Today in Houston, elected, faith, civic and nonprofit leaders, led by Mayor Turner, gathered at Baker Ripley to tell all residents of our city that they are still welcome in Houston. It was necessary.
Children are not coming to school. Parents are calling hot lines with questions about “immediate deportations”. People proudly seeking citizenship now feel threatened. Workers look at their bosses and wonder if the person they trusted now wants them gone. Money saved for college becomes “uncertainty money” the fund a family might need if their son or daughter is deported.
Fear is not a good fuel. It burns poorly as motivation and undermines our most wholesome aspirations. The number one job of leadership is to lower fear levels so people can work together. So we can move forward together. Across the country, metro leaders have stepped to the microphone and said “We will remain a welcoming city. We are not seeking to expel our residents. We want you here.” And today we did the same in Houston.
Welcoming newcomers is a Houston “main course”. We serve it with a lot of side dishes but welcoming is the specialty of the house. And Houston is not a federal franchise. We are not a “chain city”, serving up the main office menu. The streak of independence that runs through this city, the streak of independence that makes us Texans, was in evidence today. Can’t dictate hate. Can’t make us stingy sour creatures.
What makes Houston a great city is not who’s here — it’s who’s welcome here. You’re welcome.