On the evening of February 13, 2021, a new kind of winter came to Texas. Temperatures plummeted below zero. Pipes froze over and burst. The grid collapsed. Millions were without water. Millions more were issued a boil water notice.
It was a week that laid bare both the challenges of climate change and the inequity of its impact. For our first episode of The Gulf Between, we decided speak to someone who has been on the front lines of the post-storm water crisis in Austin, Texas.
Gregorio Casar is an Austin City Council Member and movement organizer, serving in his third term. The proud son of Mexican immigrants, he is the youngest person ever elected to the Austin City Council. Prior to serving on Council, he organized alongside immigrant workers at Workers Defense Project.
For the past week, Casar has been organizing water relief efforts at housing complexes in his district. We decided to speak with him to get his sense of how the crisis played out on the ground in his district, what he feels are its root causes, and where he finds hope for future resilience.