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Northside’s Block Captains pass the Test for HISD support

May 11, 2017 | By northside

The Near Northside Block Captains began as a call to action for residents who wanted to share more information with their neighbors and begin to engage residents in community action projects. The drive to create this network stemmed from the tragic murder of 11-year old Marshall Middle School student, Josue Flores, who was murdered as he walked home from school. The need for an organization to work at the grassroots level that would continue to build community connections was essential at combating high crime in the area and bringing attention to the community’s needs. The Block Captains want residents to realize that they are already fulfilling the duties of a Block Captain and encourage residents to join their efforts.

One of the Near Northside Block Captains’ major projects for 2017 has been the expansion of the Civility Ordinance, originally in place in the Historic Near Northside. The Civility Ordinance would make it illegal for individuals to sleep, lie, or set up camp in public spaces. The ordinance, the Block Captains believe, would help create a safer environment for students that walk to and from school. This expansion would include the areas around four local schools where safety strategies are needed the most. If the newly proposed expansion of the Civility Ordinance was approved, it would protect students at Ketelsen Elementary, Sherman Elementary, Marshall Middle School and Northside High, formally known as Davis High School.

In order to pass the Civility Ordinance expansion, the Block Captains had to obtain 20% approval from homeowners and residents in the area by block walking and sharing information at civic clubs for several weeks. Because the area included the majority of HISD properties, the Block Captains decided to take a bold step and request the approval from the HISD board.

On April 13th, members of the Block Captains, Susan Graham and Cynthia Reyes-Revilla, Safe Walk Home and principals from Ketelsen Elementary School and Northside High, testified in front of the HISD board on the need for the Civility Ordinance expansion in the area as a tool that could be used to protect our children and ensure their safety.  Their strong testimony garnered the support from 6 of the 9 HISD Trustees and provided them with the approval the Block Captains had worked so hard for, proving that local residents who ban together can positively impact their neighborhood.

Currently, the Block Captains have roughly over 60% approval from the area, well over the City’s required 20%.  With the overwhelming support from the community their hope is to further expand the boundary giving more coverage to areas that need it.  Next steps for the Block Captains is to submit their final Civility Ordinance expansion application to the City of Houston for approval. They are just one step away from creating a safer Northside for all residents.

If you would like to learn more information about how to become a Block Captain in your area, email nnsblockcaptains@gmail.com. The Near Northside Block Captains meet every 1st Monday of the month at 6pm at Avenue’s Homeownership Center located at 707 Quitman, Houston TX 77009.

To view the April 13th HISD Board meeting testimony, visit http://houstonisdtx.swagit.com/play/04132017-654, click on Hearing of Citizens and begin at the 64:00 minute mark.

 

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