Action Alert: Candlelight Vigil for Shante Thompson, Willie Sims and Transgender Women of Color

UUV4J

Action Call: Candlelight Vigil for Shante Thompson, Willie Sims and Transgender Women of Color

WHEN:
Friday, April 15, 2016 at 6 p.m.

WHERE:
Houston City Hall
901 Bagby Street
Houston, TX 77002


SCENARIO: Unitarian Universalists from Houston area congregations will join HOUequality and members of the Houston community to gather Friday, April 15, 2016 at 6 pm at Houston City Hall to hold a candlelight vigil that will feature speakers and a moment of silence. The vigil follows the brutal attack and murder of Shante Thompson and Willie Sims in the late hours of Sunday, April 10th in Houston's Midtown.

Shante's death marks the 4th transgender Texan to die in 2016 (to our knowledge.) Her friend, Willie, died trying to defend her.

67% of victims of homicide hate crimes are transgender women of color - this must end.


Discrimination and violence against transgender people goes against our fundamental religious and moral values to treat our neighbors as ourselves. All people have inherent worth and dignity and a sacred place in the universe.

Please wear your yellow Standing On The Side of Love shirt. Please refer all media to HOUequality. We are there to amplify the voices of the Houston transgender community. UUV4J steering team member Kenneth Jones will be present.



Social Media: #UUV4J, #StopTransMurders, #SSL




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Past Action Alerts below:

UUV4J

Action Call: People of Faith Support Women's Reproductive Rights

WHEN:
Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 1 p.m.

WHERE:
Planned Parenthood
4600 Gulf Freeway
Houston, TX 77004


SCENARIO:The Unitarian Universalist Voice for Justice of Greater Houston are holding a public witness event to show support for Planned Parenthood and those in our community who need the services Planned Parenthood provides. On March 2, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of Whole Women's Health vs. Hellerstedt. This case has the potential to drastically lower the number of health clinics available to provide safe and legal abortion care for the people of Texas.

As religious people, we assert that differences in religious beliefs about sexuality, contraception, and abortion exist. There is no one religious perspective on these issues.

“As people of faith we call on the Texas State Legislature and the United States Supreme Court to stop insulting the intelligence of women in the State of Texas with these sham attacks on Planned Parenthood. Access to safe, affordable reproductive health care is a matter of justice and equality.” Rev. Becky Edmiston-Lange, Minister, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church.


Wear Your Standing On The Side Of Love shirts and bring signs that express your support as a member of the religious community. If you are trained but do not have your shirt yet, please come anyway!
Please note: There will also be protesters present as part of the 40 Days of Life, a campaign supported by other churches. Security is also being provided. If you have further questions, please contact your congregational representative for UUV4J or email angela @ firstuu.org.

Parking: Additional parking is available on Eleanor Tinsley Way or in the overflow lot behind staff parking.
Some ideas for signs to bring:
Faith Voices for Choice
We Support Reproductive Justice
Unitarian Universalists for Women's Reproductive Rights
Unitarian Universalists Stand with Women and Families
Trust Women
We Support Access to Safe and Legal Abortion

Social Media: #UUV4J, #SSL

Spokesperson: Rev. Becky Edmiston-Lange

Read Rev. Becky Edmiston-Lange's comments here

Statement for UUV4J Action in Support of Planned Parenthood

Good afternoon. I am Becky Edmiston­Lange, Co­Minister of the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, speaking today for the Unitarian Universalist Voice for Justice, a coalition of the 8 Houston area Unitarian Universalist congregations. It’s great to see so many yellow shirts out there that say "standing on the side of love" because that is exactly why we are here ­ to stand on the side of love ­ to stand on the side of compassion, justice, fairness and equality ­ to stand with Planned Parenthood and all women’s health care providers that provide abortion services in this state ­ and to stand with and for the women and men of Texas who need the services Planned Parenthood and those clinics provide. And we do this ­ we make this public witness ­ precisely because we are people of faith motivated by deeply held religious values.

Our faith tradition has long maintained that everyone should have the right and the power to control their own reproductive lives, including access to safe and legal abortions. We support these rights because we believe all people have inherent worth and dignity and that it is the very essence of freedom that all people be able to exercise their own moral agency. Our support for these rights is grounded in our vision of a world of fairness and equity where everyone has access to basic health care regardless of their identity or station in life. As people of faith we know that decisions about children, sexuality and families are some of the most profound and intimate choices we will ever make. We believe those choices must be guided by a women’s own religious values, not coerced by the state or by religious views other than her own.

