Press Release

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

December 19, 2019

TAKE A “TOXIC TOUR” OF HOUSTON WITH ROTHKO CHAPEL AND TEXAS ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY SERVICES

Participants will visit East End sites on February 8

Houston, TX (December 19, 2019) 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 8, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The tour will be led by Juan Parras and Yvette Arellano of t.e.j.a.s. and will explore the East End of Houston, a neighborhood which borders Houston’s Ship Channel and is comprised of mostly Latino residents.  This frontline community is situated next to some of the largest refineries and chemical plants in the city.  Air pollution from nearby plastics-producing plants floats over schools, offices, and, homes.  The goal of the tour is to show participants the structural reality of these massive industrial complexes and to offer a first-hand understanding of environmental justice issues the community faces. 

Participants will meet at 1415 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. Registration is required through rothkochapel.org.

This program is presented as part of the Rothko Chapel’s two-year programmatic initiative exploring climate change's impact on individuals around the world, culminating with the biennial Rothko Chapel Óscar Romero Award for Human Rights in 2020.

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 serves as a policy research and grassroots advocate with t.e.j.a.s. In 2015, they led the campaign against H.R. 702, which opened the floodgates to U.S. crude oil exports. Yvette represented the Gulf South at COP25. She was instrumental in the publication Double Jeopardy in Houston, Air Toxics and Health in the Houston Community of Manchester and most recently Plastic and Health: The Hidden Cost of a Plastic Planet. They strive to emphasize that the Rights of Nature are fundamental to overall existence. Currently, Yvette is leading efforts in Houston to help stop petrochemical expansion fueled by plastic production.

About Rothko Chapel
The Rothko Chapel is closed through June 2020 for major renovations.  As part of its Opening Spaces campaign, the first phase of the project will realize a Welcome House and a new energy center; enhancements to the lighting and entryway in the Chapel; and new greenspaces for reflection will be added to the existing grounds. This event is one in a series of offsite programs presented by Chapel during the renovation.  For more visit: http://www.rothkochapel.org/experience/events/  

 

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