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MAKE AN IMPACT AT NACAC CONFERENCE 2022 - ADVOCACY & COMMUNITY SUPPORT

NACAC is proud to leverage NACAC Conference 2022 to amplify our attendees’ voices on issues that matter most to them. Throughout conference this year, there will be opportunities to engage in advocacy and community efforts that support local, state, and national initiatives. Below you can learn about some of the ways you can make an impact while in Houston and while joining us virtually. 

NACAC Conference 2022 Book Drive 

Help NACAC promote literacy in the nation's fourth largest city by donating to our Book Nook at NACAC Conference 2022 in Houston!

We are pleased to host our first-ever book drive at conference and encourage you to travel to Houston with new or gently used books and drop them off at the Book Nook in booth 1541 on the expo hall floor. You can also purchase books at several nearby stores when you arrive in Houston. We’ll donate the books to the Friends of Houston Public Library Book Warehouse, an organization committed to getting books out into the community and creating awareness of the Houston Public Library system. Thank you in advance for your support.

NACAC Action Stations 

NACAC is utilizing extended reality technology to educate attendees on pertinent issues and connect them with opportunities to take action. Keep on the look out for these action stations, which will be placed throughout the convention center. These XR driven action stations are made possible through our partnership with CampusXR.

 

Send a message to your members of Congress and ask them to support the HERE Act  

In 2020, there were 62.1 million Hispanics in the U.S, comprising nearly 20 percent of the population. According to Census Bureau projections, there will be 111 million Hispanics living in the U.S by 2060. Despite Hispanic population growth, the current education system has failed to sufficiently support Hispanic college completion. At four-year institutions, Hispanic students are 12 percent less likely to graduate than their white peers. If this education gap persists, there will not be enough educated workers to fill the jobs left by retiring baby boomers, and household incomes for all Americans. To help alleviate this problem, U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (CA) introduced the Hispanic Educational Resources and Empowerment Act (HERE) Act, which will provide federal funding to facilitate partnerships between school districts and universities serving large numbers of Hispanic/Latino students. 

 

Send a message to your members of Congress and ask them to act now to Double the Pell Grant 

Pell Grants help nearly 7 million low-and moderate-income students attend and complete college annually. That is 40 percent of undergraduates at U.S. colleges and universities. Students from all 50 states and all corners of the country—from rural areas to cities to everywhere in between—rely on the Pell Grant program to pursue their college aspirations and achieve a brighter future. Nearly 70 percent of Pell Grant dollars go to students with a family income below $30,000 and nearly 90 percent to students with a family income below $50,000. Pell Grants are especially critical for students of color, with nearly 60 percent of Black students, and roughly half of American Indian or Alaska Native students and Hispanic students receiving a Pell Grant each year. The share of college costs covered by the Pell Grant is at an all-time low. Nearly 50 years ago, the maximum grant covered more than three-quarters of the cost of attending a four-year public college. After decades of state budget cuts that drove up tuition, combined with flat household incomes over the same period, Pell Grants now cover less than one-third of those costs. Unsurprisingly, Pell Grant recipients continue to bear disproportionate student debt burdens. Pell Grant recipients today are nearly twice as likely as other students to have student loans and those who do borrow graduate with over $4,500 more debt than their higher-income peers. Doubling the maximum Pell Grant is a good investment that will boost economic mobility. In 2018, the median earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients with no advanced degree working full time were $24,900 higher than those of high school graduates. Bachelor’s degree recipients paid an estimated $7,100 more in taxes and took home $17,800 more in after-tax income than high school graduates. 

 

Show your support for the Equality Act 

The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. 

The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law—including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government—to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The legislation also amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination in public spaces and services and federally funded programs on the basis of sex. 

Additionally, the Equality Act would update the public spaces and services covered in current law to include retail stores, services such as banks and legal services, and transportation services. These important updates would strengthen existing protections for everyone. 

Decades of civil rights history show that civil rights laws are effective in decreasing discrimination because they provide strong federal remedies targeted to specific vulnerable groups. By explicitly including sexual orientation and gender identity in these fundamental laws, LGBTQ+ people will finally be afforded the exact same protections as other covered characteristics under federal law. 

Recommendations from Houston/Texas Locals 

NACAC is grateful to our Local Advisory Committee who has curated a list of other organizations, community support efforts, and initiatives you can support while at NACAC Conference 2022. You may find these opportunities below: 

 

Organizations focused on issues related to refugees and immigration: 

PAIR (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees) Houston  

PAIR empowers refugee youth to become community leaders. Through mentoring, tutoring, college access, and leadership development programs, PAIR equips students with life and academic skills for success. With four distinct programs (Global Learners, Global Leaders, Global Scholars, Summer Camps), students are able to get tailored and authentic learning experiences needed to become community leaders and advocates. 

Amaanah  

One in six Texans today is an immigrant or a child of one and Amaanah is embracing Houston’s growing cultural diversity. The mission is to provide refugee and immigrant families in the Houston area with a compassionate approach to assimilation. While other refugee services focus heavily on relief and social welfare, Amaanah specifically addresses barriers—such as social isolation and child-learning gaps—that affect assimilation. And with less than 1% of American grants and NGO funding now going to organizations that serve immigrants and refugees, Amaanah has stepped up to provide educational and community resources for Houston’s most vulnerable. 

