By Sarah Becker


On the morning of Sunday, January 14th, I found myself in a discussion with a prisoner about both when he expected to be out the Harris County Jail and the importance of the upcoming primary elections. It was different from the conversations I have in my circles, both extraordinary yet ordinary all at once.

You see, I am a white girl who grew up in the suburbs. I don’t exactly find myself at the County Jail often. By often, I mean never. But I’ve been on a bit of a journey.

I became determined to educate myself on issues of racial justice after watching black men and women be targets of police brutality the last few summers. Two summers was a true turning point for me when Philando Castile was murdered. After the election, the feeling of urgency to educate myself only intensified.

At the beginning of 2017, I became a Safety Pin Box subscriber. Safety Pin Box is a subscription service for white people who want to be allies in the fight for black liberation. Each month I receive a box in the mail with a set of tasks to help educate myself and be a better ally (tip 1-don’t call yourself an ally). Over the course of a few months, I had learned things about the prison system, mass incarceration and prison labor that no class at school had ever taught me.

All of this education from Safety Pin Box had the effect of humanizing the people behind bars. It helped me see where prejudices had been taught, and where I needed to unlearn. It helped me understand the real issues and the reasons why people are in jail. It helped me grow.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago-when I saw information about Project Orange pop up in my Facebook feed, I didn’t think twice and knew instantly I wanted to be involved.

You see, one of the other foundational things Safety Pin Box has taught me is that knowledge is not enough to create a more just world. We must take action. And this was one small thing I could do to take action. So I signed up to go.

I had also recently become a Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrar (VDVR). A VDVR helps people ensure they have completed the voter registration application completely and is responsible for  turning the registration forms into the proper place. It only requires a one hour training. I am proud to say that the first future voter that I assisted using my VDVR capacity was in the jail.

The morning at the jail was great. The staff from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez’s office was more than accommodating, and I believe, was even working overtime to escort us. We had to go through security checks to get in the jail, but there was nothing more intrusive than a security check at an airport. We did go through a brief training by the Sheriff’s office which was helpful.

While all the reading I had done about the prison system was useful, it doesn’t compare to walking into a jail with your own feet and seeing it with your own eyes. Conditions were about as I expected-not terrible, but not great either. At the county jail, prisoners are housed in large rooms with bunk beds. I believe there are about 50 people to a room. The rooms were filled with bunk beds and there are also toilets and showers, but little to no privacy for those. There is no walled bathroom.

We had access to the prisoners through a small slot in the door, and though it was time consuming and you had to be patient, it was also really wonderful to discuss this sacred right to vote.

My world views are always shifted a bit by an experience like this. As I said before, Safety Pin Box helped me understand the effects of mass incarceration and how unjust laws contribute to it. But seeing the faces and meeting the people who are suffering from its effects makes me that much more resolved to keep fighting. We have much work to do to dismantle the systems that uphold mass incarceration, but this was a tiny step forward in splitting open the halls of power to those who have traditionally been kept out of them.

The people at the jail are just that-people. They deserve to have a voice in our political process, and we should be about the job of amplifying their voices.

Come join us next time!

Sarah Becker is a mom of three small children, a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology and public school advocate. You can find more of her work at  



Just days before the filing deadline, Fifth Ward-native Richard Bonton placed his name on the ballot to challenge 32-year incumbent State Representative Harold Dutton for the Democratic primary in March.  


Serving in the State House since 1985 Dutton has rarely been challenged and carries not only decades of name recognition, but a campaign war chest with $91,677.70 in the bank.  Over the years, he's rarely had to touch it during campaign season.

Bonton says he appreciates Dutton for his previous years of service, but feels a different direction is needed in Austin.



As further details are available, we'll keep you in the loop with this race.

Expect a debate and in-depth interviews with the candidates as this race shapes up.

Steve Mostyn Dead at 46

steve mostyn.jpg

Updating as more information becomes available.


HOUSTON---Amber Mostyn, the wife of Democratic Donor and Powerhouse Trial Attorney Steve Mostyn, has confirmed his untimely death through a statement released to media outlets this morning. 

