Hurricane Harvey Disaster Recovery Guides

Image Credit Lafayette, TN, February 8, 2008. George Armstrong/FEMA Photo Library

Image Credit Lafayette, TN, February 8, 2008. George Armstrong/FEMA Photo Library

Since Hurricane Harvey, we have been working alongside our partners and residents of communities affected by the storm. Building off our work to empower community members with the knowledge to drive the future of their communities through projects like the Land Use Colonia Housing Action (LUCHA) and the Disaster Recovery Leadership Development program in partnership with the Texas Organizing Project, [bc] will produce a series of graphic Disaster Recovery Guides to aid residents of Harris, Aransas, Refugio, and Nueces Counties in accessing disaster recovery resources to aid them and their families in their recovery, in conjunction with the disbursement of federal funding allocated to these four counties. This project is supported by a generous grant from the American Red Cross.

We look forward to providing further updates on our progress to engage diverse community members throughout this process and to sharing the Disaster Recovery Guides, which will be available in 5 languages, via our website.

To learn more about how you or your organization can get involved with this project, please contact us at inform@bcworkshop.org

Funding for this project provided by:

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Harold Simmons Park Public Workshops

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[bc] is serving as a consultant to the Trinity Park Conservancy, bringing our skill set in public interest design to engage Dallas' communities around the future of Harold Simmons Park, 200 acres along the Trinity River. Engagement efforts will focus on discovering how Dallas residents currently use parks and public space while encouraging them to re-imagine what this area could be. This understanding will inform the design of the 200 acre Harold Simmons Park.

Join us as we support the Trinity Park Conservancy in envisioning the future of the Harold Simmons Park as a public space that connects Dallas residents to each other and nature. Starting September 15th, the Conservancy will host 10 public workshops across the city to reimagine our river. For more about Harold Simmons Park, click here. Click here to RSVP to the upcoming workshops.

buildingcommunityHEROES 4th Edition Released

[bc] is excited to share our 4th edition of buildingcommunityHEROES ([bc]HEROES) trading cards. This edition celebrates individuals across Dallas who are making strides in the areas of education, food access, community organizing, arts, bicycle advocacy, and community development. With a fresh new design, these cards are a fun way to learn about and celebrate local Dallas heroes.

Our 4th Edition Heroes include: Lucy Phelps Patterson, Daron Babcock, Kay Thompson, William Sidney Pittman, Yvonne Ewell, Taylor Toynes, Clarice Criss, Cora Cardona, Onjaleke Brown, Joli Robinson, Ronnie Mestas, Lily Weiss, Ben Leal, and Ashly Fields.

[bc]HEROES launched in 2014 in commemoration of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. Dr. King challenged us to build a more perfect union and taught us that everyone has a role to play. [bc] honors that incredible legacy of service by recognizing local trailblazers, advocates, organizers, and leaders, who serve our communities.

Check out more at buildingcommunityheroes.org, read HERO bios, nominate your HERO for future trading cards, and explore our HEROES’ causes. If you would like your own pack of [bc]HEROES trading cards please contact give us a call or swing by the Dallas Office. Supplies are limited.

2018 State of Dallas Housing Report

Read the full report here!

Learn more about bcANALYTICS  and check out the 2016 and 2017 State of Dallas Housing Reports!

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We are excited to release the third annual State of Dallas Housing report, the latest in our series of data-driven analytics reports that examine the issue of housing affordability within Dallas and present opportunities for equitable housing development.

The maps and graphics included in the report illustrate longitudinal trends in housing production and new residential construction, as well as growth in population, jobs, and income, across Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. The report looks at median incomes by racial and ethnic group and by industry of employment in relation to average housing costs by Census tract.

The bcANALYTICS team interviewed 10 housing experts in Dallas to determine priority areas where additional research was needed. The need to better understand Dallas’s housing market within the context of the four-county region (Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant) emerged as a top priority. The report examines key data that demonstrates how Dallas’s housing market is not producing enough affordable housing to meet the needs of its socioeconomically diverse population. With costs of housing on the rise, the housing products on the Dallas market—and the regional market—are increasingly out of reach for many. Moving to surrounding communities does not, according to the study, provide a viable option for finding more affordable housing.

