Mayors at it again: Houston has had unprecedented amounts of flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and relief efforts are still being dispatched around the city and its surrounding areas. As Harvey makes a second landfall in Louisiana, nearby Port Arthur, Texas is essentially underwater. Some survivors in desperate need of emergency assistance are undocumented immigrants who were unable to access to help for fear of deportation. On a Facebook Live stream in May, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law banning sanctuary cities in Texas for shielding undocumented immigrants. Abbott's policies led to the ACLU issuing a travel advisory for the state. In light of the natural disaster and concern for his residents, including those who may be afraid to seek help because of their immigration status, the mayor of Houston, Sylvester 'Sly' Turner, has vowed to personally protect undocumented immigrants from deportation and encouraged them not to be afraid to seek emergency aid.
If you want to assist people affected by the storm, VICE Impact put together a few ways that you can help.
Feeling the heat, North Carolina Draws new voting maps: Redistricting, commonly known as gerrymandering, is seen by many as the biggest threat to a healthy democracy in the United States. Pursued by both major political parties, the practice is essentially when a political party in power manipulates voting districts to ensure advantageous political representation. The issue is particularly relevant in the state of North Carolina. Yesterday, the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved new district maps to replace old ones from 2011 that were found to be illegal by both lower courts and the US Supreme Court for being too heavy on racial redistricting.
As reported by NPR, some observers say that the new maps aren't much different from the old ones, and lawmakers responded back that critics are simply out of touch with voters. In October, the US Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on how much party partisanship is acceptable when drawing legislative and congressional districts.
Celebs step up: Actor-Comedian Kevin Hart is challenging his A-list friends to donate to Hurricane Harvey emergency aid. Hart took to Instagram to call out celebrities, saying "anybody right now who's in a powerful position who can impact this issue through social media. Let's really try to save some lives." He posted a video a day earlier asking his peers to donate at least $25,000 to relief efforts including, Beyonce, Chris Rock, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and more.
Many have already responded to the challenge, such as Johnson and Chris Brown. So far, Hart has raised over $976,000 on behalf of the Red Cross and the people of Houston. If you care about the ensuring the health and safety of Hurricane Harvey survivors, here's how you can contribute to Hart's campaign.
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Heather Heyer's legacy lives on: On Sunday, MTV celebrated its Video Music Awards, but it slightly departed from the usual fanfare of teen idols and performances. During the ceremony Robert E. Lee IV, a pastor and descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, brought Susan Bro to the stage to denounce racism together in spite of the violence caused by removal of his ancestor's statue. Bro is the mother of anti-racist protester Heather Heyer who was killed at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA.
During her speech, Bro announced that she had created the Heather Heyer Foundation, which will give scholarships to other anti-hate activists. If you want to support Heyer's legacy of combatting racial injustice, join the cause now.
Beer company puts production on hold, focuses on disaster relief: On Tuesday, beer company Anheuser-Busch announced that it would pause beer production at its Cartersville, Georgia factory to aid the relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey. Instead of making beer, the factory will produce canned water in response to the American Red Cross request for emergency drinking water. Last year, the company stepped in to support other environmental disasters such as Hurricane Matthew and the Flint Michigan water crisis and wildfires in California.
Local Houston businesses are also providing emergency aid to community members. "Mattress Mack," Houston resident Jim McIngvale, has opened up his two furniture stores as temporary shelters for evacuees to take refuge.