Press Release

Rothko Chapel and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services Host a “Toxic Tour” of Houston

January 07, 2019


Tour will visit sites in and around the greater Houston community

Houston, TX -- In advance of its three-day symposium, “Toward a Better Future: Transforming the Climate Crisis,” Rothko Chapel in collaboration with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.) will host a bus tour of toxic sites in and around the greater Houston community on Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The tour lead by Juan Parras and Yvette Arellano of t.e.j.a.s. will explore the East End of Houston.  This neighborhood which has a large residential component is also home to some of the largest refineries and chemical plants in the city.  These plants spew toxins in the air in communities where thousands of people live, work, and attend school.  The goal of the tour is to give participants a further understanding of environmental justice issues.  

Participants will meet at 1409 Sul Ross (Chapel Annex) at 9:15 a.m. to enjoy a light breakfast and to board the bus. The bus is equipped with restrooms and WIFI. Bring your own lunch to eat on the bus. Please note that the bus will stop and explore some areas on foot. Therefore, participants are encouraged to wear comfortable attire and closed toe shoes for walking on uneven and muddy terrain.  Tickets are $20 per person to offset transportation costs incurred by the Rothko Chapel and space is limited.

Tour Guides

Juan Parras, Founder/Executive Director, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s).  Juan has been organizing community voices for years beginning as a social worker with the Harris County Welfare Office, and later with City of Houston Section 8 Housing Department. Juan’s resolve for equity, justice and community resilience is the driving force behind t.e.j.a.s. with more than 40 years of organizing and work from social services to labor, to environmental justice, Parras can attest to the empowering force behind marrying issues of intersectionality in environmental work for marginalized communities.

Yvette Arellano, Senior Staff, Policy Research & Grassroots Advocate, believes that through a commitment to community engagement, education, and political pressure we can achieve a better standard of living. She has an extensive knowledge of EPA databases and toxics registry’s such as the EJ screen.  Recently she aided in a collaborative project with Union of Concerned Scientist and t.e.j.a.s which jointly published “Air Toxics and Health in the Houston Community of Manchester” and “Double Jeopardy in Houston: Acute and Chronicle Chemical Exposures Pose Disproportionate Risks for Marginalized Communities” (2016).  Yvette’s work in environmental justice highlight that access to clean water, air, land and food is a human right.

About Rothko Chapel

The Rothko Chapel is open to the public every day of the year at no charge. It is a contemplative space that successfully interconnects art, spirituality, and compassionate action through a broad array of free public programs.  Founded by Houston philanthropists Dominique and John de Menil, the Chapel was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary.  Today it stands as a monument to art, spirituality, and human rights. As an independent non-profit, non-governmental organization, the Chapel depends on contributions from foundations and individuals to support its mission of creating a space for contemplation and dialogue on important issues.

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