With the City of Dallas adopting a new Comprehensive Housing Policy, Dallas’s residents and stakeholders will need additional metrics and context to understand the issue of housing affordability at the city-wide scale. This new report aims to equip our city with the knowledge to be informed advocates for their communities’ interests.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

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In 2017 North Texas continued to be one of the fastest growing regions in the United States, and one of the top housing markets in the United States. As the City of Dallas’ prepares to implement its recently passed housing policy, aimed at increasing the production of housing units across the city, it is important to understand housing production at a larger scale to pinpoint where new housing units or typologies may be needed at this critical juncture. The 2018 State of Dallas Housing Report explores current housing trends in the City of Dallas and socioeconomic trends across the four most populous counties of North Texas (Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant) to help contextualize housing production and identify potential challenges and opportunities for improving access to housing for residents of Dallas and North Texas. 

The region’s rise in population, new housing, employment, and income exemplifies the uneven nature of development and economic growth across North Texas. Growth in the region is concentrated in specific cities and neighborhoods, while other areas have experienced less measurable change in recent years. Housing production has followed this growth in parts of the region. However, housing production in the city of Dallas has been heavily concentrated in just a few of the Dallas’ nearly 400 neighborhoods despite more widespread growth across Dallas.

This report helps quantify these trends in Dallas’ housing production from 2011 to 2017, contrasting them with socioeconomic changes and housing production across North Texas. Is Dallas’ goal of increasing the production of housing feasible, inclusive, and able to address the needs of all Dallas residents? Central to this report is the focus of housing accessibility and affordability for different income and population groups in Dallas, based on the ratio of housing values to median income. Has new housing production across North Texas provided opportunities for Dallas’ median income households to access housing in surrounding communities? This report suggests the answer is no. 

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As more of Dallas’ housing production is focused on higher-valued homes, largely in the city’s northern sector, new housing built in North Texas from 2011 to 2016 was largely concentrated in areas that are the least affordable to Dallas’ median income households of color. As the City weighs a new housing policy to stimulate housing production in Dallas it is important to understand both the history of recent housing production in Dallas and the connection between housing production and Dallas’ existing residents. 

This report finds that despite large numbers of new housing units built across the region, many Dallas households are only able to easily afford housing in certain parts of North Texas, primarily in Census tracts that are heavily segregated with high poverty and further removed from much of the economic growth in North Texas. Additionally, some of the fastest growing industries in North Texas tend to pay lower wages that create an additional barrier to accessing affordable housing in proximity to jobs and other amenities based. The lack of production of affordable rental units only further enforces the challenge of Dallas’ minority and low income residents from accessing quality affordable housing at the expense of providing luxury housing for more affluent new residents moving to neighborhoods close to Downtown Dallas. 

Smart Growth for Dallas Technical Advisory Team

Learn more about our Smart Growth for Dallas related work!

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Smart Growth for Dallas is launching a Technical Advisory Team! As the next phase of a partnership with the Trust for Public Land and the Texas Trees Foundation, we're working to refine a data-driven decision support tool, which will help Dallas and its residents identify opportunities for parks, green infrastructure, and other green investments in areas where it will have significant impact. The information gathered through prior community engagement meetings has informed and will continue to drive the development of this tool. We'll be communicating with stakeholders across the city to get additional input.

As members of the Technical Advisory Team, stakeholders will provide insight as to how this tool can help achieve goals across various sectors, how their data can be incorporated, and specific use cases for the tool. The partnership will be convening a series of webinars through Summer 2018 in alignment with the five planning objectives: Connect, Cool, Health, Equity, and Absorb/Protect.

If you think the tool could be useful to you or your organization, please get in touch with us via email!

[bc], Trust for Public Land, and Dallas Park and Recreation Director Willis Winters were recently featured in an NBC DFW segment. Trust for Public Land North Texas Area Director Robert Kent stated, "Our objective in Smart Growth for Dallas is to provide a best in class data tool, to help the city understand specific areas where we can make investments in green assets, whether it's things like rain gardens or more trees or buying more land for parks, that will have a big impact on social, economic and environmental challenges." 

