Houston Forward Times

21 May 2014 Written by  TaShon D. Thomas

We the People

Such a bold and audacious phrase as "We the People" has brought down empires and dictators. "We the People" has inspired many citizens to rise in protest of the actions of their government. Though for many "We the People" did not include them, as Congress Member Barbara Jordan once eloquently stated, "But through the process of amendment, interpretation, and court decision, [we] have finally been included in "We the People." Today more than ever, "We the People" is the mantra that makes our elected officials listen.

When the US Postal Service wanted to close the historic post office on Almeda, the people spoke out. This past week it was announced that that facility would remain open. When Houston ISD presented a list of five community schools that would close at the end of the year, the community spoke out. Through the outrage of the people, Houston ISD is scheduled to only close one of those schools. Though there are many more examples of the people standing in unison to make a change in the community, this past week has given me hope for a brighter future.

In what has to be the longest public session in our city’s history, citizens on both sides of the Equal Rights Ordinance, presented by Mayor Annise Parker, spoke their mind. Regardless of how bizarre and outlandish some of the comments were, the city truly heard from "We the People". No matter your position on this issue, we all must admit that the Mayor and City Council will never forget who actually controls the affairs of the city. Though the debate will continue for another week and possibly go to a ballot referendum, I am always proud to see people come together.

The only change I would make to this past week’s council meeting, would be the fact that the crowded council chamber was empty after the Equal Rights Ordinance was tagged. Imagine the impact "We the People" could have, if we really paid attention to every detail of our government. From the failed CSMART program to the city’s new initiative to integrate a unified software to be used by each city department, from the current budget expenses and revenues to the new proposed budget for 2015, "We the People" must be involved in every single aspect of government. Do not leave or turn away once the Equal Rights Ordinance debate is completed. Continue to come to council. Continue to question the motives of our elected officials. Continue to stand in support of what is right for the future of our city.

"We the People" have the power the change our city. "We the People" make our democracy work. "We the People" are the city. #ijs