"Steve touched countless lives. Many friends and colleagues in Texas and throughout the country have reached out during this painful time. Our family is requesting privacy, and we will not be responding to media inquires. The details of a celebration of Steve's life will be announced at a later date. 

The statement says he passed away "after a sudden onset and battle with a mental health issue."

The Mostyn family is a heavyweight force in local, state, and national Democratic politics easily dropping millions to support progressive candidates each election cycle.  Hillary Clinton's 2016 stop in Houston to raise funds for her Presidential bid was hosted at the home of Amber and Steve Mostyn. 

In 2012 when State Senator Mario Gallegos' untimely death led to an open senate seat, it was Steve Mostyn who financed a 6-figure PAC to elect current State Senator Sylvia Garcia.  According to the Houston Chronicle his law firm and his allied political action committees accounted for well over $200,000 of Garcia’s contributions.  

According to the Chronicle:

"...Garcia reported receiving $2,250 from Mostyn, but “in-kind”contributions from the Texas Organizing Project PAC totaling $80,427.87. In her previous report, Garcia reported a $106, 611.39 “in-kind” donation from the organization.

In addition, Garcia reported receiving $10,000 from the Back to Basics PAC supported by Mostyn.

In December, Mostyn contributed $130,000 to the TOP PAC, and pledged another $132,000 in January.  He and his firm have also made previous donations to Garcia totaling over $17,000."

Mostyn's bio on his firm's web site:


A native of Whitehouse – a small town in East Texas – Steve Mostyn graduated in 1996 from South Texas College of Law, and in 1997 began his legal career. He quickly became a partner in a Houston, Texas law firm, but soon decided he could become a stronger advocate for people’s rights by creating a uniquely different Texas law firm.

After more than a decade fighting – and winning – for clients across Texas, Steve decided it was time to expand Mostyn Law’s focus to advocating for average people who have been wronged by corporate negligence and wrongdoing across the country. Today, Steve leads Mostyn Law’s team of experienced attorneys and professional staff as they fight for clients who have been victims of negligence, bad faith, or other wrongdoing by medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and more.

Steve’s vision was to create a Texas law firm willing to fight aggressively to level the playing field against multi-national corporations and insurers who often were getting away unchallenged as they treated their own clients unfairly or in bad faith. Mr. Mostyn has handled tens of thousands of first party insurance claims in the past several years, all of which have settled or tried with most resulting in extra-contractual damages.

Steve and Amber Mostyn live in Houston, Texas, with their two children. They are the proud founders and supporters of The Glenda Jean Mostyn and Joe E. Moreno Educational Foundation. The Mostyn Moreno Foundation supports and operates programs and collaborative efforts across Texas that serve to encourage the abilities of children with special needs."



Wanda Adams Re-Elected to HISD Board


HISD Board President Wanda Adams trounced her opponents with a commanding 68.42% of the vote in a three-way race with political newcomers Dr. Karla Brown and Gerry Monroe.  

First, we must commend Brown and Monroe for doing more than complaining from the sidelines, they threw their names on the ballot as a candidate in a race that they both cared about.  Much respect to both of them.

Now back to the story: Wanda tapped that @$$ on Tuesday evening essentially doing the electric slide past both her opponents to avoid a runoff in what was forming up to be an interesting race.  


From the start, Wanda Adams had the biggest, most-powerful weapon any candidate in an election might want: NAME RECOGNITION.  Adams easily won races in virtually the same geographic area for ten years during her time as Houston City Councilmember for District D, then running for her first term on HISD's board.  Name recognition is very valuable.  Most candidates who die during an election with name recognition end up still winning posthumously like Mario Gallegos and El Franco Lee.  I could go on.  


Fundraising totals and a lack of endorsements seemed to signal a deflated campaign until the very end of the campaign.  Adams' fundraising documents showed a dismal $400 or so in the bank, and virtually nothing coming in.  Add to this establishment endorsers lining up behind Dr. Karla Brown like State Representative Dr. Alma Allen and City Councilmembers Dwight Boykins and Larry Green, and Wanda Adams appeared to be more vulnerable than she was.