Stay tuned for further updates!

Dallas Cultural Plan Public Engagement

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As a partner in the team with Lord Cultural Resources, HR&A Advisors, and Idyllic Interactive[bc] is working to engage Dallas's residents for the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs' Dallas Cultural Plan 2018. Through a year-long process, the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) seeks to gather community input on how residents experience culture in their daily lives and how the city can continue to stay arts-friendly. 

The public engagement process for the Dallas Cultural Plan kicked off with a series of four events this September. At the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Children's Theatre, Walnut Hill Recreation Center, and Southwest Center Mall, attendees participated in a series of activities which included realtime digital mapping, drawing stories of cultural experiences, and building ideal cultural communities. 

Through October and November, Community Conversations at South Dallas Cultural Center, Oak Cliff Cultural Center, Fretz Park Recreation Center, Bath House Cultural Center, Pleasant Grove Branch Library, West Dallas Multipurpose Center, and Moody Performance Hall provided forums for residents to share their visions for arts in their neighborhoods.

The Community Conversations will engage residents of all 14 districts within the City of Dallas. The series resumed for the new year at the Grauwyler Park Branch Library on January 11, 2018. In January/February 2018, we'll continue engaging residents through Community Conversations at:

This phase of outreach also includes a series of discussions focused on specific art mediums, cultural institutions, and practicing artists. Upcoming opportunities include:

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Don't miss your chance to share your thoughts, hopes, and dreams for Dallas's cultural future through this once-in-a-decade opportunity. Be on the lookout for future events on the Dallas Cultural Plan event calendar

Even if you can't make it to an event, there are other ways that you can get involved! Take the Dallas Cultural Plan Survey to help us understand the diversity of arts and cultural activity occurring across Dallas and in your neighborhood.

You can also contribute to Dallas’ Arts & Culture Ecosystem Map by entering locations where you go to to create, experience, or learn about arts and culture in Dallas here—please enter only one location at a time, but you can submit as many responses as you'd like.

The Neighborhood Toolkit can be used to facilitate a conversation with friends, neighbors or co-workers on your own time. Email engage@dallasculturalplan.com to tell us about the date, time and location of your meeting!

Check out photos from Dallas Cultural Plan activities that have taken place thus far in the gallery below!

Growing Dallas’ Housing Options through Accessory Dwelling Units

What’s an accessory dwelling unit? How does it grow housing options in Dallas? Learn about Dallas’ affordable housing challenges, and how accessory dwelling units can be a great first step in addressing them.

In [bc]’s State of Dallas Housing Report - 2017, we recommended amending current regulations on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as a strategy for expanding access to housing. “Promoting Housing Choice and Affordability: Exploring Accessory Dwelling Units” offers an overview of ADUs, and why they are a great tool in addressing Dallas’ housing affordability challenges.

After you read this, make sure you check out Opportunity Dallas’ third installment of their “To the Point” series: How "Granny Flats" Can Help Solve Dallas' Housing Affordability Woes.

 

ACD40 Conference Report

Learn more about the Association for Community Design and #ACD40!

Thank you to everyone who attended the Association for Community Design annual conference in June. ACD40’s theme, CommUNITY, sought to ignite conversations about the different models of practice that the field of community-engaged design uses to operate successfully. We envisioned a conference that would connect people from across the country who are working in and around public interest practices.

You can read our ACD40 Conference Report here. It contains a recap of the schedule, speakers, and sessions. It also includes results to the ACD40 Post-Conference Survey, the ACD 2017 Questionnaire, the Fellowship Survey, the Gender Equity Survey, and the Community Design Survey.

