It all started when…
A grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided against holding a trial for the death of unarmed black teen, Mike Brown. As activists took to the streets in Ferguson, plans were already in motion in cities across the nation to demonstrate in solidarity against the obvious injustices of a justice system that wouldn't even hold a trial where life was lost. The grand jury's failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson was, in effect, an indictment of our broken justice system.
Toward the end of the rally in Houston at MacGregor Park that took place the very next day, a march ensued. Hundreds attending the rally took to the streets to bring attention to a system that not only devalued the life of Mike Brown, but so many others.
During the march, organizers Durrel Douglas, Shekira Dennis, Damien Thaddeus Jones, and Tarah Taylor began laying the foundation for a local movement aimed at addressing inequity at the local and state level.
After several days of organizing conversations, Houston Justice Coalition was born. Our organization agreed on three initial goals that were measurable and concrete: Grand Jury Reform, Body Camera Policy, and Community Policing elements to be implemented at the local level.
The launch of our budding event would happen in less than a week at the historic El Dorado Ballroom in Third Ward. Keeping in line with our values, and our #LessTalk #More action doctrine, we recruited new grand jury applicants and registered voters from the 300+ crowd that had assembled.
Our work led to Grand Jury legislation being passed during Texas' 2015 legislative session.
In 2015, our initial founders went separate ways. Damien moved to Washington, DC, Durrel moved to Seattle, and our Houston-based work was put on hold.
Although Wakanda is a fictional African nation within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and comics), the language spoken by the inhabitants is a real-world language.
The language spoken by Wakandans is actually Xhosa, a Buntu language, and one of the official languages in South Africa. The term “yibambe” roughly translates to “hold off” or “hold fast”. This could mean two things.
In 2017, our work began again through #ProjectOrange, a grassroots, non-partisan effort to register eligible voters behind bars at the Harris County Jail.
As part of the Project Orange initiative, for four consecutive Sundays, volunteers from Houston Justice are escorted through the jail with voter registration cards that qualified inmates will be able to fill out. In addition, Houston Justice is staffing voter registration booths in the visitation waiting areas at the 1200 Baker Street and at the 701 San Jacinto locations.
We registered over 600 new voters for the Democratic and Republican Texas Primaries, and plan to do twice as many for the 2018 General Election!