District 133 Marty Schexnayder (D), House District 135 Jon Rosenthal (D), and House District 144 Mary Ann Perez (D).

After the assemblies, leaders organized neighborhood walks and phone banks through which they knocked on hundreds of doors in targeted districts and contacted thousands of voters by phone.

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Religious Leaders, TMO Urge Public to Fight Hate with Love ...and to Vote

In response to the tragedy in Pittsburgh, Houston religious and TMO leaders stood together in solidarity in support of the Jewish community at a Congregation Beth Israel event.

[Photo Credit: Mark Mulligan / Houston Chronicle]

Houston Interfaith Leaders Urge to Fight Hate with Love and Voting, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

Diversas organizaciones religiosas expresan su apoyo a la comunidad judía tras la masacre en Pittsburgh, Univision 45

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Houston Police Chief Fulfills Pledge to TMO, Calls on Smith & Wesson to Make Guns Safer

Fulfilling a commitment made to TMO earlier this year, Houston Police Chief (and incoming president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association) Art Acevedo publicly urged American Outdoor Brands Corp., formerly Smith & Wesson, to examine its safety practices and standards. 

The joint letter, signed also by Rabbi David Lyon, Senior of Rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel and leader with TMO, and Montgomery Police Chief (and outgoing MCCA president), J. Thomas Manger, was accompanied with a supportive statement by the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign.  Do Not Stand Idly By is a national IAF campaign made up of law enforcement leaders, medical and public health professionals and religious leaders to promote the production and use of smart guns.

[Photo Credit: Bloomberg Business]

Police Chiefs, Clergy to Gunmaker: Cut Shootings by Making Guns Safer, Houston Chronicle

Cops, Priests Urge Smith & Wesson to Make Guns Safer, Bloomberg Business

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TMO Says Vote YES! for Harris County Bond Election

TMO leaders held seven civic academies across Harris County to educate voters about the upcoming County Bond election.  Guests including Bayou City Initiative’s Jim Blackburn, Harris County Flood District Representatives, and Commissioner Ellis’ staff joined the meetings. TMO leaders organized follow up phone banks to reach thousands of voters during the early voting period. 

Don’t forget to vote August 25, 2018!!

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TMO Recognized by Greater Houston Community Foundation for Hurricane Harvey Recovery Work

Catch TMO leaders at events they organized to bring repair services and resources to congregations across the city in this video put together by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.  

Click video link here to see leaders in action at minutes: 6:05, 6:06, 6:51, 6:53, 6:54, 6:55, 10:36, and 10:56! 

Great work TMO and partner agencies!

 

 

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TMO Leverages Commitment of First City in Texas for 'Do Not Stand Idly By' Strategy

At a gathering of 100 clergy and leaders from diverse faith communities at Congregation Beth Israel, TMO succeeded in leveraging the support of Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo, making Houston the first city in Texas to support the 'Do Not Stand Idly By' campaign for gun safety. 

The ceremonial signing was preceded by remarks by Rabbi Joel Mosbacher (Metro IAF), Mr. Ernesto Cortes Jr. (West / Southwest IAF), and Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo about the pressing need for an effective strategy.  Rabbi Mosbacher described the 'Do Not Stand Idly By' campaign as a market-based approach to entice gun manufacturers to develop safe(r) gun technologies that make it more difficult for stolen guns to  be used and / or sold on the black market.  Cortes described the importance of building lasting power through relationships and community organizing.  Chief Acevedo expressed his support for the strategy, and agreed to sign on.

Other institutions in attendance included:

Temple Emanu El, Congregation Beth Yeshurun, Congregation Brith Shalom, Congregation Shma-Koleina, Jewish Living and Learning, Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism, St. Andrews United Methodist, eMgage, St. James Episcopal, Hope Episcopal, Our Mother of Mercy, Catholic Charities, St. Mary Magdalene, Assumption Catholic, First Metropolitan, Trinity United Methodist, St. Andrews Episcopal, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Stephen's Episcopal, Chapelwood United Methodist, Holy Family, All Saints Catholic, Presbytery of New Covenant, Memorial Drive United Methodist, St. Anne de Beaupre, and Dallas Area Interfaith.

HPD Joins Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign, Which Aims to Bring Down Gun Violence by Upping Gun Industry Standards, CW39 Houston

Houston Might Join Campaign for Gun Safety Focusing on Manufacturer, Houston Public Media

Lanzan Una Campaña Enfocada en Prevenir la Violencia con Armas de Fuego en Houston, Univisión

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