A big thank you to all of our funders, partners and supporters that made this conference possible: 

Funders - Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. & Surdna Foundation

Supporters - UT Arlington, College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs, Mallory Baches, Jessica Blanch, Thor Erickson, Gilad Meron, Nikia Hill, Theresa Hwang, Mark Matel, Kevin Singh, Edward Orlowski, Stephen Goldsmith, & Alex Salazar

Venues - AIA Dallas / Dallas Center for Architecture, CallisonRTKL, Dallas Public Library, HKS, & Thanksgiving Square

Promotional Partners - AIA Austin, AIA Dallas / Dallas Center for Architecture, APA North Texas Chapter, LRGV AIA, SMU Design Council, & USGBC Texas

Volunteers - Bi’Anncha Andrews, Farida Rafique, Hannah Plate, Shani Dixon, Victoria Brown, [bc] Staff & Fellows, & Neighborhood Design Center

Smart Growth for Dallas at Earth Day Texas

Learn more about Smart Growth for Dallas!

Join us for one of six “Neighborhood Priorities for Parks: Smart Growth for Dallas Focus Groups” at Earth Day Texas.

Find us at booths 1910 and 2005 in the Automobile Building, where we will discuss the physical, social, environmental, and economic factors that influence the ease and barriers to access and experience of Dallas’ parks and open space. The outcomes of these focus groups will directly influence the development of the Smart Growth for Dallas “decision support” tool that will help Dallas prioritize its investments in parks based on their economic, social, and ecological benefits. Results of the program will be available to city staff, non-profit partners, and the public through an interactive website.

For more information visit smartgrowthfordallas.com

Building Equity in the Lower Rio Grande Valley

See more posts about LUCHA and our work in the Rio Grande Valley

Building equity in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is a critical part of many of our projects. Together with our partners we are working to increase housing opportunities for low-income residents and to build adequate drainage infrastructure for new and existing neighborhoods, civic engagement, and capacity through design. We invite you to learn more about four of our specific projects: sustainABLEhouse, Drainage Equity, LUCHA, and Public Design Impact Initiative, all of which are working hard to achieve these goals. 

Announcing RAPIDORECOVERY.org

Learn more about RAPIDO and visit RAPIDORECOVERY.org!

buildingcommunityWORKSHOP ([bc]) is pleased to announce the launch of RAPDIORECOVERY.org in conjunction with our presentation of RAPIDO on Next City's World Stage at UN Habitat III in Quito. RAPIDO is a holistic approach to housing recovery that enables communities to recover for disasters within months instead of years. Through understanding and redesigning the entire U.S. disaster recovery housing process, alongside people who are affected the most, RAPIDO fosters resilience within Texas, empowers local communities, and abates the social and economic impacts of disaster.

RAPIDORECOVERY.org makes it easy to learn more about the RAPIDO model, view work from the RAPIDO Rapid Disaster Recovery Housing Pilot Program, and keep up to date with RAPIDO advocacy efforts in Texas.

Smart Growth for Dallas Community Engagement Kick-off

Learn more about Smart Growth for Dallas.

Join us on Thursday, November 10th, at Dallas Heritage Village to kick off the community engagement events for Phase II of Smart Growth for Dallas, a new initiative to help Dallas protect its most important natural places and create a city of great public spaces. Sign-in begins at 5:30pm, presentation and activities will be 6:00-7:30pm.

During this event we will present work done to date, provide an opportunity to ask questions about the project and data gathered, provide details on the 7 community engagement meetings that will be held over the next two months, and record stories about Dallasites’ favorite parks. We hope you’ll join us for this exciting event on November 10th.

RSVP for the event here

For more information about the project, read our web-post about Smart Growth for Dallas.

Smart Growth for Dallas is a partnership with The Trust for Public Land, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, The Dallas Park and Recreation Department, and The Texas Trees Foundation. Combining Geographic Information System computer modeling and on-the-ground engagement with residents and park users, Smart Growth for Dallas will create an interactive “decision support tool” to help Dallas prioritize its investments in parks based on their economic, social, and ecological benefits. Results of the program will be available to city staff, non-profit partners and the public through an interactive website.

Smart Growth for Dallas Phase II

Today the Trust for Public Land, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, and The Texas Trees Foundation presented the initial results of our Smart Growth for Dallas partnership to the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Board. The innovative program uses computer modeling and community engagement to identify areas where parks can grow the local economy, connect communities, improve public health, and protect the city’s most important natural places.

