The Power of Standing Up: United Community Effort Saves Southmore Post Office

 

Darwin Campbell, African-AmericanNews&Issues

Get up, stand up! (Jah, Jah!)
Stand up for your rights! (Oh-hoo!)
Get up, stand up! (Get up, stand up!)
Don’t give up the fight! (Life is your right!)
Get up, stand up! (So we can’t give up the fight!)
Stand up for your rights! (Lord, Lord!)
Get up, stand up! (Keep on struggling on!)
Don’t give up the fight! (Yeah!) –
Get Up, Stand UpBob Marley


HOUSTON- It was the power of civic participation and peaceful protest that sent a message from the Third Ward Houston to Washington, D.C. And resulted in saving the historic Southmore Post Office.

“I am pleased that the Postal Service’s facility review process worked and resulted in a positive outcome,” Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. “The Postal Service process listened to the community voices and determined that the Southmore PoIMG_0058st Office would be a vital asset to the U.S. Postal Service system and to the city of Houston”

The Southmore Post Office is located at 4110 Almeda and is the historic site of a 1960 civil rights demonstration that became Houston’s first sit-ins by Texas Southern University students. Concerned citizens spoke out passionately about the significant historical aspect of this Post Office to Houston and more importantly the neighborhood.

For Louise E. Ray, the victory was special. She was one of the first Black family to integrate the Third Ward and one of the main community leaders responsible for getting the post office located and opened at the site.

“This is a great victory,” she said. We fought to get it here and now we have a victory to keep it here. Today we the people saved this post office.”

National Black United Front National Chairman Kofi Taharka called the struggle a clinic in proving that the people united can never be defeated.

“When we build a united front as a people, we can do anything,” he said. This may be a collective victory, but the civil rights struggle never ends. This may not equate with the great ancestral soldiers of the civil rights movement, but it is a great tribute to the legacy they left for us to build upon.”

Jackson Lee paid tribute to every community group from NBUF to the SuperNeighborhoods to Houston Branch of the NAACP, Project RowHouse, the city of Houston and Texas Southern University students , the Houston Black Realtors Association, civic clubs and community leaders for the hard work put in to send a message that the people would be heard.

“We are the fighting 18th Congressional District and we fight for good,” she said. “There will no longer be silence and disappointment when dealing with issues. “We are willing to fight and this victory shows today marks the beginning of a new way to treat the neighborhood and a new way to treat the process – it will be geared to the voice of the people.”

She made it very clear that she would be working with her constituents and the Postal Advisory Committee to make sure this Post Office remained open and advocated that the Southmore Station Post Office was a very important economic engine for the U.S. Postal system with the ability to increase and improve its utilization because of the increasing and growing population in downtown Houston, Mid-Town, and surrounding areas including the historic Third Ward.

Dr. Assata Richards was clear that the victory at Southmore Post Office should serve as a reminder that the people can make a difference and that should tell government and school officials that not only do Black people care about their neighborhoods and that the elders and history will be respected, not be used, pushed and shoved around.

“We do this to honor all who help me to grow up to be Dr. Richards in the Third Ward,” she said. “We will no longer allow them to close our institutions in our neighborhood and will support all who represent the Black community and who carry our voices.”

Third Ward SuperNeighborhoods President Tamara Bell thanked Jackson-Lee for her efforts and Kofi Taharka for his upfront, frontline activism.

“Congresswomen Jackson Lee has proven time and again that she cares for the least, last and the lost. She cares for us,” Bell said. “We also have a greater respect than ever for the frontline activism of Kofi Tarharka and NBUF.

Jackson Lee visited this facility many times and understand how important it is to the local community.

Minister Robert Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque #45 reminded freedom fighters about how Black history is linked to the history of the U.S. Postal Service and the community support honors that contribution.

He also said the victory is won but the battle is not over as Black face a hostile society that is working one methodical step at a time to down legislate or do away with the laws and protections paid for by the blood of Black patriots and freedom fighters.

“This victory is a celebration for the people of God,” he said. We cannot live on the merits of our past legacies. We must step up and be courageous and create our own.”

The Southmore Station Post Office will remain open as a full service center and retain a vital service to the community and the City of Houston.

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