West Street Recovery

Northeast Action Collective

The Northeast Action Collective (NAC), founded in October 2018, is a group of 45-75 community members who came together to improve environmental conditions and increase quality of life in their Northeast Houston Neighborhoods. The group is intergenerational, interracial, and bilingual. Many of our members are people with disabilities, have a mix of immigration status and have a wide range of political experiences. During weekly meetings held simultaneously in English and Spanish, community members are joined by allied advocates from across the city, language interpreters and WSR staff.

Fostering Community Power & Care

The NAC is focused on: 1) fostering a network of collective care; 2) building social and political power; and 3) developing local knowledge.

From our inception as a tiny collective of flood survivors, the NAC has grown into a long standing community of care that feels like family. The group seeks to be accessible to as many people as possible, and is committed to pushing through as many social, physical, technological, linguistic, and environmental barriers in an effort to help others to call this group home. We have learned to advocate not only as a community group but to speak unapologetically as individuals. Key to the NAC approach is encouraging vulnerability, and openness so that members can express their physical and emotional needs without fear. The NAC builds bridges as we reach deep in our collective power and draw on the skills of the group to care for each other. We believe that fostering this network of community care is the first step towards building power.

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The Northeast Action Collective's Work

Through experience, training, facilitation and hands-on practice, we engage, encourage and empower our members. The NAC works to turn strong community bonds into social and political power that improves environmental conditions and lives in the neighborhoods where NAC members live. Members build skills that help them testify at government meetings, speak to the media, and mobilize their friends and networks to demand that their civil and political rights are protected and expanded. 

Because of a long history of flooding and antiquated infrastructure, NAC is focused on drainage and flood mitigation investment. However, the campaigns we execute build political know-how, deepen member confidence and are slowly but surely changing the balance of power in Houston, Harris county and the state. For the NAC building power means self-determination: the ability to impact the conditions of our own lives, in the face of structures and historical conditions that have disempowered, disenfranchised and disinvested our communities. It means demanding that we have a say in decisions about essential infrastructure that protect us from flooding and impact our health and ability to live.

NAC members are the experts on their own lives and experiences, the injustices they face, and the changes that are needed in their communities. Capturing and distributing this knowledge is key to building power in the long term. NAC residents know all the different ways their communities have been neglected throughout history. Their knowledge paired with holistic (interconnected) research methods allow for a collective understanding of the shortcomings of our current systems. We carry out community-based research projects to share this expertise and inform visions for a just recovery and an equitable society. Our research is oriented towards changing policy.  As a group we also work to better understand intentionally convoluted power systems and government programs in order to strengthen our advocacy, critique, and inform our demands for change.

Through caring for each other the NAC builds bonds that allow us to exert collective power. Our advocacy is informed by our lived experience and our research, and our work is carried out with a deep commitment to inclusion, continued growth, and finding joy.