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Forging Alliances and Raising Awareness in Support of Houston Ship Channel Communities

By Allure Anoma

This year, attending the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., was an inspiring privilege. (The nation’s capital is robust and can be overwhelming, but I made it!)

One of the primary purposes of my trip was to forge alliances with other notable prominent voices that could help bring awareness to the environmental and public health issues in the communities of the Houston Ship Channel.

There was a lot of star power surrounding the conference. From rap star Quavo, political commentator and former Bernie Sanders spokesperson Symone Sanders, Sen. Raphael Warnock, to the first Afro-Latina vice president of Colombia, there was no big voice you could not find to advocate for your issue.

The key phrase of the conference for me was electric technology. Many of the environmental panelists consisted of key players like Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the CEO of automaker Hyundai.

The current push is to be the world leader in electric power. The CEO of Hyundai, who happens to be a Houston native, also mentioned that to further this initiative, he would give anyone who purchased an electric vehicle from his company a free charging station and installation through the end of the year. This can be translated to personal use vehicles and those used commercially. It would be excellent for ports and delivery companies to aggressively buy into the transition to electrification to reduce their environmental burden.

What also stood out was how active the various U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation branches were at the event. Secretary Buttigieg made several appearances throughout the weekend, especially within the exhibits and various supporting events.

Overall, the experience and event were great. I am very excited to see a country that is far more conscious of the environment and solutions that could make for a more sustainable world.

Allure Anoma is a transportation associate with the Texas office of Public Citizen.