We recognize that there is no single American position on contraception and abortion. BUT those who oppose women’s reproductive rights do not have a monopoly on faith. Religious voices on the right have disproportionally influenced public policy about these matters for far too long.

As you are well aware, this coming Tuesday the Supreme Court will hear the case regarding Texas law HB2 which is designed to end women’s access to abortion by imposing such onerous requirements it will force clinics to close. If this law is allowed to stand, the repercussions will be huge. It would close all but 9 or 10 abortion providers in this state with 5.4 million women of reproductive age, undoubtedly causing some women to attempt to end pregnancies without medical assistance resulting in the dire consequences we prayed had ended more than forty years ago. But it won’t just be those needing abortions that suffer, but all those women and men who rely on providers like Planned Parenthood for basic health care needs, many of whom lack the resources to go elsewhere. And it won’t just be people in Texas. Nine other states have similar laws pending. And this case could also affect dozens of other regulations of disputed medical value all across this country. And ­ as is so often the case ­ the ones who bear the greatest burden from such repressive legislation will undoubtedly be low­ income families and communities of color.

As people of faith we are here to witness and call this legislation out for what it is ­ a deceptive, politically motivated, medically unnecessary, assault. It is deceptive because Texas lawmakers passed this law knowing full well that the Supreme Court has guaranteed that women have a constitutional right to abortion and that states cannot impose undue burdens for women exercising that right. It is deceptive because they passed this law under the pretext of protecting women’s health and safety even though it imposes regulations medical experts agree are medically unnecessary. It is deceptive because it is meant not to protect women but to end all access to abortion ­ period. It is politically motivated because it panders to the religious right and arrogantly attempts to impose the repressive morality of some upon all. And it is an assault not just on abortion but also on contraception and other basic reproductive health care services and education. The religious right denounces abortion as immoral, sinful. But I know from personal and professional experience that any woman makes the decision to have an abortion with serious, even agonizing, reflection upon her and her family’s circumstances, with consideration for and consultation with the most important people in her lives, and in careful contemplation of her own faith and values. As a religious professional I know that honoring the sanctity of life means assuring equal access to contraception, sexuality education and family planning. Honoring the sanctity of life also means ensuring that no women is coerced against her will and the best interest of her family to carry a child to term no matter the possibly tragic reasons for that child’s conception or future development. What is immoral is denying people the means by which they can make responsible, intentional decisions about their reproductive lives ­ contraception, sexuality education and basic reproductive health care. What is immoral is denying poor women, women of color, and women in rural communities the same access to safe, accessible medical services that more privileged women have.

Ultimately Texas law HB2 and similar laws are an assault on and an insult to women as fully equal moral agents who are fully capable of making intelligent and responsible decisions about the course of their own lives. These laws are about a desire to subordinate women, particularly women of a certain strata of society ­ and not just women, but all those who want and need equity and fairness for themselves and their families . They are an attempt to retreat to some fantasy utopian ideal before women and blacks and Latina/os and LGBTQ people came out of the kitchens, out of the racist imposed enclaves, and out of the closet and demanded they be treated as equal citizens under the law.

As Unitarian Universalist people of faith, we care deeply about these issues because we care deeply about fairness, we care deeply about justice, we care deeply about equity and compassion. As people of faith, we care ­ and that is why we stand here today on the side of love.



February 27, 2016
The Rev. Dr. Becky Edmiston­Lange
Co­Minister, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church; a spokesperson
for Unitarian Universalist Voice for Justice
713­782­8200/713­974­7259 revel@ix.netcom.com
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UUV4J

Action Call: Truth Tour: Women's Reproductive Justice

WHEN:
Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 12 p.m.

WHERE:
Elizabeth Baldwin Park
1701 Elgin Street
Houston, TX 77004


SCENARIO: Unitarian Universalists from 8 Houston-area congregations will join Whole Woman’s Health, Shift, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Texas Research Institute, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, and ACLU of Texas to spread the word across Texas that abortion is still legal and that we’re fighting harder than ever to keep it safe and accessible.

