Wednesday, November 4, 2015

#HERO: WHY WE LOST THE BATTLE TO PROTECT HOUSTONIANS

THE HOUSTON EQUAL RIGHTS ORDINANCE



****NOTE THIS POST WILL EXPLORE FROM ALL ANGLES AND NOT PLACE BLAME ON JUST ONE ENTITY****


The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was intended to provide protections in employment (both public and private), housing and public accommodations for the following classes:

- sex                          - age                                         - disability
- race                         - familial status                        - sexual orientation
- color                        - marital status                         - genetic information
- ethnicity                  - military status                        - gender identity
- national origin         - religion                                  - pregnancy

It did not change the existing Houston Penal Code: Sec. 28-20. Entering restrooms of opposite sex, it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally enter any public restroom designated for the exclusive use of the sex opposite to such person's sex without the permission of the owner, tenant, manager, lessee or other person in charge of the premises, in a manner calculated to cause a disturbance. (Code 1968, § 28-42.6; Ord. No. 72-904, § 2, 6-2-72)

This was the ONE singular source of contention from day one has been the bathroom issue, in which the opposition state that the ordinance will allow men dressed as women to enter women's restrooms. This is not true, as the ordinance does not change the existing penal code states above.


Previously, I shared the beginning of this downhill battle in my last post: "The issues started after HERO passed and the predominantly White group of pro HERO and token Black folks decided to meet in secret, raise money, and keep the majority of people in support out of the loop. As this took place, the opposition decided to run a campaign of hate and designed a deceptive petition, collected thousands of signatures that were found to be fraudulent and illegible.

"There are simply too many documents with irregularities and problems to overlook. The petition is simply invalid." - City Attorney Dave Feldman

On election day (11/3/15), we went in as a collective with high hopes that Houstonians would vote to protect all citizens from discrimination. As an individual, I had spent the days leading to election day reconciling that we would lose because the ones with the resources and the money to help educate and prevent what happened yesterday, didn't do all that could be done. So we lost..


I remember doing different events and trying to educate the Black community about HERO, with no attendance and help from the predominantly Whitewashed efforts that subsequently morphed into Houston Unites. Over the last Year and a half, there were conference calls that spelled out the need for inclusion of the Trans Communities of Color to humanize and quickly kill the myth that the other side was spreading. We also offered to help do outreach in very general terms to no avail, so much so to the point that I used my Strength In Numbers project to push independent education with the very people they refused to reach out and educate. If we go back to when the petitions were collected, the findings are that the majority of the signatures came from Black, Latino, Hispanic and the elderly. These petitions had sown a seed long before there was an out reach from the mainstream LGBT community that grew into a trouncing yesterday at the polls. Remember the Intersectional Justice Rallies and the graphics? those were truly the only forms of literature on the pro side that reached the Black community specifically.

"What we did get is a whitewashed campaign that didn't do enough to destroy the only political card the HERO haters could play in the bathroom meme attack, It failed to point out the Texas and Harris County Republican Party and suburban right-wing activists were gleefully behind killing the HERO, and let nonstop anti-HERO commercials on Houston Black radio stations go unanswered. They were reacting instead of being on the attack, and that's a recipe for an electoral loss."--TransGriot November 2, 2015

Lets focus on Houston Unites (for a moment) which was made of various organizations, and heavily run by the diversity issue laden Human Rights Campaign (Houston and National). Note many of the screen shots to the last article in this series had comments from HRC people and not just any people, these are folks who are on diversity committees, the board of governors, and even the National Director of Outreach. If you look at the shot to your right, the response to a Black person asking about the lack of outreach to the Black community at large is "we do this, we do that, you should be happy, our way is better." The thing is that the White, gay way is not the right way to pass an ordinance that is being attacked by folks who are even in the LGBT community. There were block walks (to areas that were for sure supporters), phone banks (to call folks on lists that are friendly and not to people who signed petitions or people outside of that bubble), Television and radio appearances (seen by very few and on stations that have very little reach). Finally, there were ads and celebrity appearances that came far little and far too late. There were people, myself included who have a notable presence in more than just the LGBT community that could have been tapped. They said that we "did not volunteer," we did offer to volunteer, volunteer at doing outreach in the areas they were not touching. DON'T EVER FORGET WE HAVE BEEN HERE SINCE THE BEGINNING:





This letter pissed me off as I reviewed the precinct results for how bad our loss was, a 61%-39% margin!



