Social Justice

Federal judge blocks Houston from ticketing Food Not Bombs volunteers

The order was handed down late Wednesday afternoon, just hours before Houston Food Not Bombs was set to commence its regular food-sharing service at Downtown's Central Library. Wednesday marked the first time in nearly a year that FNB volunteers were not ticketed for violating the law.

The loosely affiliated volunteer group sued the city in January, arguing that the decade-old anti-feeding ordinance was a violation of the group's First Amendment rights. The lawsuit claimed that FNB's four-times

Artist behind Houston's iconic Mary's mural has died

Longtime Houstonians will remember the somewhat risque mural on the side of gay bar Mary's in Montrose, which depicted several men, some in bondage and some in drag, sitting inside the bar. Scott Swoveland, the muralist who created the iconic work of art, died in December due to long-term health problems. His death was first reported by Outsmart Magazine in January. According to Houston LGBTQ+ historian JD Doyle, who eulogized the artist in a Facebook post, Swoveland was 61.

A self-proclaimed N

Houston Food Not Bombs sues city over anti-feeding ordinance

Food Not Bombs, the loosely-organized collective that has been feeding unhoused people at Houston's Central Library for more than two decades, has sued the City of Houston, alleging that enforcement of the city's anti-feeding ordinance is a violation of the volunteers' First Amendment rights.

The suit is modeled after a similar, successful suit filed in Fort Lauderdale, FL in 2015. After numerous appeals, the Eleventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals found in 2021 that Fort Lauderd

Holocaust Museum exhibit highlights Black contributions to history

When Bernard and Shirley Kinsey got married in 1967, they made a pact to themselves to see 100 countries together. They were both children of educators and had grown up fascinated by historical, foreign places. For Bernard, it was the temples of the Parthenon and Machu Picchu. For Shirley, it was postcards sent to her by a beloved uncle of the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Giza, and other landmarks.

The couple, who grew up in Florida during the tail end of the Jim Crow era, moved to California

VIDEO: Violent arrest, tasing mar Houston Food Not Bombs event

The incident happened outside the Central Library in Downtown Houston on Jan. 3 during one of FNB's regular outreach events for unhoused Houstonians. According to FNB volunteer Nick Cooper, a group of Harris County constables—"four cars worth"—showed up at the library to serve a warrant on an FNB volunteer. During the arrest, another volunteer was tased and also brought into custody. Cooper said Houston Police, who have been regularly ticketing FNB volunteers for violating Houston's decade-old f

This Houston church is hosting a holiday-themed drag show

Drag Me to Church will be hosted by Trinity Episcopal Church, an open and affirming congregation in Midtown. The event will take place from 6–9 p.m. on Dec. 5 at Kiki, a nightclub in Montrose.

Trinity has always been accepting of queer parishioners, Reverend Hannah Atkins Romero said, but the church wanted to do something more visibly supportive in the wake of such legislation.

"(The church) has tried more and more over the years to be inclusive and affirming," she said.

With that, a drag sho

Over 100 years later, Camp Logan convictions overturned

The decision, as first reported by the Houston Chronicle, was reached weeks ago and was celebrated Nov. 13 with a ceremony at Houston's Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. That day, the Army issued a press release on the decision, writing that "the records of these Soldiers will be corrected, to the extent possible, to characterize their military service as honorable."

The decision, approved by Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, comes after a review board found that the soldiers, 19 of whom

Lawrence v. Texas decriminalized homosexuality 20 years ago

In siding with the plaintiffs in Lawrence, the court effectively ruled that laws criminalizing homosexuality were unconstitutional because they violated a person’s right to privacy. The legacy of the case, however, has been bittersweet. It has been used as a precedent in decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage. But the plaintiffs in Lawrence suffered even after the decision was made, and rulings since then have eroded some gains made in the gay rights movement.

When po

Queer neighborhood watch returns to protect Houston's streets

In the early 1990s, following a series of violent gay-bashing incidents in Montrose—and the fact that HPD wasn't taking reports of gay-bashing seriously—a group of queer Houstonians and allies teamed up to form a neighborhood watch organization known as Q Patrol. The group walked the Montrose streets, focusing especially on the many gay bars dotting the neighborhood and acting as a visible presence to deter harassment and crime.

