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 Convenes Gun Control Vigil with Houston Police Chief

[Excerpts below]

As the state legislature prepares to convene, local clergy and The Metropolitan Organizationon 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

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....

[Photo Credit: John Davenport / San Antonio Express-News]

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

Push Back Against Proposed Changes to 'Public Charge'TMO

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%!

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.

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

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

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!!

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

100 TMO Leaders Launch Summer ‘Sign Up Take Charge’ Effort

July 02, 2018 11:59 AM

1807_-_TMO_-_Delegates_Assembly.jpgOver 100 TMO leaders assembled to share stories on immigration, public education, Harvey recovery, and gun safety and discuss progress on their efforts.  Leaders made public commitments to sign up voters around their 2018 issues agenda.

TMO Engages 275 Harvey Flood Survivors in North, Northeast, and Southeast Houston & Pasadena

July 02, 2018 11:57 AM

After months of research on Houston disaster recovery systems, in which TMO leaders learned there had been little movement from nonprofit agencies servicing clients, TMO organized 10 Hurricane Harvey Home Repair & Unmet Need Intake Sessions drawing 275 survivors from their congregations.  The popularity of the sessions revealed still-massive recovery needs, particularly in low-income communities.  Nearly 80% of all attendees lacked an active case manager or any communication with a recovery group prior to attending the sessions.  Leaders plan to put together more intake sessions, offering similar access to recovery resources, in hard-hit areas with great need.

TMO Secures Congressional, State and County Candidate Pledges in Primaries

March 06, 2018 7:00 AM

In the face of constituent stories about bayou flooding, DACA, the need for mental health facilities and the power of Capital IDEA, candidates for federal, state and county office made public commitments on mental health, infrastructure/flooding mitigation, public education, immigration and more.

In Congressional District 29 & County Precinct 2...

250 leaders packed the parish hall at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church for a nonpartisan accountability assembly with candidates for CD 29 and Harris Co. Precinct 2. DACA recipient Ms. Puente shared that as a student and nearing young professional, she relies on DACA to live outside of the shadows, an essential element for a bright and successful future. Impressed with Ms. Puente’s story, and others like hers from Assumption Catholic Church, All Saints Catholic Church, and St. Andrews Episcopal Church, candidates committed to fight for a pathway for DREAMers at the federal level.

In Congressional District 7...

and joined by leaders from Faith City Church, Chapelwood United Methodist Church and Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, Congregation Beth Israel hosted a nonpartisan accountability assembly with 125 TMO leaders and candidates for CD 7. After hearing how the nearby bayou had wrecked surrounding neighborhoods during Hurricane Harvey, flooding for the third time in 3 years, candidates committed to championing Harvey recovery by bringing local, county, state, and federal entities together with TMO to expedite mitigation projects for this area.

In State House Districts 146 & 147...

nearly 100 TMO leaders from St. James’ Episcopal Church, Pilgrim Congregational UCC and Trinity East United Methodist Church assembled at St. James’ Episcopal to secure commitments from candidates for State House Districts 146 and 147. Mr. DuPont, a TMO leader and member of St. James’ Episcopal Church, expressed the need for more funding and oversight for mental health facilities in the area. The candidates agreed to work with TMO on understanding and improving these housing and mental health facilities.

In State House District 139...

close to 100 TMO leaders from Hope Episcopal Church and Santa Monica Catholic Church assembled at St. Andrew’s UMC to secure public commitments from state house district candidates to work with them on flood mitigation, infrastructure, public school, and immigration. Capital IDEA graduate, and Registered Nurse Tanesha Brown, shared how she went from making minimum wage to nearly six figures following her graduation from Capital IDEA. In emotional testimony, she thanked TMO and Capital IDEA for changing her life. Both candidates agreed to fight for $5 million dollars at the state level for Capital IDEA funding.

New Hope Baptist Gets Out The Vote

March 04, 2018 7:07 AM

Leaders from New Hope Baptist church knocked on doors in their neighborhood to listen to stories, sign up voters to TMO’s agenda of issues and encourage participation in the primary election. Leaders in the neighborhood expressed an appetite to clean up their neighborhood and fight for speed bumps and sidewalks.

