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Who is TMO

The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) is an organization of institutions dedicated to developing power and leadership among citizens in order to transform the city. We work to create relational power that can build and strengthen each member institution as well as shape public policy for the common good. TMO was formed in 1980 to give a voice to people who are usually excluded from major decisions that affect their lives. TMO is a part of a larger network of organizations known as the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a nationwide organizing institute with a fifty year history. TMO is also part of the West / Southwest IAF regional network and the Industrial Areas Foundation national network. TMO believes that a truly democratic society requires the active participation of ordinary citizens. When people lack the means to connect to power and participate effectively in public life, social relationships disintegrate. Our model of relational organizing helps build real community. It generates social capital through a tight web of relationships across lines of race, ethnicity, class, faith, and geography. This social capital enables us to participate fully in public life and to become more effective actors in our communities.


October 6, 2014

TMO Battles East End Crime & Feral Dogs

1410 - TMO - Assembly on Stray Dogs & Crime

Three hundred TMO leaders piled into Immaculate Conception Catholic Church to Make known to officials that students of De Zavala Elementary  deserve to be protected from the dangers posed by packs of stray dogs roaming the campus.  They explained that the issue emerged in ‘house meetings’ in which people gathered to share their concerns.

Leaders told stories about family members getting bitten by dogs on the streets, as well as stories about neighborhood crime. TMO convened the assembly to engage  City Councilmember Robert Gallegos and State Senator Sylvia Garcia on these issues.

Stray Dog Complaints on the Rise On East EndABC 13 News

Residents in the East End Come TogetherFOX 26 News


July 30, 2014

TMO Calls on President, Congress to Stop Speedy Deportations


1407-TMO-Houston-Chronicle-Bishop-Rinehart-on-Unaccompanied-Minors-300x234TMO clergy and bishops from major religious denominations in Houston held a press conference calling on the President and Congress to “welcome” unaccompanied children from Central America and guarantee protections afforded to them in the Trafficking Victims Act of 2008.  Religious leaders from Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, COGIC and Baptist denominations were vocal about the need to stop speedy deportations, given the violent conditions children are fleeing.  Nineteen local clergy signed a letter to the President, including former Catholic Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, Episcopal Bishops C. Andrew Doyle and Jeff Fisher, Lutheran Bishop Michael Rinehart, General Presbyter Mike Cole of the Presbytery of the New Covenant and Bishop Rufus Kyles Jr. of the Church of God in Christ.

Rev. John Ogletree, pastor of First Metropolitan Church, argued that “Houston is a hospitable …compassionate city. We demonstrated that when we opened our hearts and homes to those suffering from Hurricane Katrina.  We should do that again.”

[Photo Credit: Billy Smith II, Houston Chronicle]

Houston Religious Leaders Call for “Welcoming” Unaccompanied Central American ChildrenHouston Chronicle


June 19, 2014

TMO Leverages an ADDITIONAL $500K for Capital IDEA-Houston

Logo-CroppedLess than four weeks after Capital IDEA-Houston was awarded a $500K Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) grant to train more community college students for living wage careers, leaders of The Metropolitan Organization of Houston leveraged an additional $500 thousand in local money after testifying at City Hall.

The money will come from two sources of funding: $250 thousand from Community Development Block Grants and another $250 thousand from a City of Houston budget line-item, marking the first time Capital IDEA-Houston has been included in the City budget.

City Budget Increases After-School Spending, Gives Each District $1 Million for Projects, Houston Chronicle


May 23, 2014

TMO’s Capital Idea Praised by Texas Representatives Zerwas & Turner

 

1405 - TMO - Zerwas, Turner Support Capital IDEATMO leaders celebrated word that Capital IDEA-Houston won a Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) grant, giving it half a million dollars to train hundreds more community college students for living wage careers in Houston.  TMO, with its sister organizations in the Texas IAF, helped establish the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE) grant to support projects that prepare low-income workers to attain degrees and certificates in high demand occupations including nursing and information technology.

Texas State Representative John Zerwas (R-Richmond) praised Capital IDEA-Houston, declaring he “could not find a better use of $500K than to invest in Capital IDEA-Houston.”

Texas State Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) chimed in adding “we should continue to invest $5 Million in these [workforce development] projects.”

The award will support about 250 students attending Houston Community College and Lone Star College.  In an interview with NPR, Fr. Kevin Collins said the money will be used to prepare low-income students to enter careers in health care, information technology and manufacturing.  “The graduates are thrilled to be part of our program, and their families are really benefiting and they are really excited to move into great careers!”

Financial Aid to Help Low Income Students in Houston Prepare for Careers, NPR


April 2, 2014

Archbishop Fiorenza Praises Resurrection Catholic & TMO for Work on Schools

 

“Regarding “Board president spares 3 schools from closure” (Page B1, March 6), the decision of the Houston Independent School Board to keep Port Houston Elementary open was critically important to the surrounding community.

