As part of our Voices of Houston, we honor members who work hard to make a difference.
Today we meet a woman from Houston who works to help families in underserved communities.
Shirley Ronquillo is co-founder of the Houston Department of Transformation.
She is a community organizer who helps residents take civic action to help create safe and beautiful communities.
“We have to help each other because when you help someone else will help you and just that trickle down effect, if we do good, others will too,” says Shirley Ronquillo.
She was always inspired to help people, she says.
As a young girl, she watched her mother and father, who are immigrants from Ecuador, struggle to make ends meet.
But even so, they took in two families whose children were battling cancer.
“I just remember how kind my parents were to open a house to complete strangers,” Ronquillo said.
And she wanted to extend that kindness, to help families in Latin American communities navigate city and county decisions that directly impact their quality of life.
Decisions on redistricting, the home buyback program, drinking water, drainage issues and one of the most important, language barriers.
“All of these emergency messages when there’s a flood, there’s a hurricane, should be in different languages - we celebrate Houston’s diversity when it’s convenient for us, but we don’t provide the communications necessary for our residents can be safe,” said Ronquillo.
“In doing so, the idea is to educate our elected officials and those who make these decisions so that they can see that people are affected by their decisions and number two that we really need support,” adds Ronquillo.
Ronquillo says she hopes that by continuing to help bring change to our communities, it will inspire more people to stand up and make a difference.
“One of my hopes is also to encourage others that even by seeing this clip or reading about it or checking out our Facebook, someone else will be inspired to speak up or take action” , says Ronquillo.
For more information on the Houston Department of Transformation, you can email [email protected] or go here.
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