Voters cast their ballots at Cypress Fairbanks Funeral Home in Houston on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. The funeral home was one of a few that were used in Harris County for polling locations. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

As voters head to the polls today, The Texas Organizing Project (TOP), says they aren’t letting up until the last vote is counted. 

“In Houston and Fort Bend counties, we have been running canvases, knocking on doors of Black voters, over 30,000 doors in fact. We have a phone bank, been doing digital outreach. We’ve partnered with Black Voters Matter Pact, did a texting program. We are trying to harness the energy that we’ve been building and Election day will be a culmination of all those efforts,” said Texas Organizing Project’s co-executive director Brianna Brown.  

Founded in 2009, TOP organizes Black and Latino communities in Harris, Dallas, and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. 

“We think about elections as part of our larger organizing strategy. So elections, local elections, city elections, you know, midterm elections are all really important and go towards the ability for black folks in particular to build the kind of power we need to pass the policy to change our lives. So this, yes, I mean, this election is important, uh, and we’re doing a lot to energize, you know, our folks to, to go out and participate,” said Brown. 

TOP has 285,000 members and supporters and mobilizes around issues with tangible impacts in communities. Their efforts in issues-based campaigns and voter registration are central to Texas having 2.1 million registered Black voters, the largest of any state. Brown says they work hard to show voters how much is at stake. 

“So much is at stake, especially for Black folks. Texas is home to the most Black people of anywhere else in the country. We have the most registered voters than anywhere else in the country. And so part of what we’re saying with Change Power Black program, is that that should mean something, right? Like our vote should be courted, there should be an agenda that directly speaks to us, um, both at the statewide level and at the local level,” Brown said. 

With focused campaigns around justice in voting, healthcare, housing, education, immigration, and climate, TOP organizers are advancing the issues that affect everyday life. 

“One in five Black folks don’t have health insurance,” Brown said. “Texas is also the most uninsured state in the country. That’s not a coincidence when you look at our state leadership. That stat of being the most uninsured state and what the impact is to Black communities is no coincidence because we have a governor that has refused to expand Medicaid, for instance. And what we hear time and time again when we’re on the doors, not just in election season, but year round, is that, ‘we don’t have healthcare.

“We’ve also been hearing, especially from Black women, is that we want to be able to make choices about our bodies, whether that means to have an abortion or not to have an abortion, but that’s our own choice and our own self-determination. We’ve been hearing a lot about jobs. The pandemic was especially a crisis in Black communities, and we need good paying jobs that have benefits. We need great schools and legal reform. So much is at stake.”

Organizers will be out today canvassing and will have a rally at The Shack, 3610 Reed Rd., Houston, TX 77051 from 12pm-2pm.