"Regarding "Board president spares 3 schools from closure" (Page B1, March 6), the decision of the Houston Independent School Board to keep Port Houston Elementary open was critically important to the surrounding community.
The closure of the school would not only force its children to attend a far distant school, but it also would have eliminated an institution which gives vitality, stability, a sense of confidence and well-being to the community.
I want to thank the HISD board for this decision and congratulate parishioners of Divina Providencia Church, its pastor, Father Chris Plant, the parents of the children, and Neighbors in Action for working with The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) to keep Port Houston open.
They have demonstrated Pope Francis' exhortation for parishes to get involved in the community.
As Pope Francis stated: "I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.""
‚Äì By Joseph A. Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston
TMO leaders from Memorial Drive United Methodist Church joined teachers from Alief Middle School to talk with parents of 5th graders who will attend Alief Middle School. Pictured are the walkers and also the many parents who attended the orientation.
Varios l√≠deres de Memorial Drive UMC junto con maestros de Alief Middle School visitaron con padres de hijos en el 5to grado que van a ir a Alief Middle School. Retratado son los caminantes y tambi√©n los padres que fueron a la orientaci√≥n.
When the Houston Independent School District Superintendent proposed the closure of five schools to cut costs, concerned parents noted that in at least one case students from a higher performing school would be re-directed to a struggling one. Port Houston Elementary School parents, who happened to worship at Resurrection Catholic Church, quickly organized a challenge to the closures in partnership with TMO, which their church had just joined.
Concerned TMO leaders met with HISD board members, in addition to meeting with parents and educators, to figure out how to preserve these schools. On Thursday, March 13th, over 100 leaders and parents descended upon the HISD board meeting and recognized board president Juliet Stipeche for removing Port Houston Elementary, Nathaniel Henderson Elementary and Fleming Middle School from the closure list.
In photo: Father Christopher Plant, pastor at Resurrection Catholic Church, congratulates Port Houston parents and leaders for their turnout and presentation at the HISD school board meeting.
Congratulations Doug Pierre!
TMO has hosted trainings throughout Houston on "Pressures on Families." So far, over 40 leaders are trained to give the workshop. Leaders are learning that one of the economic pressures on families is stagnating wages. A training session to learn how to host house meetings will be held on March 9, 2014 at All Saints Catholic Church at 3pm.
TMO is partnering with the American Jewish Committee and others to hold an immigration summit Tues. March 18 at Rice University. The summit will focus on immigration and human trafficking, and will feature Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.
"Today, in this country, women and children continue to suffer from unspeakable violence because they are afraid to seek help without legal status. Globally, 78 percent of those trafficked suffer from forced labor, including domestic servitude, farm and factory work in the U.S. Immigrant survivors of abuse without legal status are, according to one study, half as likely to call the police to seek the help they need. We must act by passing immigration reform legislation."
TMO leaders are informing communities that there is still time to enroll in the healthcare marketplace with sessions at Evangelist Temple, Assumption and Liestman Elementary (Alief "ISD). The deadline to enroll is March 31. still time to enroll in the healthcare marketplace with sessions at Evangelist Temple, Assumption and Liestman Elementary (Alief "ISD). The deadline to enroll is March 31. English presentation here.
Assumption leaders Maribel Guevara, Lourdes Badillo and Nolvia Artiga hosted a large Spanish healthcare session on Jan. 12. Spanish presentation here.
Leaders of TMO joined representatives from sister organizations of the West / Southwest IAF for two days of study with rabbinical scholar Dr. Tamara Eskenazi.
[Burton Bagby-Grose, a TMO leader at First Congregational, is pictured with scholar and author Dr. Tamara Eskenazi in Las Vegas on Feb. 1.]
Clergy and leaders read and discussed Torah commentaries on Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.
TMO leaders from across Harris County gathered Jan. 21 to craft an organizing strategy for 2014. Texas IAF Supervisor Sr. Christine Stephens framed a conversation about pressures on families and institutions needed to counteract them. Leaders decided to adopt the role of "talent scout" for the next four months.
The Houston Chronicle included the following in its editorial about immigration reform:
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, bottom right, speaks during a press conference at St Paul's United Methodist Church urging the House of Representatives to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Houston. Individuals from The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) and members of an Interfaith coalition of Houston area religious leaders urged congress to keep families together, protect workers and "Dreamers," and provide a workable path to citizenship. These faith leaders find the "Safe Act" bill unacceptable, as well as any legislation that addresses only border security. (Photo Credit: Cody Duty / Houston Chronicle)
Full Article, Houston Chronicle