This isn’t entirely dance related but extremely important. I had to wait a bit to write this post out, knowing that I’m still not mentally recovered from everything… but please, if anything, scroll past my musing and take a look through some links and donate whatever you can. Please.
SPOILER ALERT: some legit outside reading:
And please, don’t be this person to a single Texan right now:
My parent’s house, brother’s house, and brother’s apartment were all spared, but only by a stroke of luck… many of my friends across HTX have checked in and are spared too with the exception for a handful of friends in the Dickinson and Pearland areas. Another hour or two of intense downpour during that first night and everyone would have been fucked.
Obviously, I’m from Houston; my brothers and I are native Texans and first-generation Houstonians. I grew up in a subdivision called Camino South which is part of Clear Lake which is part of the Southeast side of Houston. To give any outsiders some scope on the vast size of what we call “Houston,” (on a good day) from my home I could reach NASA Space Center in under 5 minutes, Galveston in 30 minutes, and Downtown Houston in 40 minutes. All of my childhood schools, libraries, jobs, etc. are in or around the Clear Lake area.
I moved to Montrose in Downtown Houston after TXST. My little brother lives in northeast Downtown Houston and my older brother lives a bit past my parent’s house in eastern Clear Lake/League City area (other little brother lives in Denton right now). My husband’s family is in League City, also part of Southeast Houston but closer to the coastal spots like Kemah and Dickinson.
My (Catholic) first school was in Dickinson. My first best friend’s house was in Dickinson. My first memories of driving back and forth in my family’s car are in Dickinson. I used to hate Dickinson. IMO it’s all Popeyes, churches, and gas stations… But I’m still very much grateful for what Dickinson gave me as a child; a view outside of small suburban Clear Lake with its humongous yards, hundreds of horses and cattle, and giant trucks parked everywhere.
Texans prepared for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to Hurricane season each and every single year. We’ve been trained at a very young age to collect precious few things, hoard water and gas, and watch the local news religiously. I’ve been doing this my entire life, and my parents from north Louisiana and Guatemala respectably have also been on Hurricane alert their entire lives too. You just get used to it.
But after the waves of collective trauma from Rita, Allison, and Ike (among many other horrible TS and Hurricanes) though, there comes a point when you start to think it can’t get any worse than this. And that’s a dangerous way of thinking when you live on the Gulf Coast… The more recent memorial day floods also maxed out most people’s fears in the city. Every decade, the waves of storms become stronger and longer, yet every year we put our hopes in the thought that these storms have peaked, all the while knowing full well that global warming is intensifying each year (that is, some of us accept the truth and science that is today’s climate change…) BUT Harvey surpassed everyone’s expectations.
I believe a single picture can do what words can not sometimes, so take a glance at Houston Chronicle’s photo album of Harvey aftermath. It wasn’t just Houston either. I want to make that VERY clear. The first impact cities in and around Corpus Christi all the way to the second impact along the eastern Texas/Louisiana border need extreme help as well. I’m simply (and selfishly…) pointing out Houston out of familiarity; I know the exact roads that have been devastated and the ones which have been spared in Houston, more so than the roads in Beaumont–a city I’ve only passed by on our way to Shreveport–for example. But please keep all areas effected in mind during the coming years.
Now, what can you do? Like any other national crisis, your best bet is to donate your time first and money next; clothing has already been more than covered right now and many state and local organizations like HEB are donating food for immediate relief. I’m leaving out the two obvious organizations (Red Cross and Salvation Army) cause I’ve been hearing too many conflicting statements about how they are distributing the donates they receive.
Best to keep it local when possible. It’s 2017, basically every organization has a website with a donation page. And remember, if you are in an effected area, TIP TIP TIP as much as possible. Many of your friendly local baristas, servers, waiters, etc. are on a fixed income and need the immediate cash to make rent and survive. A lot of people lost valued time at work.
I can’t personally go back to HTX for a long time (plane tickets are the worse kind of expensive…) and I also can’t donate anything right now since I’m legally borrowing money only for my current survival at NYU…
I hope some of you are in a better place financially to help us recover though. Below are all the links I could gather, though there are certainly many more causes to donate to during this time of recover. Remember, it takes years for a city to recover from a natural disaster. After Harvey, however, it’ll take at least a decade for HTX to get back on stable ground.
Sadly, due to flooding at the basement and first level of the Wortham as well as a week’s worth of missed rehearsals, HB had to cancel the season opener, “Poetry in Motion,” which featured Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance), Welch’s Powder, and Balanchine’s Symphony in C (Symp in C was oddly previously canceled due to Allison too… the “curse” continues.)
No need to donate extensively to HB though; despite resting right along the Bayou, our building wasn’t largely damaged aside from the first floor. I say this in all honesty; I know for a fact that HB as an organization has a robust list of generous and financially equipped donors who weren’t personally effected by Harvey, ready and willing to donate their time and money to help their beloved Theater District ASAP. (The Alley Theatre, for example, sustained enormous flood damage but it too is backed by some of the richest people in HTX; the Alley’s employees need your help more than the actual structure.)
Truly, the smaller local dance organizations need your time and money more than HB right now.
You can always support Dance Source Houston which distributes everything to local small-businesses in the performing arts and non-profit dance companies and performance spaces: https://dancesourcehouston.secure.force.com/donate/?dfId=a0pd0000003A9tsAAC and http://dancesourcehouston.org/emergency-resources-for-artists/
DSH is also circulating a Google Doc for all dance organizations effected in and around HTX to personally note their damages and losses: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dNnZsAOYDe1CouscQKT3gb3oT-4pXLnFrIa-FFscSwg/edit#gid=0
One example, the non-profit multi-genre dance company Dance Houston had extensive damage to their property and database: https://dancehouston.secure.force.com/donate/…
This is specifically for effected students at my alma mater, TXST: https://donate.txstate.edu/crowdfunding?cfpage=project…
There should be one for every university in the state of TX–like University of Texas and multiple campuses of the University of Houston–if you search through their main sites: https://giving.uh.edu/clake/
Comprehensive HTX resource with info for volunteering, donating, and accessing aid, in English and Spanish: http://stationhouston.com/station-news/hurricane-harvey-houston-flood-emergency-resources/
Outside of Houston and Galveston: http://setxfoodbank.org/ and https://www.humanesocietyofsoutheasttexas.org/donate/
Stigma Relief Fund is designed specifically for women seeking abortion assistance following any Harvey loses to their income and insurance: http://www.shiftstigma.org/the-stigma-relief-fund/
Our libraries were effected too: https://www.houstonlibraryfoundation.org/giving/give-now/ and the Texas Library Association based in Austin will distribute accordingly: https://squareup.com/store/txla/
LGBTQ specific via the Montrose Center, a place I can personal vouch for that’s helped a lot of my friends: https://my.reason2race.com/…/HurricaneHarveyLGBTQDisast…
For the wildlife and nature reserves of all effected areas in TX: https://www.twrcwildlifecenter.org/online-donations/ and https://tpwd.texas.gov/business/donations/
I’ve been personally tied to Houston SPCA for a long time, I adopted my dog Red years ago from them: http://www.houstonspca.org/give/ and I also adopted my cat Kitsune from the League City SPCA which was directly effected but the floods: http://www.friendsofleaguecityanimalshelter.com/donate/
For all the countless herds of domestic horses displaced and effected by Harvey: https://www.usef.org/donate
General fund raisers for individual families/persons/schools/businesses on GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/hurricane-harvey and GlobalGiving: https://www.globalgiving.org/…/hurricane-harvey-relief…/