Houston Area Urban League Launches Center for Social Justice & Education to Empower Communities Across the Metropolitan Area

Industry: Non Profit & Charity

With support from corporate sponsors PNC Foundation, H-E-B and others, the Center will provide legal knowledge, resources, and guidance for advocating effectively.

Houston, TX (PRUnderground) May 27th, 2021

The Houston Area Urban League (HAUL) has launched the Center for Social Justice and Education with support from sponsors, including PNC Foundation, H-E-B and, Cadence Bank. This new initiative aims to empower communities across Houston through the power of education, collaboration, and awareness, as well as provide the resources to those seeking answers regarding their civil rights. Through the new center, HAUL will empower and advocate for those who think they are being left behind. The Center for Social Justice and Education is committed to providing a new source of hope and new resources available for those seeking justice.

The center is designed to help those who believe they are misunderstood, while showing them how to advocate for change effectively. Members of the community will be able to seek assistance through the center, and ultimately will be provided with solutions and resources during difficult circumstances that require legal expertise and counsel concerning their civil rights.

“I congratulate the Houston Area Urban League on the launch of its Center for Social Justice and Education. Our community, and the rest of the country, must address racial inequities, providing justice–related civic engagement education, and civil rights navigation,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The launch of the center comes following a historic conviction in the murder of George Floyd, a Minnesota and Houston native who was killed by a former police officer, who was later found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

“We have to be more aggressive as it relates to how we respond from an advocacy standpoint,” said Judson Robinson III, President and CEO of the Houston Area Urban League. How do we make sure that our legislators know how we feel about an issue? How are we ensuring that our young people understand what their rights are, if they encounter a police officer? That our adults understand, how do we reduce the bias that exists in the workforce today? What do we need to do to move forward to be proactive and make sure that we don’t repeat the practices of the past.”

“The Urban League is known for being a movement. We moved where the problems are. George Floyd’s death helped us to realize that more has to be done, and so about a year and a half ago, we began to take more aggressive steps in the area of advocacy,” he added.

Eric Goodie, Vice President of the Houston Area Urban League, also echoed how the Center for Social Justice and Education was realized, in part by the major unrest that followed George Floyd’s murder.

“It is critically important that we acknowledge and identify how we have arrived at this point. Certainly, the untimely demise of brother George Floyd was a litmus test for the global community. The civil and social unrest that occurred here locally and throughout our nation and throughout the world, was representative of how people were feeling based on the deficits that continue to exist in underserved communities,” said Eric.

The center’s launch also comes at a time where across the nation, government representatives have introduced legislation that could restrict voting rights. In 43 states, including here in Texas, legislators proposed at least 250 laws that could eventually prevent millions of Americans from having access to the ballot, according to Washington Post reporting.

The Center for Social Justice and Education will work tirelessly to address racial inequalities that affect our most vulnerable in the Houston area. Through civic engagement education and civil rights education, HAUL will empower individuals with the resources they need to combat the injustices they have faced, including advocates and legal guidance in some cases.

“We have so much more work to do and we need more people to help us move it forward and so we have to make sure we are training the community, giving them those tools and resources so that we can fight together and have a much larger force to make sure that we do have change,” said Ray Shackelford, consultant for the Center for Social Justice and Education.

“In the year to come, you’ll see us connecting with a minimum of a 1,000 people through the center looking to train at least 100 different advocates and even beyond that making sure that at least 75 individuals walk away with some type of skills, education, and resources, that they can use to implement and create change,” Ray added.

The center’s topics will address civil rights violations, fair housing violations, policing, and various forms of discrimination, including employment. The center also will provide workshops to educate businesses and equip them to address racial inequities within the workplace.

This work was supported by several corporate and community sponsors in the Houston metropolitan area, which will assist the center in creating a more effective impact in communities throughout the area. The PNC Foundation is the center’s Momentum sponsor.

“Each of us has a role to play in combating systemic racism and discrimination,” said Julie Sudduth, PNC Regional President in Houston. “As PNC continues to expand our presence in Houston and across Texas, we remain committed to driving real change in the areas in which we can make the greatest impact. The Center for Social Justice and Education will be a critical resource to promote empowerment and justice in our community, and we are proud to support it.”

“Cadence Bank strives to make a lasting, positive impact on the communities we serve, and we firmly believe that the HAUL Center for Social Justice and Education will be instrumental in effecting meaningful change through education and action. We are honored to be a part of this positive progress toward equality,” said Myra Caldwell, Chief Diversity Officer at Cadence Bank.

Sponsors include PNC Foundation, H-E-B, Cadence Bank, Sempra Energy, Jack Moore & Anamaria Nino-Murcia, Arca Continental Coca-Cola, NRG, Calvin & Debra Guidry, Medidata Solutions, Inc., Marathon, United Airlines, and The Wendy’s Foundation. To learn more about the Center for Social Justice and Education and other initiatives, visit https://www.haul.org/.

About Houston Area Urban League

The Houston Area Urban League, founded in 1968, is a United Way agency affiliated with the National Urban League whose mission is to help African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self-reliance, parity, and civil rights. As a voice for poor and disadvantaged people of all races, the Houston Area Urban League has a long and distinguished record as an agency that offers tangible, lasting benefits to all members of the community without regard to age, sex, race, physical limitations, or ethnic background.

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