Early in the race both her opponents showed themselves to be formidable opponents.  Brown had an impressive grassroots ground game pushing campaign literature that painted her viable.  Monroe's out-of-the-box antics gave the appearance of building momentum.  Adams seemed to be in danger until the last filing date when over $20,000 instantly appeared from a few heavy-pocketed donors.  Roughly eleven of them came to her rescue at the eleventh hour with all donations showing up on the exact same day: the day before the filing deadline.  

Before we knew it, Adams' campaign had finally showed itself to be what we thought it should've been.  Glossy literature filled mailboxes within the district. Endorsements started filling in from heavyweights in the community.  The game had changed.  

The campaign that once appeared to be a donkey was now a show horse.  A clydesdale trotting toward the finish line.


Adams will once again be sworn in at the Hattie Mae White Administration Building in January, but next year she won't be President since the board rotates this position.  I think Trustee Davilla is up next.  This actually works in her favor.  Who would want to be President of the board when state takeover becomes a looming reality?

Worthing, Wheatley, and Kashmere High Schools are in the midst of triage in a hail Mary attempt to skirt another "Improvement Required" designation.  If not, a recent state law means the schools will close or the state will take over the entire school district.  

The heat is on and the clock is ticking. 

Adams may have just won a seat that won't exist next year.



Can we talk about it?

You ever notice those organizations that come to Black and Brown neighborhoods with clip boards once a year, usually around election time to remind you to vote and to tell you for whom you should vote.  

Well, hundreds of thousands of dollars come in the form of grants and major donations to "civic engagement" organizations to do this work every election season.  This allows them to pay themselves very handsomely. 

Here's how it works:

  1. Prior to election season, they find injustices to spotlight in Black and Brown poor communities.  Let's just use a pesky landlord giving tenants a hard time after a flood. 
  2. They gain media exposure with buses filled to the brim with volunteers donning their organization's logo emblazoned shirts  at rallies and protests.  They hold press conferences where Black and Brown people speak.  
  3. Here's where things get sticky.  Eventually, the mayor or some other elected gets involved because of the ruckus that's been caused.  The top brass at the organization meet with the elected officials on behalf of the Black and Brown people.  
  4. Eventually, they win.

But guess who got points with the mayor to be cashed in later?  Guess who parlays that campaign into a front page spread in the local paper?  The executive director of the organization, not those who poured their time and effort into the fight.  The power dynamic is off, and something has to change.  We will never build power if we continue this phenomenon to happen.   

When the checks come rolling in, those at the TOP make off like fat cats.

When it comes to deciding which issues to fight for next, it's those at the TOP who don't come from the neighborhoods or communities they're fighting on behalf of.  

Those at the TOP get to meet with the mayor and the congresswoman.  

Those at the TOP get their photo on the front page of the newspaper.

Those at the TOP get to leverage the weight of the community without a single member of said community in the room.  

At the end of the day, there's an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed.

If you're trying to engage BLACK PEOPLE you can't just hire some on staff, or throw some spare change at a token whose voice you mute when the real decisions are being made.

You can't just throw $12 an hour at canvassers when you're raking in $100,000 a year running the organization.

You see, we season our food differently, we communicate through different channels. We don't need to be hired as servers at the restaurant of civic engagement, we need to be able to set the menu and cook the food, too, but that's not happening locally.

That's if we're hired at all.

To some organizations, we just make good volunteers, seat fillers for buses, and spokespeople, but some organizations don't want to truly invest in Black and Brown talent through the PAYROLL.

And when the Houston Chronicle does the story on the "Hero" that saved Sunnyside, whose picture graces the article? One of the members of the community giving their own blood, sweat, and tears?

No, the Executive Director from Boston who makes $100,000+ a year on the backs of the injustices they "dabbled" in for the moment.

Think about behemoth organization(s) locally that benefit from the grassroots work of unfunded organizations. We organize a march or rally, and here they come with their signs and banner, yet they won't even consider hiring one of these people organizing the events.

Hole them accountable.

Next time they want you to hop on the bus for the photo-op, ask what the percentage of Black/Brown people are in upper management at said organization.

Ask who's on retainer as an ongoing consultant for the organization.

Ask who the donors are.

Ask who sits in the room when the plan was made to get on the bus.