Q Patrol's relationship with the police improved after an undercov

A guide to major Houston Pride events this June

It's June, and that means Pride Month in Houston. While there will still be a parade, there will be no official Pride festival this year, according to the nonprofit tasked with planning the city's official celebration.

Pride Houston 365 announced in January that Houston's 2023 Pride festivities would be scaled down due to a litany of reasons, including financial issues and safety concerns. However, the parade, which takes place on the evening of June 24, is still slated to be one of the biggest

400 years separate the violent paintings of a new Houston art exhibit

In one painting, a young woman kneels over a bed with a sword in her right hand. In her left hand, she claws at a man's hair, the blade at his throat, as blood cascades down the bed's white sheets.

In a second painting, a Black woman stands before a background of colorful flowers. In her left hand she holds the severed head of a white woman by the ponytail. Her sword, in her right hand, is partially obscured behind her back. Unlike the first painting, this one shows only a few drops of blood.

How a '90s watch group kept Houston safe from gay bashers

The co-founder of an early '90s Houston gay rights organization has some advice for queer Houstonians and allies who want to fight against harassment and attacks like the one that happened last year in Colorado Springs.

Document everything, says Glenn Holt, one of the co-founders of Q-Patrol, a group that worked with Montrose bars and Houston Police throughout the 1990s to prevent gay-bashing incidents. "If there's anything going on anywhere, anytime, record video," says Holt, now 64. "Because

Retirees celebrate 5 years protesting outside John Cornyn's Houston HQ

A group of Houstonians who have been meeting every Tuesday to protest at Republican Senator John Cornyn's Memorial Park-area office just celebrated their five-year anniversary.

Consisting of a core group of about a dozen retirees, the protesters meet every Tuesday at around 11:30 a.m. at 5300 Memorial Drive. This week marked their 262nd consecutive protest, a string of demonstrations unbroken save for a short break caused by Hurricane Harvey—and they don't envision themselves stopping anytime s

Texas Activists Enlist Bartenders in the Fight Against Drug Overdoses

A group of Houston-based activists is enlisting bartenders in the fight against the overdose crisis with a new educational program intended to teach service industry professionals how to spot — and help — someone who is experiencing an overdose.

The informal collective of activists, who go by the name Harm Redux HTX on Instagram, makes use of a practice known as harm reduction, which seeks to mitigate the adverse consequences of drug use. “It’s the principal belief that all life is precious,” s

Fort Worth Officials Say the City Is Working on a Solution to Keep Community Fridges Open

Fort Worth officials have said that they are dedicated to working on a solution that will allow the city’s community fridges to stay open, despite a series of antiquated laws that say fridges can not be left outdoors, unattended.

Both an official from the city’s office of code enforcement, and District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh, have said they are working with Richardson and the city to negotiate a compromise to keep the Funky Town Fridges open.

At issue is a series of archaic laws meant to pre

An Antiquated Law Threatens Fort Worth’s Community Fridges

Funky Town Fridge, the collective behind a trio of community-accessible refrigerators first established in Fort Worth last September, is in danger of being shut down by the city.

According to Funky Town Fridge founder Kendra Richardson, the city set its sights on the community feeding program with plans to shut the fridges down in January if she didn’t make major modifications to the way that the fridges operate. At issue is an obscure, archaic law, passed in 1964, that is meant to prevent chil

It’s a call to acknowledge that all labor deserves dignity

The following piece on the New Orleans sanitation worker strike by first time Hell World contributor Brittanie Shey is taken from the most recent paid-subscriber edition of the newsletter which you can find here. Please consider getting a subscription to receive all complete editions of Hell World and access to the full archives. Thanks for reading.

Get 20% off for 1 year

On February 1, 1968, two Memphis sanitation workers were crushed to death when they took refuge from the rain inside the ba

Aggressive Reporting, Fierce Writing, and FOI Requests: How a Small Town Editor Won a Pulitzer

Jeff Gerritt was only on his second day of the job when he managed to piss off the local sheriff.

As the new editor of the Palestine Herald-Press, a small town paper in east Texas, Gerritt had written an op-ed criticizing Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor for his agency’s lack of transparency. Taylor, a four-term incumbent, was livid.

“He just got enraged,” Gerritt said. “He would not talk to the paper after that. He wrote a letter to the editor and called me a ‘guy from up north with his li

Let's get social