TMO institutions assembled to discuss and celebrate outcomes from TMO’s Legislative priorities for the 86th Legislative session. Leaders participated in a training to conduct house meetings and shared stories on issues present in their communities. Leaders made public commitments to reach over 1,000 individuals through house meetings in their congregations to prepare an issue agenda for elections in the fall.
TMO recognizes Rev. John W. Bowie for his leadership and dedication in tackling social issues and his work around immigration and civic engagement. An active leader with TMO, Reverend Bowie was a vocal advocate on behalf of struggling families.
In 2010, the New York Times described his courage and solidarity in this way:
The Rev. John W. Bowie knows it is hard to sell the people in his neighborhood on the idea that they should support changing immigration laws to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. His church lies in one of the oldest black settlements in the city, where unemployment is high and many people see immigrants as competitors for jobs.
Yet there he was in the pulpit at True Light Missionary Baptist Church on the Fourth of July, with a full choir behind him, urging his flock to support an overhaul of immigration laws that “lets the undocumented come out of the shadows.”
“All 13 colonies were made up of illegal aliens because they had not gotten permission from the residents here, who were the Indians,” he said. “Then a few years later, they brought us here and made us illegal, too. These immigrants, we immigrants, have built the greatest nation in the world, coming from everywhere, all over, because, you see, nobody owns this world except God.”
Houston's Clergy Unites to Urge Support for Immigration Reform, New York Times [pdf]
Houston Clergy, Politicians Gather for Immigration Prayer Service, Houston Chronicle
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.
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]
Over 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.
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.
Leaders from New Hope Missionary 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 leaders lay out a strategy for nonpartisan voter education for increased voter participation in the March 2018 primary elections. The proposal was delivered at a TMO leaders meeting.
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