BUT NEXT TIME centers frontline survivors, first responders, and multigenerational organizers as creators and protagonists of their own stories. Click to learn more about some of the voices of BUT NEXT TIME.
Click to learn more about some of the voices of BUT NEXT TIME.
Alma was answering a flood of calls as an emergency dispatcher in Santa Rosa, California when the Tubbs fire engulfed her community in 2017. In the aftermath of the wildfires that year, Alma would become an advocate for language justice, working to ensure Spanish and indigenous-language communities could avoid the lack of information and services that made the fires so much more threatening. Alma created a non-profit to educate Spanish speaking communities about disaster preparedness.
Alma Bowen is a life-long Sonoma County resident with deep ties to the community. Currently, Alma is the Founder & Executive Director of ‘Nuestra Comunidad, a Sonoma County based non-profit focused on disaster preparedness for all, with an emphasis on under-served communities including our Spanish speaking population and low-income seniors.
Prior to starting ‘Nuestra Comunidad’ Alma served Sonoma County for 18 years as a highly distinguished, 9-1-1 Emergency Services Dispatcher. The 2017 wildfires taught us that disaster preparedness is a shared responsibility. Alma worked the night of the fires and has first-hand knowledge of how disaster preparedness can make the difference between life and loss. Now, Alma is out in our community promoting & teaching the importance of disaster preparedness.
MARIBEL had recently arrived from Oaxaca to work the fields of wine country when she had to flee the Kincade fires in a car crammed with nine of her family members. Today, she is a part of a team producing an indigenous language radio show at KBBF. She is working to ensure that indigenous-language communities can avoid the lack of information and services that made the fires so much more threatening. Maribel's work is changing the culture of Sonoma County and helping families and workers prepare and respond. Maribel has continued sharing information with her community throughout the pandemic -- on air, social media and out in the field.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, JAIME was a single mom working long hours while attending school to become an auto mechanic. There had been chronic problems in her apartment complex with water damage and mold. While the management would replace the sheet rock, the mold remained, constantly upsetting her young children’s asthma. Jaime and organizers from Texas Housers helped develop what would become the “Twelve Moms” lawsuit against the federal department of Housing and Urban Development and worked to create a tenant’s rights institute. During the pandemic, she and other advocates continue to develop legal strategies to prevent evictions and foreclosures that are displacing low-income residents.
Zoe Middleton (she/her) is the Southeast Texas Co-Director for Texas Housers, a nonprofit policy advocacy organization that supports low-income Texans’ efforts towards a decent, affordable home in a quality neighborhood of their choice. Middleton also serves on the board of the Midtown TIRZ and is the board president for Tenant Advocates of Harris County. She holds a Masters degree from the New School for Public Engagement. She presented research on belonging and public space at Rutgers and American University. Middleton’s recent speaking invitations include The American Planning Association’s annual gathering, The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition convening, The Texas Homeless Network conference, Poor People’s Campaign, the Natural Hazards Workshop, and the Just Recovery Summit.
As the community outreach coordinator at Texas Housers, Ericka works in publicly subsidized housing communities to organize mothers living with their children to advocate for their rights as tenants. Her work involves running meetings, planning communications strategies, supporting the women organizers, advocating for tenants in Houston, and researching issues that tenants face. Ericka is no stranger to activism or calling public figures to pay attention to racial discrimination issues and environmental hazards in black communities.