The Alliance 

The Alliance is a leading nonprofit organization for welcoming and empowering those who face financial, educational, health, language or cultural barriers to realizing their dreams. Beyond core refugee settlement, social-educational, and wellness services, The Alliance houses several innovative social enterprises: Alliance Language Network, the Driver’s Education and Mobility Center, and, The Community Cloth, a microenterprise initiative for artisan refugee women. All programs increase support for client self-sufficiency and employment opportunities so clients can thrive in our community. 

Organizations focused on issues related to women’s rights: 

The Afiya Center 

The Afiya Center is the sole reproductive justice organization in north Texas. Their mission is dedicated to transforming the lives, health, and overall well being of Black Womxn and girls by providing refuge, education, and resources. The organization ignites the communal voices of Black womxn resulting in full achievement of reproductive freedom.    

Houston Area Women's Center 

HAWC is a multi-racial, multi-lingual agency that supports survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking. They provide immediate access to 24/7 crisis intervention services, ongoing trauma-informed support programs and violence prevention initiatives to survivors, their support networks and communities.   

The Women's Fund 

The Women’s Fund provides the Greater Houston area women and girls with the rolls they need to be advocates for their health for the past 40 years. TWF has been educating girls and women in the Houston area through classes, workshops, lectures and publications focused on physical, mental, financial, and emotional health and wellness. Their classes emphasize resiliency helping women and girls learn to cope with the kinds of challenging situations that threaten their health and well-being.    

 

Organizations focused on issues related to the LGBTQ+ community: 

Montrose Center 

The Montrose Center provides culturally affirming and affordable behavioral health and prevention services to the LGTBQ+ community and their families. Because the LGBTQ+ persons face numerous health disparities compared to the general population, the Center has embraced an integrated care model with one-stop access to behavioral health and support services, adult primary care and psychiatry, and free wellness programs that empower individuals to proactively participate in their own care.    

Montrose Grace Place 

Montrose Grace Place provides a twice-weekly drop-in program every Monday and Thursday at 6:00 p.m. to youth ages 13-24 experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity of all sexualities and genders.  

Tracy's Closet 

Tracy’s Closet is a part of Montrose Grace Place. Every Youth Night, youth are able to “shop” in the boutique style space that provides clothes, underwear, socks, backpacks, hygiene items, snacks, hair care supplies, shoes, bedding, and more. You can contribute to Tracy’s Closet by purchasing needed items directly through their Amazon wish list. All items are shipped directly. They accept gently used or new clothing that is age appropriate for 13-24 year old youth, unopened packs of new underwear and socks, and any items listed on their Amazon wish list.  

Tony's Place 

Tony’s Place is a drop-in center in Montrose, TX for youth 13-24 who are unstably housed, couch surfing or experiencing homelessness. They offer a safe place where you can come, hang out and access services, free of charge, such as hot meals, showers, laundry etc.    

 

Organizations focused on food insecurity

Stone Soup Food Pantry (AIDS Foundation Houston) 

Stone Soup Food Panty has a mission to end the HIV epidemic in the greater Houston area. The Stone Soup Food Pantry provides food assistance to individuals living with HIV and their families. The organization meets the immediate need for nutritious food while improving the health outcomes for persons living with HIV. It is a donation-based, volunteer-driven program. 

The Montrose Center empowers the community—primarily lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and their families—to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. Throughout the year, clients of the Montrose Center who are in crisis or transition have ready access to supplies, ready-to-eat food items and hygiene supplies as necessary through our H-E-B Emergency Pantry. This fills a crucial gap for those who need immediate help but cannot access regular food bank or nutrition programs. 

Kids’ Meals works to end childhood hunger in Houston by delivering free healthy meals, year-round, to the doorsteps of Houston’s hungriest preschool-aged children and through collaboration provide their families with resources to end the cycle of poverty. Since inception, the organization has given more than 10.3 million free meals to food insecure children in 46 zip codes in Harris County and Montgomery County. Kids’ Meals is a first-responder to children ages 5 and under facing debilitating hunger due to extreme poverty. 

Organizations focused on literacy: 

Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation 

In 2013, Barbara Bush’s son, Neil, and his wife, Maria, formed the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation to advance Mrs. Bush’s literacy legacy, a wholly separate nonprofit from the national Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Established in response to the literacy crisis in the nation’s most diverse and fourth largest city, the Foundation focuses deeply on increasing awareness and literacy services and support in the Bush family’s hometown. The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s Ladies for Literacy Guild holds an annual book drive in March. Used book donations for this event may be given to the Friends of Houston Public Library Book Warehouse.  

 

Organizations focused on animal rescue and support: 

Friends for Life 

At Friends For Life, every animal matters. Founded in 2002, Friends For Life introduced the no-kill shelter model to Houston – saving animals regardless of their breed, age or condition. Houston-grown, Friends for Life is there to help their neighbors care for the pets they love. Friends for Life won’t stop until every animal has a safe home.  

Special Pals 

Special Pals is a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal welfare organization founded in 1979 and is the oldest continuously running “no-kill” animal shelter in the Houston metro area. Special Pals empowers the community to support animal health and safety, and the organization envisions the day when Houston is the Gold Standard for animal welfare. 

Houston Pets Alive!  

Houston Pets Alive is not your average rescue. The organization acts as a safety net for municipal shelters/impound facilities and serve at-risk animals by working alongside our animal welfare partners to reduce euthanasia, pet homelessness, and animal suffering in the Houston area. HPA empowers the community, through education, outreach, and accessible care, to share in the vision of a world where every cat and dog has a loving home.