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.


Houston-area Leaders Learn How to Put Their Faith Into Action

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Nearly 80 Spanish-speaking leaders from the Houston area learned about the mission of the church, and their responsibility as leaders to put their faith in action, in training delivered by TMO in collaboration with the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).

Pope Francis’ words to the 2nd World Gathering of Popular Movements provided inspiration to the group:

Quisiera volver a unir mi voz a la de ustedes: tierra, techo y trabajo para todos nuestros hermanos y hermanos. Lo dije y lo repito: son derechos sagrados. Vale la pena luchar por ellos.” 

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TMO, Texas IAF Continue Fight for ACE Funding

1705-CMA-SAEN-Project-QUEST-Nursing-Student-Tends-to-Patient-300x242.jpegSince the JET Fund was established in 2009, at the urging of the Texas IAF, the state supported IAF-affiliated labor market intermediaries that navigated more than 800 lower-income, nontraditional students through community college.

The Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant program, the effort’s most recent permutation, now faces an uncertain future.  In efforts to slash the state budget, Texas legislators are moving to eliminate all “special item” expenditures, even those that pay for special programs at colleges, over and beyond the normal higher education funding formulas.

“It has nothing to do with our program or the effectiveness of it,” said Elizabeth Valdez, lead organizer for The Metropolitan Organization in Houston.

A recently-released gold-standard study established that the Texas IAF’s flagship program, Project QUEST, was the only program in the nation to demonstrate sustained, sizable and statistically significant gains.  In photo, a Project QUEST-supported student works with a patient.

[Photo Credit: William Luther, San Antonio Express News]

Proposed Higher Education Funding Overhaul Could Come With Collateral DamageTexas Tribune

Senate ResolutionSenate of the State of Texas

Escalating Gains: Project QUEST’S Sectoral Strategy Pays OffEconomic Mobility Corporation

Study Affirms Project QUEST Achievements, San Antonio Express-News

Texas Job Program Shows Unusually Strong, Lasting Gains, Study FindsAustin American Statesman [pdf]

Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) Grant Program: The Wise Investment for Proven Economic DevelopmentTexas IAF

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Conozca Sus Derechos

English version here

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Todos que residen en los EEUU, inclusive los inmigrantes indocumentados , tienen ciertos derechos constitucionales.  Los siguientes videos repasan qué hacer si los agentes de ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents) te visitan en su hogar, su trabajo o en público. 

Resumen de sus Derechos:

1) No son obligados a abrir la puerta de su hogar
2) Tienes el derecho de mantener silencio
3) Tienes el derecho de hablar con un abogado

Este esfuerzo es parte de una estrategia de inmigración de largo plazo en Houston.

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Know Your Rights

Lo mismo en español

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All people living in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, have certain U.S. Constitutional rights.  The following videos discuss what to do if Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents (ICE) visit your home, place of work, or stop you in public.

Summary of Rights:

1) You do not have to open the door to your home
2) You have the right to remain silent
3) You have the right to speak to a lawyer

This effort is part of a longer-term immigration strategy in Houston.

 

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TMO Leaders & Capital IDEA Grads Join 200+ Texas IAF Organization Leaders at Capitol

1703_-_TMO_-_Day_at_the_Capitol.png40 TMO leaders and Capital IDEA graduates joined over 200 Network of Texas (NTO) IAF  organization leaders at the Texas state capital to talk to our state representatives and senators about restoring full funding of the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Fund (ACE Fund). Our delegation met with 20 legislators and/or their staffs asking them to support the ACE fund at its full $5 million, and also supporting bail reform, local control, and opposing ant-immigrant legislation.

Leaders from our network were guests of the legislature as a resolution was read in support of the ACE fund by five Texas House members including Representative John Zerwas, whom our leaders got to sign on to the resolution.  Our entire delegation was asked to stand.  Later that day the Senate also read a resolution in favor of the ACE fund.  Now the fight is to get it fully funded in both houses.
 
