Mayor Pro Tem and my colleagues on the Council, Manager Cronk, distinguished guests, and fellow Austinites:
Before I begin, I want to thank Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez of Mexico for introducing me this evening.
People don’t realize that how closely we are working together these days. It hasn’t always been so. Used to be we saw each other only at happy occasions, like at Casa Mexico during SXSW.
Times have changed, and so has our relationship. I want to tell you something that not many people know. When the immigration raids began earlier last year and Austin was made a particular target, we had no reliable access to information except what we got from my friend, the Consul General. At that moment, we found ourselves in common cause in service of this city — and all of its people.
That bond was strengthened when Hurricane Harvey looked like it was headed right at us. His government immediately offered shelter to any Texan who might need it.
You and your wife were in our local shelters tending to all our guests. Again and again, my friend, you demonstrate that you care about people – all people – yours, mine, and ours.
Consul General Gonzalez Gutierrez, you are my partner in some of the biggest challenges facing our two countries. Tonight, I pledge to you not only continued brotherhood and friendship, but continued vigilance in our efforts on immigration.
We want our neighbors in Austin to be safe regardless of who they are or where they came from. We know preserving trust makes us the safest big city in the state. We will not use fear to divide our community. Consul General, you can count on Austin.
So let’s begin… Now, more than ever, I value opportunities for us to take stock of a year’s progress and to measure ourselves against the needs of the future.
In these turbulent times, we must deliberately and seriously speak and act in a way true to who we are. Our city continues to face formidable challenges. We cannot pretend we don’t see them. We need to act and to plan for what the future will bring.
The question you should be asking is whether your Council has the will to seize the moment and to act on the scale of our challenges. The answer to that question, when you look back a year and look ahead a year, is “yes.”
Ten years from now… twenty years from now… a new generation of Austinites will ask us what we did, at this time of great risk, to preserve and protect the magic of Austin. This is our moment.
We must act with our eyes focused clearly on the future. Continue reading
Here’s how you can help:
- Front Steps provides emergency shelter, affordable housing, recuperative medical care, supportive services, and promotes community awareness.
- Salvation Army provides for basic needs, emergency shelter, emergency disaster services, rehabilitation, spiritual needs, and youth services without discrimination.
- Caritas of Austin aims to prevent and end homelessness for people in Greater Austin by providing housing, food, education, employment, resettlement for refugees, and Veterans Assistance.
- Austin ECHO provides dynamic, proactive leadership that engages policy makers and the community to end homelessness.
- Donate to Austin ECHO or the Rehousing Austin Fund.
- Casa Marianella provides emergency shelter, food, and full supportive services to immigrants experiencing homelessness.
- Foundation for Homeless Austin provides meals, limited medical services, family rehousing, and rapid rehousing services for people experiencing homelessness in Austin.
- Lifeworks provides housing, education, workforce development, and counselling to children and families experiencing homelessness.
- Green Doors provides affordable housing, supportive services, meals, and education to people experiencing homelessness.
- Central Texas Food Bank nourishes hungry people and leads the community in the fight against hunger.
- Keep Austin Fed provides nutritious meals to hungry Austinites.
- Meals on Wheels and More provides meals to home-bound Austinites.
- Austin Empty Bowl Project raises funds for Meals on Wheels and More and the Central Texas Food Bank while raising awareness for hunger in Austin.
- Austin Habitat for Humanity builds safe and stable homes for stronger communities in Austin.
- House the Homeless educates and advocates around the issues of ending and preventing homelessness.
- Mobile Loaves & Fishes provides meals, homes, and a community to people who are disabled and chronically homeless.
- Saint Louise House provides housing and essential services to women with children who are experiencing homelessness.
- Sustainable Food Center works to strengthen the local food system and improve access to nutritious, affordable food.
- Farmshare Austin increases food access, teaches new farmers and preserves farmland.