Up until a year ago, Houston was my hood. It’s surreal watching all the national reporters posted up on a bridge on I-45, a few minutes from my old house, getting footage as the entire highway and surrounding business that I once drove on daily and shopped at, are completely underwater.
We Houstonians don’t tend to get too worked up over storms or hurricanes, we’ve been through them many times before.
After a disaster of a hurricane evacuation during Rita in 2005, in which it took my family literally 12 hours to drive about 30 miles through a post-apocalyptic like scene, with a hella hot heat wave, no ac because of gas conservation, journey that would have been quicker to walk as we managed to make it from south Houston to north Houston before having to find a place to hunker down before the storm hit, and then the hurricane not hitting us like we thought it would have while around 100 people died trying to evacuate, it should not be surprising that Houston was not evacuated and honestly, Houstonians were not too concerned.
Nobody was expecting the magnitude of flooding that we are seeing from Harvey as Houston sits in the midst of a drastic state of emergency and everybody should be watching the response of Houstonians closely as they deal with a major catastrophe.
“I have watched an entire community rally together and truly show us what it should look like to love others.”
Over the past 24 hours in particular, I have been watching the devastating images and videos of my friends and family in Houston - some trapped in their homes but not underwater, some flooded out, and some being rescued by boat.
More importantly, what I have also been watching is an entire community rally together to search for the stranded, offer refuge to those without, and truly show us what it should look like to love others.
I have seen numerous friends who are lucky enough to have a dry home, publicly offer their homes to strangers in need. I even have a friend offering to go out and pick up anyone that can make it to the closest location that he is still able to drive to.
I’m watching videos of friend’s homes submerged in water up to their chest, completely stranded, be rescued by local neighbors with their own personal boats, who have been patrolling their city non-stop searching for those in need of help.
I am watching first-responders work for 24 hours straight to get people to safety and help the wounded.
I am watching an entire city of millions, come together regardless of race, religion, sexuality, or legal residency status to have each other’s backs showing us what it means to love boldly.
“Thank you Houstonians for showing us what it looks like to see love win. Y’all are amazing!”
Y’all, our country as a whole is in the midst of its own disaster as it is more divided than most of us have seen in our lifetime. Racism is at the where point we are seeing literal Nazis on our streets. We need to pay attention Houston right now.
During this dire crisis people are coming together to overcome insane obstacles, showing us all that we can bridge any divide, that we truly can treat anybody and everybody as human, valuing each other without discrimination.
Our nation as a whole needs to follow Houston’s lead and come together, not only to overcome the turmoil of this storm, but to overcome the turmoil of the oppressive divide we are seeing every day in our nation.
Right now Houston is being the change our world needs to see is possible. The change that each and every one of us can be. The change that we all need to be.
Thank you Houstonians for showing us what it looks like to see love win. Y’all are amazing!
To donate towards the relief effort in H-town, you can donate to the Red Cross here.
*Houston “BE SOMEONE” photo courtesy of Pana Vasquez