It’s true that natural disasters can strike anywhere, but Texas got hit with an especially devastating one with Harvey. As a proud member of the Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico AILA chapter, I wanted to share some of the efforts by our members to help in the community. Since the devastation of Hurricane Harvey hit our coastal areas, we have witnessed an outpouring of support from AILA members both from within the chapter and on a national level. Individual efforts have included opening offices to those displaced for workspace, shipping water and supplies to affected areas, moving farm and domestic animals to safety, and giving money towards relief efforts. There has also been a message center section established to help AILA members share information and allocate office space to others in need along with updated disaster recovery resources. Additionally, several local Houston and surrounding area AILA members volunteered at temporary shelters handing out care packages to those in need while others assisted stranded persons by ferrying them to safety in boats.
Our chapter has endured some struggles this past year with the enactment of the SB4 legislation, this devastating hurricane, and yesterday’s the pronouncement of the end of DACA, which is not only an inhumane decision, but also an impractical one which will have a significant impact on the rebuilding efforts in our area.
With the help and support of our chapter members and our national organization at large, we will prevail. There is much to do and there will be continued calls for assistance, so please answer the call if you are able. For AILA members, we are in the planning stages of implementing some programs to assist our very vulnerable immigrant population in this region and we will let you know how you can assist very soon. For interested members of the public, we ask that you continue to support disaster relief efforts, share them with your networks, and keep advocating and championing immigrants in your day to day lives.
There are some rays of light that are helping us through this time, like the temporary injunction against the implementation of SB4. Harvey’s floodwaters are receding, but struggles will continue for some time. I know our group is up for the challenge and I have seen some great things come out of a bad situation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Florida as Irma bears down on them – please stay safe and know that we are here for you, too.