Our NTO IAF organizations called for this funding at a press conference held on the South side Capital steps.  Several legislators from across the state came out and spoke in support of the ACE fund.  Capital IDEA graduates and other graduates across the state told stories of how the workforce initiatives and the funding helped change their lives, moving them from $10.00/hr part time work to careers earning as much as $70,000 per year!  The average wage of a graduate from these programs is $20.66/hr. 
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TMO, Bishops, Clergy Call for Immigration Reform

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Recalling that “for the last 11 years we have met, prayed, studied and spoken in unity over the issue of comprehensive immigration reform,” TMO clergy and Texas Bishops held a joint press conference calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path towards citizenship.  Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo stood with United Methodist Bishop Scott Jones, Lutheran Bishop Michael Rinehart, Episcopal pastor Rev. Uriel Osnaya, Baptist pastor Rev. John Ogletree and other clergy in a public showing against the deportation and separation of immigrant families.

The Bishops urged for reforms that “uphold the God-given dignity and rights of every person, each of whom are made in the image of God.”  They reminded Members of Congress that any bill that addresses only border security would be “sorely lacking” and called on them to “fulfill their responsibility and pass meaningful, humane legislation.”

[Photo Credit: MariaLuisa Rincon, Houston Chronicle & Univision]

Faith Leaders Press for Immigration Reform, Houston Chronicle

Local Religious Leaders Gather to Push for Immigration Reform, ABC-13

Religious Leaders Call for Inclusive Immigration Reform, Houston Public Media

Lideres Religiosos de Texas se Reunieron Para Pedir Una Reforma Migratoria con Camino a la Ciudadania, Univision

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TMO, Texas IAF Religious Join Catholic Conference of Bishops in Standing Up for Immigrants

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TMO leader Fr. Fred Clarkson, with the Network of Texas IAF Organizations and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, spoke in opposition to Senate Bill 4 which would punish so-called 'sanctuary cities' by withholding state funding and forcing law enforcement to act as immigration agents.

1702-NTO-Press-Conference-with-Bishop-Vasquez-Cropped-1024x706.jpegSaid Bishop Joe Vásquez, on behalf of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, “We reject the premise that persons who are merely suspected of being undocumented immigrants should be rounded up by state and local police agents.”

“This bill requires local police and sheriff’s deputies to enforce federal immigration laws as if their job of maintaining public order and the public safety weren’t difficult enough as it is,” said John Elford, senior pastor of University United Methodist Church and member of Austin Interfaith.

Texas Interfaith Leaders Take a Stand Against SB4, KXAN

Press Release, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops

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TMO Celebrates Past to Shape the Future

1610_-_TMO_-_Celebration_with_Cardinal_DiNardo.JPGTMO celebrated its founding members with special guest Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, who praised the work of TMO/GCLC and challenged the organization to continue its work in the future.  Highlighting that future, new leaders currently moving the organization forward were introduced to the packed audience.

More photos

Celebration Program

Celebration Awards

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TMO Holds Accountability Session with Law Enforcement Candidates

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TMO members held an accountability session with candidates for Sheriff Ron Hickman and Ed Gonzalez, and District Attorney candidate Kim Ogg.  The candidates agreed to work with TMO to create a plan to reduce jail overcrowding, enhance deputy training, institute new bail reform measures, and oppose legislation forcing law enforcement officers to act as immigration agents.

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TMO Defends Denver Harbor from Gentrification

1610_-_TMO_-_Resurrection_Catholic_Church_Organizes_Effort_Against_Predatory_Development.jpgTMO leaders from Resurrection Catholic Church won the first of two council votes to protect their Denver Harbor neighborhood from predatory development.  This council vote established Chapter 42 Minimum Lot Size protection for 100 properties in the Denver Harbor area, preventing lots from being subdivided below the minimum prevailing lot size, as is the practice when building multiple townhomes on what was originally a single residence.  

Resurrection leaders visited 26 churches and held multiple meetings with over 200 residents to begin this effort.  They then identified 800 properties for protection in three applications to the city.  All three applications for Chapter 42 were approved by the Planning Commission and sent to the City Council.  This was the first and smallest of the applications to pass.  The remaining two are being considered together and will come before council at a later date.  In the meantime, Resurrection leaders have targeted another application protecting 200 more properties. 

Congratulations to the leaders for their hard work to protect their community from gentrification!

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