STATE OF BLACK HOUSTON
Earlier this year we launched #ProjectOrange, a first-of-its-kind pilot where we were allowed to take volunteer deputy voter registrars behind the bars of the Harris County Jail to register eligible voters and to provide vote-by-mail access to those meeting the qualifications. This was astounding because of the estimated 10,000 inmates at the jail everyday, roughly 70% of them have yet to be convicted of a crime. Many are there for minor traffic tickets that escalated to warrants without payment, or, those who can’t afford to bail out.
Over 40 volunteers registered over 600 new voters during the Texas Primary earlier this year---and that’s just two-hours per day over the four Sundays leading up to election day.
Houston Justice is teaming up with Black Futures Lab and other organizations to bring The Black Census Project to Houston. It’s a national survey gathering information for an accurate understanding of the diversity of our communities, of the diversity of issues that Black communities care about most, and of the innovative ideas and vision for how to transform our country.
Black people are often spoken about or spoken for but Black people are rarely listened to.
The Black Census Project aims to set the record straight.
In order to give Black people an opportunity to speak for ourselves, the Black Census Project will conduct the biggest national survey of Black people across class, disability, gender, geography, immigration status, and sexuality. The collected information will clarify the diversity of wants and needs that Black people imagine for our communities.
This survey, the largest of Black people in recent history, will capture a more accurate picture of who we are and what we care about. The Black Census asks Black communities what we see as the key issues in our communities and asks us about what we think needs to be done to address those issues, so that our lives can change for the better.
That’s where YOU come in.
We’re aiming to reach as many Black people as possible in our churches, universities, HBCUs, basketball courts, beauty shops, etc.
Once this project is over, we plan to use the data collected to lay the foundation for a local Black political platform. No, not some broad-stroked, vague list of optimistic-yet-unlikely political positions, but instead, concrete, measurable goals that we can move on.
It will likely culminate in a town-hall type event laying out the findings, discussing the realities, and walking away with next steps similar to what we did in 2015 with the State of Black Houston.
We’ve done it before with Grand Jury Reform, so we know we can move the meter on justice at the local and state level again with your help.
I ask that you take a moment to think of any organizations, churches, college professors, etc. that could help us turn this into a reality.