We need to start asking questions.

Well-intentioned White progressives who run issue-based organizations are serving up the potato salad, and wondering why people in Sunny Side aren't eating it.

If we're serious about engaging those who aren't already engaged, some people are going to have to step aside and allow it to happen.

Don't select a token. Don't put us in the field.


A frank discussion around RACIAL EQUITY when it comes to leadership needs to happen in the "progressive" community.

Until Black and Brown people sit at C3 Voter Engagement tables where the 6 and 7 figure grants are chopped up, y'all will continue to have the same results: Nobody’s eating it.

I left Texas Organizing Project a few years ago because I realized the "glass ceiling" that existed. I was a token.  I was a Black body giving legitimacy to the organization.  

My executive director was well-intentioned, but had implicit biases herself.  For some reason, very few Black people made it to management, but the majority of our membership were Black. We were fine for an entry-level staff position, but never moved up the food chain.  From the sly comments, to actions, it wasn't a place internally that I felt I could grow.

I ended up leaving to run an org at the state level. I was the only Black face at these tables. I would later find out this lady was throwing me under the bus with funders. Wow.

Luckily, it didn't work. But damn, right?

It hurt my feelings at the moment, but taught me a valuable lesson. It's a dog eat dog world.

I know my people. My people know my people.

And if some of you would step off your "holier than thou" pedestal assuming they're the only people that can do the work, we could really get some things done.

Grassroots Orgs Recruit to Help Rebuild After Harvey

Photo by Lisa5201/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Lisa5201/iStock / Getty Images

Like many of you, we're ready sitting on the edge of our seats to help rebuild our communities across the Greater-Houston area, but the process can be complicated and daunting.  With so many non-profit organizations, and not enough capacity to truly coordinate grassroots outreach, we saw the need to create a platform to connect those wanting to volunteer, with those in the greatest need as they work to rebuild their homes.

From the home repair program at Houston's Habitat for Humanity, to our school uniform project, we're simplifying the process to turn our energy into action #AfterHarvey.  We'll need your help maintaining the infrastructure of our growing platform as more folks reach out online.

After choosing how you wish to contribute your time/money locally, we encourage you to share photos/screenshots on all social media platforms using the hashtag #AfterHarvey.

If you know of other organizations needing volunteers, or organizations wishing to join our growing #AfterHarvey coalition of organizations, shoot me an email:

I've always said "Houston is the greatest city there ever was," now it's time to walk the walk.  

I hope you will, too.

Durrel Douglas, Organizer


His name is Jose Leal and he's Houston Independent School District's newest School Board Trustee for District III replacing Manuel Rodriguez who passed away unexpectedly just a few weeks ago on July 19th.  The board appointed him to be a "caretaker" for the seat until an official election is held.

He currently works as a Special Needs Educator at Houston CAN Academy Southwest.  Prior to that, Trustee Leal previously served in administrative capacities as assistant principal and as a counselor at Charter School Yes Prep and CAN Academy bringing over 30 years of educational experience to the seat that includes Milby and Chavez High Schools as well as the middle and elementary schools falling in their feeder pattern.

He challenged incumbent Manuel Rodriguez in the most recent 2015 District III election forcing a runoff.  Rodriguez held the seat trouncing Leal in a 56% to 44% face-off.



+300 HISD Employees Make Over $100,000/year

It seems like just about every year, we hear about budget shortfalls and school closures at the State's largest school district: Houston Independent School District, and this year is no different.

As per usual, elected school board trustees and administrators huff and puff, then point their fingers at state and federal governments as the reason for the shortages...but watching public testimony at last night's school board meeting led to a HUGE find!

One of the people who spoke mentioned how top-heavy they thought HISD was, and that many of those making the most money aren't in the classroom regularly, or even working on a school campus.

This led me to wonder:  Who are these people in the big admin building on 290, and what do they do?  


What would you do if I told you there were over 300 administrators who make over $100,000 per year?

Well, you don't have to believe me because I brought receipts!


FYI, information on all government employees is public information and published on the Texas Tribune every year.  If you'd like to be petty and search for people you know who work for the city, state, or a school district somewhere:  HERE'S THE LINK.

You're Welcome...

