Current events make timely an inquiry into the role of lawyers in fostering democratic values, promoting social welfare, and ensuring that all citizens are treated equally under the law. Like other members of the Texas Bar, I was proud to read about and witness the countless lawyers who quickly and selflessly mobilized themselves and their communities to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. While it is easy to look to social and mainstream media for all the ways in which we are as divided as ever, it was nothing short of inspiring to see Texas come together and remind the country what it means to unite in the face of disaster, fear, and tragedy. Lawyers across the State provided free legal advice, directed victims to local resources, and immediately asked what they could do to serve. I was reminded that, as a profession, we are called to serve the public. And by and large Texas lawyers answered that call in more ways than one.
As the immediacy of Hurricane Harvey fades, I hope we remember that the storm’s aftermath will have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on people throughout the State for quite some time. There is more work to be done and people to help. I can only hope that we maintain that drive to continue serving with a shared sense of community. And that as the rest of the country returns to its divisive rhetoric, we remember that lawyers are in a unique position to lead by example and serve the public with a collective mindset. From everything Texas lawyers have shown in the face of disaster, I am more hopeful than ever.
If you would like more information about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, the ABA/YLD website has a plethora of resources:
These resources include help filing insurance claims, clarification on legal issues facing disaster areas, and important notices about applying for assistance. There are also ample ways to donate time and money to the relief effort, some of which are noted below:
1. Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: This fund was by Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston. Go to www.ghcf.org to make a donation.
2. Text to Donate Money
– HARVEY2017 to 91999 to donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
– STORM to 51555 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army
– HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross
– HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $25 to Save the Children
3. Help Houston Pets: Help displaced pets by donating to the Houston SPCA.
4. Give Blood: Due to the shutdown of many blood drives in Texas, donation centers across the U.S. are urging citizens to donate to their local drives to aid in medical relief for patients in the region. Contact your local donor center, or call 1.800.RED.CROSS (1.800.733.2767) to locate your nearest drive.
5. Provide Supplies and Food: Relief organizations are requesting monetary donations over physical goods at this time due to lack of storage facilities in areas affected by the storm.
6. Texas Diaper Bank: The state diaper bank is accepting drop-offs, as diapers are not provided by traditional disaster relief agencies. You can ship diapers and wipes to Texas Diaper Bank, 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas 78238.