1403-TMO-Fr.-Christopher-CroppedThe closure of the school would not only force its children to attend a far distant school, but it also would have eliminated an institution which gives vitality, stability, a sense of confidence and well-being to the community.

I want to thank the HISD board for this decision and congratulate parishioners of Divina Providencia Church, its pastor, Father Chris Plant, the parents of the children, and Neighbors in Action for working with The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) to keep Port Houston open.

They have demonstrated Pope Francis’ exhortation for parishes to get involved in the community.

As Pope Francis stated: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.””

– By Joseph A. Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston

Works That Matter, Houston Chronicle [pdf]

Original Letter


April 1, 2014

Pressures Are Everywhere!

1404 - Mediating InstitutionsMany leaders have now been trained to do the pressures workshop and are scheduling sessions in their congregations. So far sessions are set at Chapelwood UMC, Memorial Drive UMC, Evangelist Temple COGIC, First Metropolitan, Grace UCC, Our Mother of Mercy Catholic, St. Francis Catholic and Trinity UMC. On May 4, leaders from all member congregations are asked to report who they have identified as new leaders and the top three pressures on families from that congregation. Leaders should invite new people identified in house meetings to this training and strategy meeting.


April 1, 2014

Alief Middle School Teachers & Leaders Walk for Power

1404 - School MeetingTMO leaders from Memorial Drive United Methodist Church joined teachers from Alief Middle School to talk with parents of 5th graders who will attend Alief Middle School. Pictured are the walkers and also the many parents who attended the orientation.

Varios líderes de Memorial Drive UMC junto con maestros de Alief Middle School visitaron con padres de hijos en el 5to grado que van a ir a Alief Middle School. Retratado son los caminantes y también los padres que fueron a la orientación.


March 13, 2014

Resurrection Catholic Church & TMO Stop Neighborhood School Closures!

1403 - Port Houston Children

When the Houston Independent School District Superintendent proposed the closure of five schools to cut costs, concerned parents noted that in at least one case students from a higher performing school would be re-directed to a struggling one.  Port Houston Elementary School parents, who happened to worship at Resurrection Catholic Church, quickly organized a challenge to the closures in partnership with TMO, which their church had just joined.

Concerned TMO leaders met with HISD board members, in addition to meeting with parents and educators, to figure out how to preserve these schools.  On Thursday, March 13th, over 100 leaders and parents descended upon the HISD board meeting and recognized board president Juliet Stipeche for removing Port Houston Elementary, Nathaniel Henderson Elementary and Fleming Middle School from the closure list.

In photo:  Father Christopher Plant, pastor at Resurrection Catholic Church, congratulates Port Houston parents and leaders for their turnout and presentation at the HISD school board meeting.


March 2014

Battling Human Trafficking

TMO is partnering with the American Jewish Committee and others to hold an immigration summit Tues. March 18 at Rice University. The summit will focus on immigration and human trafficking, and will feature Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

“Today, in this country, women and children continue to suffer from unspeakable violence because they are afraid to seek help without legal status. Globally, 78 percent of those trafficked suffer from forced labor, including domestic servitude, farm and factory work in the U.S. Immigrant survivors of abuse without legal status are, according to one study, half as likely to call the police to seek the help they need. We must act by passing immigration reform legislation.”


March 5, 2014

Pressures Are On!

Average Hourly WagesTMO has hosted trainings throughout Houston on “Pressures on Families.” So far, over 40 leaders are trained to give the workshop. Leaders are learning that one of the economic pressures on families is stagnating wages. A training session to learn how to host house meetings will be held on March 9, 2014 at All Saints Catholic Church at 3pm.


March 5, 2014

New Member Joins TMO!

ChurchNew Hope Missionary Baptist Church joined TMO in February of this year.  This new institution is located in Northeast Houston and led by Rev. Tracy Phillips.

Congratulations Doug Pierre!


February 16, 2014

Healthcare Marketplace Still Open for Business

1401 - Healthcare Enrollment Academy

TMO leaders are informing communities that there is still time to enroll in the healthcare marketplace with sessions at Evangelist Temple, Assumption and Liestman Elementary (Alief “ISD). The deadline to enroll is March 31. still time to enroll in the healthcare marketplace with sessions at Evangelist Temple, Assumption and Liestman Elementary (Alief “ISD). The deadline to enroll is March 31.

In photo, Assumption leaders Maribel Guevara, Lourdes Badillo and Nolvia Artiga host a large healthcare session in Spanish on Jan. 12.


January 31, 2014

Seminar with Rabbinical Scholar Dr. Eskenazi

1401 - Eskenazi & Bagby-Grose.jpg

Leaders of TMO joined representatives from sister organizations of the West / Southwest IAF for two days of study with rabbinical scholar Dr. Tamara Eskenazi.