It baffles me how we don't have money for musical instruments, school supplies for teachers, or additional resources for our most marginalized communities, yet we can write these checks.

Now, I'm about to get real petty as well and point out some staggering figures, and even put some names next to them, so don't be surprised if I suddenly disappear only to be found face-down in a bayou next week.

Who are these people?

Okay, it's not shocking that mariachi performer-turned-HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza takes home a breathtaking $345,000 per year since he's basically the CEO of a government entity that rivals the size of a city.  It's an important job, and so far he seems to be doing well at it... but what is a School Support Officer SSO?  Why do we need 30 of them at roughly $130,000 each?  That's roughly $4,000,000 every year combined.

The top paid SSO is Matilda Orozco raking in $176,382.35 according to public records.  According to HISD's web-site, School Support Officers report directly to Deputy Superintendents. The top paid Deputy Superintendent is Samuel Sarabia who gets a staggering $221,900 via direct deposit annually.  Just to put that into perspective for those of you (like me) who wonders what that looks like on a check stub every two weeks, that's $9,245 every pay period.


HISD's Athletics Director brings home the bacon, too!  Marmion Dambrino makes 135,000 leading the athletics department at the district.  

As expected, principals round off this list bringing home a well-deserved $130,000 per year, but a little more digging shows a few more confusing job titles at the top-heavy-yet-cash-strapped district.

The district's Chief Student Support Officer is Mark L. Smith who's worked for the district since August of 1986---the month before I was born.  I turn 31 this year.  He's making it rain with an annual salary of $194,361 per year.  

Now, with HISD's starting teacher salary hovering somewhere around $50,000 per year, that's literally less than HALF of what these top brass employees bring home.  It does lead one to wonder: where's the focus?  How are teachers--one of the most important components of the education system--paid so low?  

Who sets this budget?  

More importantly: Who's benefitting from it?

Taking yet a dive deeper into the numbers, I see that our custodians and bus drivers are paid a meager $25,000 per year on average.

That's not a living wage.

Before we close another school...

Before we lay off another cook in the cafeteria...

We need to look at some of the people that are living off the fat of the land at HISD.

We plan to discuss this and more at the Houston ISD School Board Candidates' Debate on October 14th from 4-6:30pm at the Sunny Side Multi-Service Center..

-By Durrel Douglas, Contributor

Durrel K. Douglas devotes his life to building community power and using it to fuel the movement headed toward Justice.  He enjoys Tex-Mex, HBCU bands, and ratchet television.  Durrel co-founded the grass-roots-led HoustonJustice.Org in 2014 to fight police brutality and disparate treatment in the criminal "justice" system.  He currently resides in Houston where he produces a bi-weekly podcast and is learning to play the upright base.  He can be reached at

Worthing, Wheatley, Kashmere at Risk of Closing.

Yes, you read that correctly!

The historically Black Worthing, Wheatley, and Kashmere High Schools are at risk of being closed if they can’t show enough improvement to be taken off the State’s “Improvement Required” list according to comments at yesterday’s press conference held by HISD Trustees Wanda Adams, who serves as the Board’s President, and Rhonda Skillern-Jones.

Remember the now extinct M.B. Smiley eagles, the blue and gold Forest Brook jaguars, and the rest of North Forest ISD?

A distant memory, right?

Remember how the district was dismantled in 2013 and essentially handed over to HISD like soggy leftovers from dinner at Applebee’s?  Well, these schools and roughly ten others may cause HISD to follow the same fate.

A state law passed in 2015 by Houston-area State Rep. Harold Dutton (D) puts schools who end up on the State’s “Improvement Required” list too many years in a row on the chopping block.  If unable to get off that list in time, the State (TEA) offers 2 simple options: allow TEA to take over the schools through a board of managers who are unelected, or close the school.

It's clear the intent was to raise standards for schools who consistently kick the can down the road when it comes to performance, but the bill is also putting an unpopular spotlight on historically Black neighborhood schools.

What’s even more astonishing about the law is that it could actually allow the state to snatch control of the district from our elected school board.