TMO Sheds Light on Disaster Case Management, Increasing Transparency and Capacity

March 01, 2018 7:09 AM

Many TMO leaders have been waiting to hear from case managers for more than 6 months given the insufficient number of case managers to support the unprecedented disaster of Hurricane Harvey. After hearing those stories, TMO decided to call on the City to increase capacity for Disaster Case Management as well as to improve coordination and transparency of the process.

TMO leaders spoke at City Council regarding the need for more case managers and also met with the Director of Housing and Community Development to follow up on this need. The City of Houston is now opening lines of communication for community members and nonprofit agencies through a series of public Hurricane Harvey Recovery meetings for each district in March.

TMO Demands DACA Solution, Sends 20,000 Cards to Congress


TMO clergy and leaders took to the podium to demand that their US Senators and Congressmembers resolve the crisis which has jeopardized the status of thousands of Houston-area DREAMers who have relied on DACA to build their lives.

Immigrant leaders testified, with personal stories, that a failure to compromise would not only harm families, it would undermine the capacity of the hospitals and health care systems that currently rely on their talent.

[Photo Credit: Maria de Jesus, Houston Chronicle]

Immigrants, Members of Clergy Send 20,000 Postcards to Legislators Seeking DACA Solution, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

DACA's Future Weighs on Health Care Workers, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

Dreamers Feel They Are Americans Contributing to Church, Community, Texas Catholic Herald

'Dreamers' Say They're Not Asking for Handouts, Just Chance to StayCatholic Philly

TMO Calls for FEMA Appeals Deadline Extension, Urges Flood Survivors to Appeal Now


As the 60-day deadline for FEMA appeals approaches, TMO leaders are fighting to get that deadline extended, in addition to educating members and the public about the appeals process.  TMO is urging all Harvey survivors denied FEMA assistance to appeal as soon as possible.

Additional information about the appeals process can be found here.

[Photo Credit: Houston Public Media]

Advocates Tell Harvey Victims Not to Give Up if FEMA Denies Their Disaster Claims, Houston Public Media

Group Calls on Hurricane Harvey Victims to Appeal FEMA Aid Denials, Click 2 Houston

Community Groups Urge Extension of Deadline to File Appeals to FEMA in Wake of Harvey, Houston Chronicle

TMO Partners with Red Cross to Ensure Delivery of Aid to Harvey Survivors


One month after TMO leaders and clergy publicly questioned why Red Cross Immediate Assistance funds were denied to thousands of families that met the criteria, the CEO of Red Cross Texas Gulf Division resigned among criticisms about undelivered aid.  Within days, top leadership from Red Cross met with TMO to ensure that aid will be delivered to families in need.

One month ago, Helen Mott, a parishioner at Our Mother of Mercy, was denied $400 in cash assistance from  Red Cross even though she had had to evacuate her uninhabitable home.  Because  Red Cross offered one of the few cash assistance resources available at the time, TMO organized a press conference at New Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, calling on them to ensure that families who needed these funds most would receive them.

At that press conference, TMO leader Charles Turner asked Red Cross to "take an extra step and work with community groups like ours and open up lines of communication so we can help people during this recovery process."

Red Cross is now responding to that challenge and expressing willingness to coordinate efforts with TMO.  Red Cross estimates that approximately 1.5 million families might have been wrongfully denied and is now working to ensure that families that qualify for assistance receive the aid they need.


TMO Secures $27 Million in Added Food Aid for Harvey Families


On October 6th, as thousands of Harvey survivors spent hours in line attempting to meet the deadline for emergency food aid, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), TMO leaders organized a press conference at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to demand an extension of the deadline for families.

Said Fr. Simón Bautista, “For two days in a row [my parishioner] got in line at 6 a.m. and by the time she was seen, around 7 p.m., she was told that her last name was not being seen that day. She returned at 3 a.m. to find that 10 to 15 individuals were already in line. These individuals and families have been waiting in the heat, missing work and some still haven’t received the benefits.”

More than one week later, state officials announced a three-day extension of the deadline for families to enroll.  TMO leaders expressed pleasure at the news of the extension, and recognized Congresswoman Sheila Jackson and Commissioner Rodney Ellis for their role in securing that extension.

