Members

Members

The Texas Organizing Project (TOP) works to improve the lives of low-income and working class Texas families through community organizing, and civic and electoral engagement.

TOP is a membership-based organization that conducts direct action organizing, grassroots lobbying and electoral organizing led by working families in Texas. Our members come from working class neighborhoods in the cities of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio – neighborhoods that are often overlooked by failed leadership in Austin, or by failed leaders locally.

Our members drive our campaigns, and TOP gives them the tools necessary to secure victories in issues like immigration, health care, better neighborhoods, better jobs and higher quality schools. With every campaign we run, every issue we fight for and every neighborhood we organize, we focus on creating effective ways to ensure that voices of low income and minority communities are not only heard, but that they have sufficient power to advance their issues.

Our members come from these neighborhoods. To become a member, click here! 

Below are profiles are some of our most vocal TOP members from across the state:


Name:

Nayely RuizNayely

City:

Dallas

Neighborhood:  

Casa View

TOP Member Since:  

March 2014

How I found TOP:  

Robert Tiznado, a Dallas TOP organizer knocked on my family’s door earlier this year, informing me about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and how the lack of access to  affordable medical care is hurting our families. I realized at that moment how an important issue like one’s personal health can impact our neighborhoods and communities. I was inspired to take action and get involved.

The issue closest to me:  

Immigration reform is an issue near and dear to me. As a young Latina who is the product of immigrants, I want to see our inhumane, broken immigration system fixed ASAP! It’s outrageous how our elected leaders in Washington continue to play politics with people’s lives by not passing immigration reform. I’m proud that TOP is committed to pushing for reform while also fighting against the deportation machine that is needlessly tearing our families apart.

How I’ve fought for that issue:  

I attended a town hall meeting hosted by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions this summer, and it was both eye-opening and frustrating to see how he would not give a straight answer to immigrants in the crowd, many of whom were my TOP friends, who asked why he was not supporting immigration reform this year. I witnessed firsthand a politician who is truly out-of-touch with the dire needs of his constituents. I’ve also fought for immigration reform through participating in a number of protests, local organizing meetings, and press conferences, emphasizing how if our elected leaders in Washington won’t act to provide relief to immigrant families, TOP leaders will.

 


Name:Latoya

LaToya White

City:

Houston

Neighborhood:

Fifth Ward

TOP Member Since:

2012

How I found TOP: “It was by chance, really. I was visiting a friend in my neighborhood. I showed up one day, and there was a meeting going on in her house. I saw an organizer standing there, and I was thinking, ‘What is this guy doing here?’ After some convincing, I stayed for the meeting, listened to what he had to say, and felt inspired to change and improve my community. That’s when I signed up, became a member and began down the path to justice.”

The issue closest to me: “It started out being neighborhood infrastructure, and while that’s still important, I’ve shifted towards health care. I’m a single mother, and I’ve struggled through sickle-cell anemia for a long time. Sometimes, it hurts to get up in the morning, and I have seizures from time to time. One night, I had some body aches, and waited to go to the hospital because I thought I could shake it off. After a while, I went to the emergency room where the doctors told me that three of my organs were shutting down. I could have died that night, but because I don’t have insurance, I chose not to seek medical attention right away. I fall into the coverage gap, and had Gov. Rick Perry expanded Medicaid in Texas, I would have the health care I need to care for myself, and to care for my children.”

How I’ve fought for that issue: “I’ve attended rallies, press conferences and volunteered for phone banking, informing people about the coverage gap in Texas, and how we can fight for it. I spoke at a press conference in January 2014 on Martin Luther King Day with elected officials like Sen. Rodney Ellis and Sen. Sylvia Garcia to tell my story and to put a face to the over 1.5 million people who fall into the gap like me. In February 2013, I even traveled to Washington D.C. to confront Rick Perry during a speech he was giving to his supporters. I stood up in the middle of his speech and demanded, face-to-face, that he expand Medicaid in Texas. I have done a lot as a TOP member, and will continue to do a lot down the road.”

Why I will vote this November: “Because Texas needs true leaders. We need a governor who will expand Medicaid, who will get uninsured Texans the access to affordable health care everyone deserves. I’m fed up with the games and politics. I’m ready for a governor like Wendy Davis. I’m ready to be heard.”


Name:

Kimberly MasonDallas 1

City:

Garland

Neighborhood:  

North Garland

TOP Member Since:  

March 2014

How I found TOP:  

I was introduced to TOP through some friends of mine that work closely with Dallas ISD schools. Because I’ve always been passionate about education, one of these friends told me about the work that organizer Ed Turner is doing to improve DISD. As a parent with kids in public schools, I wanted to learn more about TOP’s work in DISD so that I could become a better parent advocate for my children. It’s been empowering to learn ways in which we can make strengthen our public schools for future generations.

The issue closest to me:  

Education is something that I will always deeply care about. Schools play such a major role in transforming the lives of our young people and molding them to become the leaders of tomorrow. I believe that when students, parents and teachers listen to each other and work together, great things can happen. Just like so many parents across this state and nation, I want my kids to receive a quality, well-rounded public school education.

How I’ve fought for that issue:  

Earlier this year, me and more than 70 parents like myself set aside time on a Saturday morning to come together for our first ever TOP Parent/Student Summit at East Field

College’s Pleasant Grove Campus. The summit was created, organized and run by our leaders who are parents, grandparents and students. We were joined by some DISD trustees, a home-rule charter commissioner, and experts from across the nation who gave workershops on topics like pre-k expansion, parental rights, the school-to-prison pipeline and community schools. It was a fun, informative event, and I’m looking forward to helping plan future events like it in the future with TOP.


Name:

Cecilia FontenotCecilia

 City:

Houston

 Neighborhood:

Southside

TOP member since:

2009

How I found TOP: “I was just going over the internet, and came up with TOP as an organization that would help people, so I called TOP’s community organizer, Jayne Junkin. She invited me to come and talk to her, and we spoke about different issues TOP worked on: Housing, education, healthcare, neighborhood infrastructure – all the things we still work on. I was drawn to the organization because of the things we could do for my community.”

The issue closest to me: “Health Care. Because at the time that I joined, I did not not have insurance, and I was not able to get insurance until this past year, in January 2014. I struggle with diabetes and high cholesterol, and I didn’t have many options when it came to treatment. I was an advocate for access to affordable health care before I got insurance, and I’ve been an advocate for it ever since.”

How I’ve fought for that issue: “I’ve spoken at different outings like press conferences and enrollment events. I’ve also gone on record on TV and in print media. I even went to Washington, D.C., where President Obama welcomed me and other people who had enrolled in the Marketplace for affordable coverage. I’ve been to Austin several times with TOP, demonstrating and protesting at the Capitol for affordable insurance not just for myself, but for all Texans.”

Why I will vote this November: “I am going to vote because of the different issues that the current leadership do not care about. They waste our money – money that they can used on important issues like immigration reform and the expansion of Medicaid. It is evident that they do not care about people like me. I’m going to vote to change that, and we’re working right now with TOP to educate people as to why they should go out and vote.”