[Burton Bagby-Grose, a TMO leader at First Congregational, is pictured with scholar and author Dr. Tamara Eskenazi in Las Vegas on Feb. 1.]

Clergy and leaders read and discussed Torah commentaries on Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.


January 10, 2014

Still Dreaming of Reform

The Houston Chronicle included the following in its editorial about immigration reform:

131023 - Houston Chronicle Pic - ImmigrationCardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, bottom right, speaks during a press conference at St Paul’s United Methodist Church urging the House of Representatives to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Houston. Individuals from The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) and members of an Interfaith coalition of Houston area religious leaders urged congress to keep families together, protect workers and “Dreamers,” and provide a workable path to citizenship. These faith leaders find the “Safe Act” bill unacceptable, as well as any legislation that addresses only border security. (Photo Credit: Cody Duty / Houston Chronicle)

Full ArticleHouston Chronicle


November 5, 2013

Healthcare Enrollment in Houston

1310-TMO-ACA-Civic-Academy-CoverTMO and the Houston Interfaith Sponsoring Committee recently graduated one hundred leaders from its healthcare bootcamps; all of which have committed to returning to their congregations and institutions to teach others about the federal healthcare marketplace. Congregations are also planning walks and neighborhood rallies to raise awareness.

For more information contact Lead Organizer Elizabeth Valdez: TMO@tmohouston.net.


November 5, 2013

King: Proposed Immigration Reforms Would Unfairly Brand Children as Criminals

Diana stood before the cameras and the microphones and in a quiet, nervous voice began to tell her story about coming to America. The 18-year-old, who will be graduating from high school this year as a member of the National Honor Society, spoke in perfect English. She spoke effusively about her love of Houston and Texas and America. If you were to meet her on the street, you would not have the slightest suspicion she had not been born in this country.

Full Article, Houston Chronicle


November 4, 2013

Houston Clergy Urge Lawmakers to Defeat Immigration Enforcement Plan

131023 - Houston Chronicle Pic - ImmigrationHouston clergy joined dozens of immigration reform supporters Wednesday to call for Congress to reject legislation that would permit tougher penalties and enforcement for an illegal presence in the United States.

At a news conference organized by The Metropolitan Organization, leaders also urged those who oppose the SAFE Act to contact their representatives in Congress and ask for comprehensive immigration reform…

Full Article, Houston Chronicle


April 23, 2013

Lideres de Iglesias Urgen Por Reforma Migratoria

1304 - La Semana - Conferencia de PrensaSacerdotes, ministros, pastores, obispos y rabinos de diferentes denominaciones religiosas de iglesias de esta ciudad lanzaron un llamado a Washington. Los religiosos piden una reforma migratoria integral que respete la dignidad y derechos de cada persona. Dirigentes de iglesias lanzaron su pedido este martes desde el altar de la Sinagoga Beth Israel de esta ciudad…

Full Article, La Semana de News


April 23, 2013

Business Leaders Join Clergy in Support of Immigration Reform

1304 - LV - EmpresarioStan Marek, of Marek Brothers Construction, stood alongside Texas judicatory leaders in support of immigration reform at a press conference organized by TMO. Marek asserted that if the legislature does not pass immigration reform this year, that President Obama should instate it through other administrative means, as was done with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. In photo, Stan Marek speaks out for immigration reform. [Photo Credit: Olivia P. Tallet]

Full Article, La Voz de Houston [Spanish]


April 23, 2013

Faith, Business Leaders Encouraged by Immigration Bill

1304 - TMO - Fr. Kevin & Gabriela NietoWhen Gabriela Nieto was brought to this country, she was young and already dreaming of becoming a teacher. Only one semester away from graduation from the University of Houston-Downtown, she can accept a teaching position, now that her DACA application has been approved.

Religious leaders gathered from across Houston, including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Rabbi David Lyon of Congregation Beth Israel said the highest priority should create a process for undocumented immigrants like her to earn legal status and eventual citizenship. [Photo Credit: Nick De La Torre, Houston Chronicle]

Full Article, Houston Chronicle

TMO Responds to Bi-Partisan Senate Immigration Bill, Texas Catholic Herald News

Clergy Urge Support for Immigration Reform, Jewish Herald Voice


February 20, 2013

Death, Taxes, God & Medicaid

Interfaith activists, recalling friends and loved ones who have died for want of health care coverage, rallied at the Capitol Wednesday in support of expanding the Medicaid program to cover more uninsured Texans…

Full Article, Houston Chronicle


February 20, 2013

Interfaith Groups Rally for Medicaid Expansion

1302 - TT - Medicaid Expansion RallyTwo hundred leaders from TMO and other organizations of the Texas IAF gathered on the front steps of the Capitol to demand that the Texas legislature approve the expansion of Medicaid, which would help over on million Texans obtain access to health care services.

[Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune]

Full Article, Texas Tribune