Leaders are now celebrating that the three-day extension permitted more than 27,000 additional families to enroll in D-SNAP, resulting in the award of $27 Million in food aid for Harris County Harvey survivors .

Said Fr. Albert Zannatta, "Matthew 25:35 reads: for I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.   These words of Christ spurred TMO to call for an extension....[and] TMO will continue to work until all have received the recovery they need."

Sheila Jackson Lee Celebrated for Her Involvement in Extending D-SNAP Services in Houston, KIAH Newsfix

State Health Officials Continue Harvey Food Assistance ProgramHouston Chronicle [pdf]

TMO Demands Extension of Deadline for Harvey Victims to Sign Up for D-SNAPHouston Public Media

Community Leaders Push for D-SNAP ExtensionClick 2 Houston

Appeal for Aid on Behalf of NeedyHouston Chronicle [pdf]

TMO Press Statement

TMO Wins 3-Day Extension of Food Aid Deadline for Harvey Survivors


As thousands of Harvey survivors spent hours in line attempting to meet the deadline for emergency food aid, the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), TMO leaders organized a press conference at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to demand an extension of the deadline for families.

Said Fr. Simón Bautista, “For two days in a row [my parishioner] got in line at 6 a.m. and by the time she was seen, around 7 p.m., she was told that her last name was not being seen that day. She returned at 3 a.m. to find that 10 to 15 individuals were already in line. These individuals and families have been waiting in the heat, missing work and some still haven’t received the benefits.”

TMO is calling on Senators Cornyn and Cruz, and on Governor Abbott, to extend the deadline because “families are desperate for food resources and many have not been able to access D-SNAP benefits due to long lines.”

More than one week later, state officials announced a three-day extension of the deadline for families to enroll.  TMO leaders expressed pleasure at the news of the extension, but also said the new location might not be accessible to many.  TMO is now calling for more locations throughout Harris County.

[Photo Credit: Al Ortiz, Houston Public Media]

Sheila Jackson Lee Celebrated for Her Involvement in Extending D-SNAP Services in Houston, KIAH Newsfix

State Health Officials Continue Harvey Food Assistance ProgramHouston Chronicle [pdf]

Piden Extender D-SNAP en el Condado de Harris, Telemundo

TMO Demands Extension of Deadline for Harvey Victims to Sign Up for D-SNAPHouston Public Media

Community Leaders Push for D-SNAP ExtensionClick 2 Houston

Appeal for Aid on Behalf of NeedyHouston Chronicle [pdf]

Live Feed of Press Conference

TMO Works with Our Lady of Guadalupe Leaders to Organize Meeting with Ft. Bend County Engineer


Over 200 people flooded out of their homes due to Hurricane Harvey gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Family Life Center in Rosenberg, Texas to learn their options and get input from the Fort Bend County engineer.   Fr. Lee Flores, Lali García, Joe Reyes and Marleny Ayala organized and led the meeting (for the first time) to help flood survivors evaluate whether they should rebuild, sell, or elevate their homes in the aftermath.  Leaders are also researching a proposed levy considered by other neighborhoods.    

TMO Asks Red Cross Why So Many are Denied Assistance


As TMO leaders and clergy worked with families working to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Harvey, one issue they kept hearing about was confusion about Red Cross Immediate Assistance funds.  Helen Mott, a parishioner at Our Mother of Mercy, was denied $400 in cash assistance from the Red Cross even though she had to evacuate her uninhabitable home.
Because the Red Cross offers one of the few cash assistance resources available at this time, TMO organized a press conference, at New Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, calling on them to ensure that families who need these funds most will receive them.

"We are asking that the Red Cross would clarify their application and appeals process. We also ask that the Red Cross would take an extra step and work with community groups like ours and open up lines of communication so we can help people during this recovery process," explained TMO leader Dr. Charles Turner.