Community Leader Larry McKinzie says he sees these recent moves as an attack on public education, and that it onus is on all elected officials in the Houston area to reign in TEA.  "There is a Charter School agenda at hand, and if you can get the largest district [HISD], you can get the entire state," said McKinzie.  He says we should cast the net wide when thinking bout who's to blame for our district's performance problems.  "Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, all the Texas State Reps and Senators from Houston, the County Commissioners, the Harris County Board of Education Trustees, all the city council people, the pastors, priest and rabbis deserve some of the blame," continued McKinzie.

According to some school board members, the problem comes from the State constantly changing the goals.  Trustee Skillern-Jones likened recent years to a moving target.  She also points to a need for additional resources to truly combat issues at schools in marginalized communities.

“If you look at the statistics on each one of these schools, you’ll see the correlation between the affects of poverty and low achievement,” said Trustee Skillern-Jones.  That’s absolutely true.  You can’t teach hungry children.  

As a community, we need to address the elephant in the room: Poverty

“When you pass laws like these that are blanket and do not take into consideration all of the things that happen to kids in Texas and the various situation, that’s drilling a hole [in the ship],” continued Skillern-Jones.

Only time will tell what becomes of the schools on the list, and HISD itself.  The schools have roughly nine months to get out of “Improvement Required” rating or face closure.

The question is: What can the community do to get OUR schools off the list. Bigger question: How do we take more control of the system that allows LISTS to control the fate of our neighborhood schools?  

What can WE do as a community?

After a closed session, the HISD Board of Trustees plan to hold a meeting this evening at 5:00 at the HISD Administration Building where this issue will surely make the public comments section.



On the "Improvement Required" List for HISD:

Blackshear Elementary School 

Cook Elementary School 

Dogan Elementary School 

Henry Middle School 

Highland Heights Elementary School 

Kashmere Gardens Elementary School 

Kashmere High School

Lewis Elementary School 

Mading Elementary School 

Wesley Elementary School 

Wheatley High School

Woodson PK-8 School 

Worthing High School

HISD Candidates Line Up Against Wanda Adams


Just weeks before the August 21st filing deadline for HISD's School Board Elections this November, the District IX Trustee race is heating up.  In her first bid for re-election after clinching the Trustee seat in 2013, she faces three challengers as of today, and the list is rumored to continue growing.  

The seat, which represents Worthing, Madison, and Westbury High Schools (Westbury is my alma mater), and the middle and elementary schools in the respective feeder patterns, is up for election this year in November. 

After serving six years on Houston City Council, she challenged State Representative Alma Allen in the Democratic Primary before winning her seat on the school board with an impressive 71.2% of the vote.  But after unpopular school closings, failed bond performance, back-to-back scandals, and a report that the district might face state takeover, HISD's board is getting a lot more attention these days.  

Since Wanda Adams serves as the board's President, it's not surprising that some community leaders are lining up for the November election.  Unpopular news coverage of alleged scandals and bribery at headquarters put our nation's seventh largest school district in the spotlight.


When asked, some said they need another unapologetic progressive presence similar to Jolanda Jones to push back against right-leaning Trustees on the board.  Whether via HISD's cable access channel or Jones' personal live feed, it's clear she's a results-oriented firebrand.  

The question becomes, if not Adams, then whom?


Based on the field so far, that presence is closest resembled by Public Education activist and founder of United Urban Alumni Alliance Jerry Monroe who officially threw his hat in the race against Adams yesterday.  A consistent challenger of school closings and advocate for district improvements, Monroe points to disparities in funding, corruption in the awarding of contracts, and accessibility in many of his Facebook live conversations about HISD's school board.

In my years at protests and rallies held at HISD's Administration Building, Monroe has been a consistent presence.


Dr. Karla Brown, Executive Director and Founder of The Providence on Southmore, a non-profit providing mentorship, internships, and degree completion support.  Brown is also among the list to challenge Adams.  I met with her for lunch regarding her non-profit a few years ago, and she seems like a solid candidate in my personal opinion.  


Charnelle Thompson rounds off the list of three, but I couldn't find much information on her just yet.  


As an alumnus of Westbury High School which falls in the seat's constituency, I'm really looking forward to hearing from Adams and her competition before making my decision, as I hope you will.  

