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Houstonians rebuild amidst destruction from Hurricane Harvey

By Fabian Van Onzin

Cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey in  Houston, TX.

Houston, TX – In late August, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and it caused untold destruction upon the city. Entire neighborhoods were submerged in water, hundreds of people lost their cars to flooding, and there were over three dozen deaths. The city's response was not very good; the well-off middle-class communities received immediate aid, but the working class and predominantly Black and Chicano/Mexicano neighborhoods received little assistance. In Houston's Sunnyside, for example, a predominantly Black neighborhood, there were nearly no FEMA responders and large rescue teams.

Two weeks later, students at UH sent a group of volunteers to donate goods to vital community mobilization and services organized in the wake of Harvey's devastation. This initiative was organized and led by Black organizations, to serve Black communities. Working together, these organizations have gathered and distributed food, water, clothes, and other essential items. They have assisted with overhauling homes destroyed by flood waters.

Patrick Higgins, an organizer with SDS says, “We in SDS are proud to do our part to assist in serving the poorest of Houston. It was poor communities of color hit the hardest by Harvey's rainwaters, much the same as it was in New Orleans before us, much as it has been the past decade all across the U.S. Gulf coast.”

Higgins continued, “While both city and federal government apparently have the military resources to impose a ‘curfew’ of one of the largest cities in the country in order to police poor people more aggressively, state services and brand name aid NGOs are nowhere to be found in Northeast Houston to meet human need. This truly is yet another Katrina, another racist barbarity of the capitalist system, where countless families are left to pick up the pieces of their lives from a manmade disaster only for the system's cheap salesmen to insist on calling these events ‘natural.’”

Students for a Democratic Society is continuing to organize students at the University of Houston to help with the relief effort. Please see their Facebook page ( for updates.

#HoustonTX #StudentsForADemocraticSociety #EnvironmentalJustice #HurricaneHarvey