Last week’s winter storm killed 58 people, 32 of whom were Texans, according to The Washington Post. The devastating storm has turned into a full-blown crisis: icy roads and burst water pipes, residents with no power or heat. Many Texans are still lacking basic necessities such as water, food and electricity.
As recovery for many still may be weeks or months away, women have been at the forefront of the relief effort. We’ve highlighted a few of them below.
AOC Raises $5 Million
While Sen. Ted Cruz hopped a plane to Mexico and Gov. Greg Abbott has gone MIA, other politicians — like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — have stepped in. AOC raised a nearly staggering $5 million in relief funds and flew to Texas on Friday to oversee the efforts, according to CNN.
“This is not just an issue for Texans, this is an issue for our entire country,” Ocasio-Cortez said after landing in Houston. “When you have a disaster like this, it can set people back for years, not just for days.”
Keeping the recovery of her birth state in mind, Beyoncé’s foundation BeyGOOD — in partnership with Adidas and Bread of Life — is providing up to $1,000 in aid (through an application process) to Texans and residents of other states affected by the storm. Insider reported that an “overwhelming response” has currently forced applications to close.
TV personality Bethenny Frankel is also sending out trucks worth $180,000 of food, water and Covid gear such as masks and sanitizer. According to People, she hopes to send out three trucks totaling $540,000 in donations through her disaster-relief initiative BStrong.
“BStrong specializes in immediate disaster relief — no blaming, no complaining, get the aid to the people with full transparency to you,” Frankel said in a video she posted to Instagram. “We have trucks that hold these boxes that feed a family of five for a month.”
And musician Kacey Musgraves, who was born in Texas and lives in Nashville, sold T-shirts that troll Cruz (the shirts read “Cruzin’ for a Bruzin’”) and brought in $100,000 in sales, with all proceeds supporting relief efforts, News 4 Nashville reported.
Working From the Ground Up
While celebrity women are using their platforms for the greater good, efforts at home by local women have proven just as important. From homeless shelters to mutual aids, women are rising to the occasion.
Feed the People Dallas, a Black and Latinx female-led mutual aid collective, is not only using donations to provide food and shelter, but it has also created an Amazon wishlist that anyone can purchase from — similar to a registry. Afterwards, the items on the wishlist will be given out to those in need in Texas.
“Right now, we are working on getting people into hotels and getting them food,” founder Vanessa Wilmore told ABC World News Tonight. “The nation is taking care of the Lone Star State.”
The news show also featured Cara Adams, founder of Texas Relief Warriors, whose organization has been cooking and serving hot meals in Houston with the nearly $50,000 so far she’s raised in donations.
American Red Cross, headed by CEO Gail J. McGovern, is sending 100,000 meals along with tractors of water to Texas. The organization is accepting cash as well as blood donations. They also have opened shelters across Texas.
Smaller organizations like the Houseless Organization Coalition, which describes itself as “a revolutionary coalition fully operated by BIPOC organizers with a majority of our members being queer, women, nonbinary, and femmes,” have also prioritized food and shelter for Texans — even when doing so has been increasingly difficult.
“We want to clarify that we’re not a large organization [with] infrastructure to meet the massive need right now,” they wrote on Twitter. “Mutual aid is a survival mechanism and we are not the single answer to the many atrocities from a government that supports the exploitation of folks under capitalism.”
Still, they added, “Anyone can do this work, and we encourage you to get a group and organize in your neighborhood!”