Drawing Power from Community — Houston Strong

By Eva Marie Bernal

Although Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, residents’ spirits rose above it all, symbolized by the phrase: Houston Strong. The expression became a rallying cry that symbolized the city’s resilience, hope, and optimism as residents worked to rebuild. But it also meant different things to different people, from helping a neighbor to unifying the city around a World Series run. We asked participants in the Resilient Houston: Documenting Hurricane Harvey project what Houston Strong meant to them.

“[Houston Strong] was so widespread in Harvey … I love how Houston is so diverse…. Different ethnicities, different religions, and this crossed that. This was not a Jewish issue. This was not a Christian issue. This was a Houston issue, and it continues to be. … We can all come together and support each other, even if we don’t have an answer for it.”

-Nomi Solomon, Meyerland resident.

Photo courtesy of the Méndez family

“There’s a picture that comes into my mind about what [Houston Strong] is … It is going to work early, because you know you want … to come home and work on the house. And after that, go to your family and try to be the dad and make everything normal … spend a couple of hours late with your wife and maybe ten minutes with your kids, because they’re about to go to bed, and then getting up early and doing it again. … That’s Houston Strong. … You didn’t let it break you. You just confronted it, and you did what you could to make it better.” 

-José Manuel Méndez, Spring resident.

“Houston Strong winds up meaning the Astros more than anything else … [They] helped lift our spirits … but I think we need more than baseball to make this city survive.”

-David Lowy, Meyerland resident

Photo courtesy of Ana Vazao.

“[Houston Strong] was so evident by the support of the community. … We all worked together. I had an army of friends come that first day I was able to come back [home]. Literally, 40 to 50 people … I felt so loved because, at the time, I wasn’t able to make those decisions for myself…. Friends become your family.”

-Ana Vazao, Cypress resident.

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Click here to watch an ABC 13 News segment about how Houstonians harnessed the power of Houston Strong to help each other.

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