“Considering the environmental, social, and economic challenges we face as a city, the need for parks in Dallas has never been greater,” said Willis Winters, Director of the Dallas Park and Recreation Department. “Thanks to The Trust for Public Land’s science-based approach, Smart Growth for Dallas is helping build a strategic roadmap for protecting our city’s most important natural places.”

Using sophisticated Geographic Information System (GIS) computer modeling, the Smart Growth for Dallas program has created a series of maps that depict areas of Dallas where parks can cool neighborhoods during summertime heat waves, protect homes from floods, improve the health of nearby residents, build equity in underserved neighborhoods, and connect communities to each other. Through analysis of the data, Smart Growth for Dallas has identified dozens of potential locations across the city for building new parks that can provide these benefits.

“From flood protection to connectivity to health, parks provide a multitude of benefits that directly address Dallas’s biggest economic, social, and environmental challenges. Our mapping and data tools are helping Dallas build smarter parks that realize as many of these benefits as possible,” said Robert Kent, North Texas area director for The Trust for Public Land. “Parks are more than just a nice place to spend a sunny Saturday—they are critical for building a city that is resilient to the challenges of the 21st century.”

The results presented at Thursday’s meeting are the first phase of a two-year effort to develop a new set of strategies to guide future investments in parks, open space, and green infrastructure for Dallas. On Nov. 10, we're launching a series of eight community engagement sessions to hear from Dallas residents about what they want from the city’s park system. The sessions will be held throughout the city.

“Decisions about our parks and open space are so much stronger when they are informed by community members,” says Brent Brown, Founding Director of bcWORKSHOP. “Our community engagement sessions are essential to getting that feedback.”

Over the coming months, the program will expand to include additional data, including results from a landmark new study of the urban heat island effect in Dallas being conducted by The Texas Trees Foundation. “Understanding the relationship between tree canopy, open space, and the urban heat island effect is crucial for building resilience in Dallas,” says Matt Grubisich of the Texas Trees Foundation. “The data we generate in the next six months will provide valuable guidance to the city for how to combat the urban island effect in the neighborhoods where it’s needed most.”

Once complete in 2018, Smart Growth for Dallas will represent the largest and most comprehensive data analysis of the city’s park system every conducted. Results from the program will be available to city staff, public officials, non-profit partners, neighborhood associations, and Dallas residents through an interactive website. The website will feature maps, data visualizations, and storytelling about the important role parks play in building a city that is resilient to the challenges of the 21st century.

In advance of the November 10th launch of the community engagement sessions, the public is encouraged to take an online survey about Dallas’s parks system and signup for the Smart Growth for Dallas email list to receive project updates or visit www.SmartGrowthForDallas.org.

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.

Texas Trees Foundation is a private nonprofit dedicated to creating healthy communities by protecting and enhancing the urban forest while investing in people. Established in 1982, the Mission of the Texas Trees Foundation is (i) to preserve, beautify and expand parks and other public natural green spaces, and (ii) to beautify our public streets, boulevards and rights-of-way by planting trees and encouraging others to do the same through educational programs that focus on the importance of building and protecting the “urban forest” today as a legacy for generations to come. www.texastrees.org

LUCHA 2.0

Learn more about LUCHA

A Lucha trained leader engages a local neighborhood around Colonia issues. 

A Lucha trained leader engages a local neighborhood around Colonia issues. 

Once LUCHA 1.0 wrapped up, we along with our project partners, LUCHA representantes, and community leaders got together to review the successes and weaknesses of our first year. One key issue that arose was the small number of residents LUCHA was available to. With that feedback LUCHA 2.0 was developed. To better expand the reach of LUCHA, each project partner built on their strength and created an independent but complementary program. Here at [bc] we working on creating the LUCHA Platform, while our partners LUPE and ARISE are crafting a Leadership Development Program, and TxLIHIS has begun a Platicas Series.

The LUCHA Platform hopes to build power among residents and organizing groups through increasing access to information that residents and community organizations can use to better advocate for their communities.

The Platform will be a digital library of, downloadable and printable, community education resources covering the initial topic areas of governance, drainage, housing, public services, and planning & development. The community educational resources will be a combination of originally created content and existing educational materials. 

