- October 19, 2015
With early voting in Houston now underway, HRC is working hard to create a more equal and inclusive city. Using dedicated volunteers, like Jesus Pineda and Citlalli Álvarez, the Houston Unites campaign has been holding weekly phone banks in Spanish, talking to voters and distributing printed materials translated into Spanish.
As an openly gay Hispanic male and a Houston native, Pineda is eager to pass the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
“I care because this is something that protects not just me, but all Houstonians,” he explained. “It's about protecting our own city, our own people, our neighbors. For me that's what Houston is and that's what it means to be a Houstonian.”
Álvarez, who is undocumented and identifies as queer, is working to engage Latinx communities in the fight for HERO.
“I think it’s especially important to work alongside communities of color, who are undoubtedly among the greatest beneficiaries from local non-discrimination ordinances like HERO,” Álvarez explained. “I run a Spanish program within the campaign that focuses on talking to voters and community members who are likely to prefer to Spanish content. I have also lead trainings in Spanish and English that empower LGBTQ members from different Latinx communities around Houston to talk about why the ordinance matters to them and their loved ones.”
HERO protects Houston residents and visitors from protection from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, and 11 other characteristics in employment, housing and business services. During the brief window when HERO was in effect in Houston, Houston Unites, a coalition that includes HRC, ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas and Texas Freedom Network, found that a total of 56 percent of all reported incidents of discrimination in Houston was on the basis of race.
“Every Houstonian does and should care about our people and how we are treated in this city,” Pineda concluded. “Discrimination has no place in Houston and it is time for us to make it official.”
Early voting begins today, October 19, through Friday, October 30. To find a polling location near you or to learn how to vote by mail, check out the Houston Unites' Election Center. If you are voting in Texas, whether on Election Day or voting early in person, you’ll need to take an unexpired government-issued photo identification.
|Pol. Adv. Human Rights Campaign|