Strength, love, unity. Those three words define the ethos of my city – Houston. There has been so much destruction, loss, fatalities and everything else heartbreakingly devastating under the sun but the spirit of the city has remained as persevering as the people fighting through every inch of water.
Hurricane Harvey touched down in northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas as a category 4 hurricane and ripped through Rockport in just a matter of hours. What Houstonians didn’t anticipate were categorically catastrophic storms ripping through every inch of the 4th largest city in the US. We’ve had several major floods over the last 3 years and endured Tropical Storm Allison, that has haunted us for 16 years, but this was something we never experienced.
Late into Saturday evening, waters began to rise on the streets and within minutes, homes. Many reported rescue calls began increasing around 1am/2am. The water continued to rise, neighborhoods became lakes, and streets commonly traveled became rivers. Though the storm bore reminiscent to Allison, we all knew it was 100 times worse. Neighborhood after neighborhood, rescue call after rescue call – the pot began to boil over. Homes were evacuated and destroyed, families separated, people were literally lost in the rising waters within their homes and on the streets trying to escape…but we witnessed the resilience of our first responders and civilians risking their lives to come the aide of others.
The news of Harvey has broken the hearts of those living in Texas and all over America but the people of Houston were built to take on giants.
Houstonians are united and volunteering their services. People have opened their hearts, homes, and wallets – all while in the midst of the storm. Keep in mind, we’re in day 3 of a 5 day tropical storm. I’ve witnessed social media act as a tool to report people in need of rescue and resources. I’ve seen messages of love and support. So yes…Houston is greater than Harvey. Houston has proven to be greater than the politics, religions, races, and financial classes that have separated the country. Houston is the America our country strives to be.
I live in a small apartment compound in a neighborhood called The Heights…
Streets surrounding me are flooded, bayous surrounding me are flooded. My family is not here but I feel loved and safe just if they were. The anxiety of rising waters kicked in last night after nearly 24 hours of no sleep and I reached out to my landlord who told me I was welcome to “hunker-down” with him and his family next door. My other neighbors texted with me throughout the day and made plans for any emergency situations that might arise. I knew that even though I was afraid, I was blessed to be in an environment where neighbors took care of neighbors. I imagine it’s what my parents and grandparents grew up with, knowing their neighbors. And the crazy-amazing thing is that this little family of misfits is made up of incredibly unique and extremely different people. We vary in race, age, financial disposition, and likely religious practice but we are united by our humanity. We’re neighbors.
I know I get a little crazy and sometimes have all the jokes on Facebook but I truly love people. That frame of mind came from my family and the city I call home – Houston, Texas. At the core we are good. Food, music, and culture unite us. We’re brave and bold. We’re creative and athletic. We want the best. We work for the best and for that reason, Houstonians, I love you. You’re an amazing people. This storm is another challenge that we will overcome. While some of us might not fully embody the the true spirit of Houston, there are so many of use that continue push this city forward. We are a world class example of what Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, Africans, Indians, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, LGBTQ, Cowboys, and other randoms can do unified under the fight to preserve life.
Houstonians, we gon’ be alright and remember, Houston > Harvey. <3