On July 26th, 2016 LUCHA community leaders facilitated the Governance Module as part of LUPE's Leadership Development Program in an  interactive session . We look forward to see how these potential leaders use the LUCHA platform and activate their communities!

On July 26th, 2016 LUCHA community leaders facilitated the Governance Module as part of LUPE's Leadership Development Program in an interactive session. We look forward to see how these potential leaders use the LUCHA platform and activate their communities!

Depending on the needs of the organization, a colonia, an organizer, or organizing campaign one can pick and choose the resources that are best for engaging their community. Over time, we plan to fill the Platform with much more than the initial 15 originally created educational resources, and build relationships with local, regional and state organizations to support long term resource development.

 

Launch of Your Vote, Tu Futuro Video Series

We're incredibly excited to announce the launch of the Your Vote, Tu Futuro video series!

For decades, voter turnout of the Latino community has lagged behind the rest of the Texas population. Your Vote, Tu Futuro was born from a desire to walk potential voters through the voting process. This web-video series will cover the importance of voting, a basic overview of government and party structures, where to find candidate information, Texas’ voter-ID law, and the methods the voter can utilize to ultimately cast their ballot.

This installment will be 8 episodes long, with new episodes being released each week starting this July. Episodes will can be found on YouTube and on the project website below. Additionally, supplemental resources may be hosted on the website.

Episode 1 of the Your Vote, Tu Futuro series covers the importance of being a voter, addresses so misconceptions and/or fears about voting, and looks at the incredible opportunity we have to affect change in our country, state, and city.

Follow the series' website and YouTube channel for more videos in the coming weeks!

LUCHA 1.0

Learn more about LUCHA

During its first phase, LUCHA worked directly with 15 colonia representatives, each of whom represent a larger organizing effort in Hidalgo and Cameron county. The goal of LUCHA 1.0 was trifold. To develop representantes’ understanding and expertise in the areas of land use, public infrastructure, development, and water issues. To engage representantes to further focus their top priorities, and begin to make selections of preferences on possible solutions. And to craft policy and legislative initiatives in preparation for the 2015 Texas legislative session.
Some examples of the Colonia and Housing issues that LUCHA leaders addressed were: housing affordability, adequate infrastructure, jobs, public safety, and land use.
The initiative has the capacity, through legislative action, to impact the 1.2 million people living in the three county area, Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy. The demographic targets of the project are low-income residents of rural and urban subdivisions that lack complete, well-functioning municipal services.

Partners

Community Development Corporation of Brownsville
The Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB)  is a non‐profit community housing development organization, who has been providing safe, sanitary, affordable housing to the citizens of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas for the past 38 years. CDCB participated in LUCHA workgroups, the engagement and management committees and was responsible of overseeing all housing and development initiatives.  

Texas Low Income Housing Services
Texas Low Income Housing Information Services (TxLIHIS) is a nonprofit corporation established in Austin in 1988 to support low-income Texan's efforts to achieve the American dream of a decent, affordable home in a quality neighborhood. TxLIHIS lead and coordinated the Representantes trainings, planned with [bc] the LUCHA workgroups and was responsible of overseeing policy development initiatives. TxLIHIS assisted the Representantes with their political strategy as well. 

La Unión del Pueblo Entero
César Chávez established La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), a non-profit organization, which is rooted in the belief that members of the low-income community have both the responsibility and the obligation to organize themselves, and through their association, to advocate for solutions to the issues that impact their lives. LUPE was responsible of identifying, recruiting and supporting Colonia representantes and of developing the political and engagement strategy for LUCHA. Working with TxLIHIS, LUPE lead and coordinated the representante trainings, and engagement and management committee meetings and assisted with the workgroups. 

A Resource In Serving Equality  
A Resource In Serving Equality Arise (ARISE) was founded in 1987 by Sister Gerrie Naughton, of the Sisters of Mercy order as a grassroots organization of women for women; building on strengths and respecting the dignity of each individual. In coordination with LUPE and other community organizations (START and TOP), ARISE was responsible of identifying, recruiting and supporting Colonia representantes, supporting colonia-wide events, the political strategy and leadership trainings, workgroups and workshops.