Solidarity and tragedy in Texas

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Lone Star State lately, since my first trip there in nearly 20 years went so well. Specifically, I’ve been looking for bright spots and signs of a progressive spirit.

I found one today in Houston, where citizens stood in front of the Muslim American Society Katy Center with heart-covered posters reading “We are one,” and “We stand with you,” according to the Houston Chronicle. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but 25 people with the dedication to back up their good intentions can send a meaningful message.

Meanwhile, in affluent Lake Travis, on the outskirts of relatively liberal Austin, an Islamic center under construction burned to the ground (TWC News reports that the cause is currently unknown). It’s heartbreaking to go back and look at the joy and excitement building over the past few months on the community’s Facebook page. Plans for the center included not only a place to pray, but also community health services and a library where people of other faiths could come to learn and get to know their neighbors.

What I want to watch now is a new LaunchGood campaign to rebuild. They have a long way to go — $400,000 is needed — but wouldn’t it be nice to see Austin make a statement of overwhelming support? I’m making a small gift today. Will you?

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