We could have been making the appearances that would have reached the communities that needed the attention the most, Remember this?

"Here are some things to note about Kubosh:
1. He refused to look at me
2. He refused to answer my points and questions
3. I spoke from multiple angles a out the 15 classes that #HERO protects
4. Messaging in favor of HERO has been white wash (intentional or unintentional) so far, and I gave it some color, race & ethnicity... will #HoustonUnites and #HouEquality use this gold mine.
5. Kobush got his ass handed to him so badly that I suspect that the segment was cut short.. #SHADE 2 me for being unapologetically Black and checking him on his privilege amongst other issues that could be noted..

SUPPORT THE HOUSTON EQUAL RIGHTS ORDINANCE IN NOV!

I recorded it HERE..

For a better clip: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/clip/11785271/the-isiah-factor-uncensored-michael-kubosh-and-ashton-woods

Today I will be on Fox 26 news at 9:30pm to discuss the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance with Isiah Carey during his "Isiah Factor Uncensored" segment. I will be accompanied in this discussion by HERO opponent and Houston City Council Member Michael Kubosh. You all know where I stand on this ordinance and how much I will do as an Independent Activist to protect rights for ALL Houstonians.
"

That was just the tip of the material Houston Unites and HRC could have used to kill the bathroom myth. The press conferences could have been a way to educate as well:  https://www.facebook.com/ashpierre07/videos/10200940305987956/?l=5166211839114861544


Intersectional Justice rallies are examples of events that could have been held to support the Trans community and bring visibility to all Houstonians to show humanity in breaking the bathroom myth:


Now enough about Houston Unites, Lets talk about the clergy, elected officials, candidates, local celebrities and other public figures who remained quiet the whole damn time. I support Sylvester Turner for Mayor, for his record, his courage and ability to see that ALL Houstonians matter. He took a hit for supporting HERO, so much so, that in the Black neighborhoods a Turner sign automatically got associated with "YesOnProp1!" I can't say the same for others who had more prominence, who talked behind closed doors about the shitty job Houston Unites was doing and not publically helping. Many of them were incumbent council members who passed the ordinance in the first place! Note that they even shared the ballot with Prop1/HERO and only a few if any spoke on it and only when asked.  

To the Black community, as a subjugated class of people we are tasked with making sure that we don't do the same those who look like us while thinking differently from us. WE must allow critical thought to expand beyond the confines of the religious beliefs beaten into us during slavery. Many people who are Black exist in other intersections, LGBT, art, ethnicity, etc & and to forsake diversity because some pastor getting his pockets lined by some racist white man who can even vote in the City of Houston. We have lost 20+ Transwomen due to the violent language and references that our community has used locally and nationwide. Every year, we have to have a Trans Day of Remembrance and your possible "no" vote on HERO may have taken someone's life. We will continue chanting #SayHerName about lost Trans sistahs and many of you will continue to be wilfully ignorant!

"EMERGENCY POST From Ashton P. Woods: As an Activist who believes ALL ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬, I ask that you drop all that you are doing IF you live in HOUSTON & GO VOTE ‪#‎YesOnProp1‬ to support equal rights for all. We as a community of Black and Brown people must stand firm for all, inspite of the hate from the few. This is a state of emergency!"

Look at the so called Black leaders coming together to deliver fraudulent petitions last year with their White leader who supports organizations and measures that hurt the Houston Black communities. Why do we follow people like this, instead of following the money who came out of hiding on election day? Just look at the picture below, how many Black people do you see?


"Black folks always majoring in the minors and minoring in the majors. Clearly you have no regard for your black life, nor the Black Lives of others. Black Lives Don't Matter. Gay folks don't matter. Trans folk don't matter. Families Don't Matter. Disable folk don't matter. A women's pregnancy don't matter. Age discrimination don't matter HERO - Houston (((EQUAL))) Rights Ordinance...I suppose the word (((EQUAL))) escaped many of you. Good people fought for us and this was clearly a slap in their faces. Ashton P. Woods Brandon Mack Remmington F. Belford Fran Watson and many many more I stand in solidarity with you. Thank you for your undying - unwavering fight for justice." - Seek The Poet



We literally got screwed from every angle, let this be a lesson to all sides that Houstonians should never hire outside help to do outreach to local communities they know nothing about, that we hold our politicians & so called leaders accountable. We should never let people who don't live here influence how we treat our neighbors and that CRITICAL THINKING is important in elections. Don't believe me?


Here are the other pieces from this series (now you have the whole picture):