American Red Cross Representatives Respond to Why People Aren't Getting Approved for $400 Assistance Package, NewFix CW39

Even Faith leaders Are Criticizing the Red Cross for Denying Flood Victims $400, Houston Press

Red Cross under Fire From Flood Victims, Houston Public Media

Afectados Por Harvey se Declaran Frustrados Con la Cruz Roja, Univision

CCHD Features Flood Recovery Work


Vulnerable Communities Respond to Hurricane Harvey
Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and loss of property and of work, CCHD-funded The Metropolitan Organization calls for a grace period for late rent payments in Houston. Read the NY Times story.

Texas Senator & Houston Mayor Join TMO in Call for Renters' Grace Period


Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Senator Sylvia García joined TMO in calling on landlords to extend a 30-day grace period and to refrain from charging renters’ fees and penalties following the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.  

Rev. Ed Gomez of St. Paul’s/San Pablo Episcopal Church shared stories of tenants who work in the service industry and, due to the storm, missed days of work and are now unable to pay their rent at this time.  "People are not asking for a handout but a hand up as we get through this difficult time," he said.

[Photo Credit: Al Ortiz, Houston Public Media]

Alcalde de Houston Pide a Propietarios de Apartamentos no Abusar de los Inquilinos Damnificados por Harvey, Univision

Lanzan Advertencia a Arrendatarios Que Abusan de InquilinosTelemundo

Houston Mayor to Discuss Post-Harvey Evictions, KPRC 2

Mayor Turner Urges Landlords to be Flexible After Harvey, ABC-13

Mayor Turner Fires Back at Houston Landlords Mistreating Renters, CW39

Mayor Turner Enforcing Renters Rights Following HarveyFOX 26

Turner Asks Houston Landlords to Grant One Month Grace Period to RentersHouston Public Media (NPR)

Mayor Turner Names Former Shell CEO as Recovery CzarHouston Press

Mayor Joins Voice to TMO's Call for Grace Period for Renters


In response to TMO's call for mercy from landlords threatening to evict residents, in the form of a 45-day grace period for renters without penalties, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced he would carefully analyze the issue.  He also called on landlords to grant renters time to come up with the rent. 

Three TMO leaders testified at City Hall: Raul Ramirez of St. Leo The Great Catholic Church, Rev. Simón Bautista, Christ Church Cathedral Church and Rev. Edward Gomez of St. Paul's Episcopal Church /Iglesia Episcopal San Pablo.

For Renters, Harvey Was the First Blow, Followed By Order to Move, New York Times

Mayor Turner Tells Landlords Not to Evict Flood Victims in Response to Pastors’ Pleas, Houston Press

Harvey Wreaks Havoc on Houston's Undocumented, USA Today

Late Fees Add Problems for Tenants Who Missed Out on Work During Harvey, Houston Public Media

Landlords Still Charging Harvey Victims Rent for Destroyed Homes, Death and Taxes

Pleading for Time on Behalf of Renters Behind On Their Rent Because of Hurricane Harvey, Univision [Spanish]

Testimony at City Hall

Piden Plazo Para los Inquilinos Que Fueron Afectados por Harvey y Que Están Atrasados Con la Renta, Univision

 1,300+ TMO Leaders Engage Harris Co. Sheriff on SB4

Click photo below for video:


More than 1,300 leaders from TMO assembled at Assumption Catholic Church to clarify the impact of anti-immigrant Senate Bill 4.  Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez responded to questions and concerns raised by leaders, as did Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Lori Bender and Carolina Ortuzar-Diaz, an immigration attorney from Manny Ramirez Law Firm.

[Photo Credit: Douglas Pierre]

More photos

We Must Link Arms in Pursuit of a Loving Nation


In response to the aftermath in Charlottesville, Va., a group of Houston area faith leaders have written the following commentary.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” These are foundational words upon which this country was built and the creed which Americans are to believe and live by. There is no room for hate and bigotry with these words. These words are inclusive of all men — white, black, brown, educated, uneducated, rich and poor, people of faith and of no faith.

In light of the horrific events in Charlottesville, Va., and elsewhere, and under the veil of weak support from the White House to condemn bigotry, anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia, we wish to lift up our voices and represent our faith traditions in concert with American values we all cherish....

We Must Link Arms in Pursuit of a Loving Nation, Houston Chronicle

Spanish-Speaking Leaders Learn How to Put Their Faith Into Action


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.” 