HoustonJustice.Org will host a debate and town hall in October to give each of the candidates in the race an opportunity to answer questions of students, parents, and public education advocates.


The school-to-prison pipeline is real, and I believe our school board trustees have a huge responsibility to guide the modernization of over-sized, antiquated districts like HISD.  I marched in the band at Westbury.  I played trumpet.  This opportunity, which contributed to me graduating in the first place, is now drifting away.  Have you seen the size of marching bands lately?  The same can be said of access to trade and vocational programs that provide alternatives for those not wanting to spend time and money at a four-year brick-and-mortar institution.  Oh, and STUDENT LOANS!

While it's obvious trends at the Texas Legislature and Congress affect funding streams, we need to change the model.  We need a school board that works.

From waste in the form of iPads and new shiny buildings that often lack substance and real resources inside them, a true overhaul is needed at HISD.

The question is: Should this seat be part of the overhaul.

-By Durrel Douglas, Founder/Executive Director



Help Eligible County Jail Inmates Vote


Yes, Orange is the New Black in Houston.  Well, technically Black is still Black, but you get the point.  We're helping eligible voters participate in the most significant of civic duties: voting!



Of the roughly 10,000 inmates housed at the Harris County Jail on any given day, 70% of them have not been convicted of a crime yet.  Yes, some 7,000 people behind bars haven't been sentenced by a judge due to our crazy Bail system here in Texas that keeps people behind bars because they can't afford bail.  And when election season rolls around, there's no mechanism in place to allow these inmates to vote.  

Just to give you an idea of how significant a potential 7,000 voters are in a place like Houston, the Houston Mayor's race that made Sylvester Turner the Mayor was decided by roughly 5,000 votes!

Yes, since they haven't been convicted of a crime yet, they are eligible to vote.  Unfortunately, there's no voting boot at the Harris County Jail.  So, we're doing something about it!



As part of our INMATE JUSTICE PROJECT, Houston Justice and a coalition of organizations like Indivisible Houston are pushing the three County government entities to bring voting rights to those behind bars who are eligible.  From the Harris County Sheriff's Department, to the County Clerk's Office, to the Tax-Assessor Collector's office to make this happen, but we need your help!

We need at least (10) folks to go through the one-hour training to become a Deputy Voter Registrar, get cleared through the county via background check, and finally help make this a reality.  



7/31/17 Organizational Signup Deadline
8/15/17   Coalition Planning Meeting
9/9/17     Kick-Off Press Conference

Then, we'll register voters on the following Saturdays at Harris County Jail

Here's what the timeline will look like if you join the project:

  1. CLICK HERE to sign-up selecting "Inmate Justice Project" when you get to the selection section.  
  2. Attend one of the Deputy Voter Registrar trainings in August to get your certificate.  HERE'S THE LINK with training date/times.
  3. Join us for our kick-off press conference and #OITNBHOU day at the county jail where we'll go from cell-to -ell, pod-to-pod registering voters and passing out vote-by-mail applications for those that know they'll be behind bars through Election Day (November 7, 2017).
  4. Join our planning meeting/call on 7/25/17 at 7pm to help strategize next steps.  RSVP HERE

In addition to signing up to actually register voters at the jail, there are other ways you can help, too! 


Indivisible Houston


Truth 2 Power

NAACP-Houston Young Adults

Swing Left

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ Houston)


Houston Justice 2.0


It's been a while since we've come together, but the time has come!  I'm back from Seattle, and I'm ready to get my hands dirty getting back to goal-oriented work with concrete, measurable goals.  

I've caught up with other organizers who are ready to get to work on BUILDING not TEARING DOWN---divisiveness will get us nowhere.

In the coming weeks, we're working to build our organizational structure and add to the ongoing momentum built by existing organizations already doing work here in Houston!  Our principles remain clear.  We'll continue the fight against police brutality. We'll continue the fight for racial justice.

We're marching toward JUSTICE with three main tenets:  

I invite you to click above and read a little about our goals under each of the focus areas to learn more.  Further, I'd love to get your advice and suggestions as we roll forward.

This way toward Justice!

In Solidarity,

Durrel K. Douglas, Founder