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

Conozca Sus Derechos

Posted by · April 14, 2017

English version here


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

Know Your Rights

Posted by · April 14, 2017

Lo mismo en español


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

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

Posted by · March 21, 2017


40 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. 

TMO, Bishops, Clergy Call for Immigration Reform


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

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


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

TMO Celebrates the Past to Shape Its 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  


TMO Holds Accountability Session with Law Enforcement Candidates


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.

TMO Defends Denver Harbor from Gentrification


TMO 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!

TMO Addresses Predatory Development, Targets 800 Properties for Protection


TMO leaders from Resurrection Catholic church packed a Denver Harbor neighborhood meeting on Chapter 42 and predatory development.  Leaders eventually targeted 800 properties for protection from over aggressive development of multiple, multi-story town homes on single lots.  Local property owners overwhelmingly sided with TMO and Resurrection leaders, exceeding the "yes" votes needed on the mail-in ballots. 

Upon seeing the extent of neighborhood support, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the matter.  Leaders are now waiting on final approval by the city council.

Houston Chronicle: TMO Harnesses People Power

1605 - TMO - HC - Frank Rollins Leads Assembly


"There's a story that sounds almost apocryphal, except it isn't, about how the Network of Texas IAF Organizations, which focuses on community-leadership development, came to anchor itself in the consciousness of elected officials across the state.

Locally, the network affiliate is known as The Metropolitan Organization, or TMO. Primarily church-based, as the IAF organizations are in other cities, TMO is made up of 27 congregations largely located in east and southeast-side neighborhoods.

As the network of organizations marks its 40-year anniversary, we turned to TMO leaders for insights about the group's work here in Houston, its impact and vision for the future. Outlook editor Veronica Flores-Paniagua talked with the Rev. Robert McGee and Ana Cummings, who were among TMO's founders."

Below are excerpts from the conversation.

TMO Focuses on 'People Power,' Houston Chronicle [pdf]

La Voz Covers Work of Texas IAF & TMO

1604 - TMO - La Voz - Sacerdote en Manifestacion

[Translated excerpt]

...."It's about the Texas IAF Network, to which The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) of Houston belongs. Through its interdenominational base of congregations, TMO identifies the needs of the communities, develops leaders and establishes strategies so that the ears of authorities are reached and elected officials compelled to respond to their demands.

'We have seen time and time again that politicians - Democrats, Republicans, from the left, from the right, independents - respond to power (that of organized communities). So we build power. It doesn't matter what party an official comes from, if they see that a community is organized and has the power to pressure them, they will change things quickly,' affirms priest Eric Holloway of Santa Mar√≠a Virgen Episcopal Church, which is situated in southeast Houston and whose parishioners are predominantly Latino."

Organizacion Que Ayuda a la Comunidad Inmigrante en Texas Cumple 40 Anos y se Marca Nuevos ObjetivosLa Voz [pdf]

Cardinal DiNardo Congratulates TMO, Texas IAF

1604 - Cardinal DiNardo's Letter of CongratulationsOn the eve of the Texas IAF's 40+ anniversary celebration, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston offered his congratulations for TMO and the Texas IAF's dedication over the previous four decades. He writes, "I know that in offering my gratitude for your presence and leadership in the Houston area, I speak for so many individuals who are grateful for the transformative effects that The Metropolitan Organization (TMO).....[has] brought about for so many."

Read original letter by Cardinal DiNardo

Archbishop Fiorenza Commends TMO, Texas IAF

1604 - Bishop Fiorenza's Letter of CongratulationsRecalling the early days of IAF-inspired organizing of faith communities in Houston, Bishop Fiorenza sent his congratulations to the Texas IAF on the eve of its 40+ year anniversary. He writes, " It is a happy moment for me to congratulate all who have...participated in making human life more just and equitable in Houston due to outstanding efforts of TMO / GCLC." After listing local achievements, he adds, "It is evident that the work of TMO / GCLC and the Texas IAF are supporting the Church's mission to be a witness of compassion by putting faith into action."

Read original letter by Archbishop Fiorenza here

30 Years of (TMO) Transformation


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