As religious people, we assert that differences in religious beliefs about sexuality, contraception, and abortion exist. There is no one religious perspective on these issues.

“Thank God, there is no state religion in America. We are a country of many faiths. And no one set of religious beliefs should be allowed to dominate all Americans. This is especially true when it comes to women’s reproductive health.” Rev. Daniel O’Connell, senior minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston


Wear Your Standing On The Side Of Love shirts and bring signs that express your support as a member of the religious community. If you do not have a shirt yet, please wear yellow.

Some ideas for signs to bring:
Faith Voices for Choice
We Support Reproductive Justice
Unitarian Universalists for Women's Reproductive Rights
Unitarian Universalists Stand with Women and Families
Trust Women

We Support Access to Safe and Legal Abortion



Social Media: #FightBackTX, #UUV4J, #SSL




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UUV4J

Action Call: Joined by UUA President, UUV4J Shows Support For Our Muslim Neighbors

WHEN:
Friday, December 4, at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church
17503 El Camino Real
Houston, TX 77058


SCENARIO: Unitarian Universalists from 8 Houston-area congregations will gather Friday, December 4, 2015 at 1 pm at the Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church.

We are incredibly grateful to welcome the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the Rev. Peter Morales at our event! He will be joining Unitarian Universalist Voice for Justice in the rally of support to our Muslim neighbors at the Clear Lake Islamic Center.

We assert that freedom of religion requires mutual respect so that all people of faith may worship according to their conscience. We affirm that sincere friendships can bridge hostility. We encourage the greater world community to work beyond fears of other religious traditions to create a peaceful world through relationship.

“Unitarian Universalists have historically witnessed to a faith that calls us to extend our embrace. We focus less on beliefs and more toward the gifts of our humanity. We value love and as members of one human race “we need not think alike to love alike.’” – Rev. Angela Henderson


Wear your Standing On The Side Of Love shirts and bring signs that express your support as a member of the religious community.

Some ideas for signs to bring:
We Support Our Muslim Neighbors
Pleased to Be Neighbors of Clear Lake Islamic Center
Unitarian Universalists for Religious Diversity
Love Thy Neighbor (No Exceptions!)
Muslims Make the World Better
We Respect People of ALL Faiths
We are ALL God's Children
Religious Diversity Rocks
Standing on the Side of Love
You can even bring a sign with a big smiley face!



Spokesperson: Rev. Bruce Beisner

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Past Action Alerts below: UUV4J

Action Call: UUV4J Stands with Syrian Refugees

WHEN:
Saturday, November 21, at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Corner of Westheimer and Post Oak in Houston, TX


SCENARIO: Unitarian Universalists assert that freedom of religion requires mutual respect so that all people of faith may worship according to their conscience. As Houstonians and citizens of the United States, we have a proud history of receiving families in need of refuge. We are also concerned about the religious test some of our elected officials and presidential candidates have proposed to include as part of the process to accept refugees. This is in direct opposition to the foundation of religious freedom of our country.

“Our faith affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Unitarian Universalists believe that all human beings are loved by God and that we should treat our neighbors according to that Golden Rule affirmed in all the world’s great religious traditions - to treat all our neighbors with the same fairness and respect as we would want to be treated, to love our neighbors as ourselves” says UUV4J Spokesperson, the Rev. Dr. Becky Edmiston-Lange

Wear your Standing On The Side Of Love shirts and bring your signs that express your support as a member of the religious community.

Spokesperson: Rev. Angela Henderson



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Action Call: Speak Out for Planned Parenthood

Show your support for Planned Parenthood and reproductive health-care by joining us outside the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast building! Wear your Standing on the Side of Love shirts, something pink & bring your signs so those on 45 S & the feeder road can see that Houston supports a right to choose and basic health care.

WHEN:
Tuesday, September 29th, at 12:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Planned Parenthood
4600 Gulf Fwy
Houston, TX 77023

Please make sure to use parking on Eleanor Tinsley Way to insure that parking is available for patients!

SCENARIO: There is a major effort to cut federal funding for the important work Planned Parenthood does for our families and communities. The most recent effort resulted in a bill titled the “Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015” passing the United States House of Representatives on September 18th. Planned Parenthood has organized a national #PinkOut Day this Tuesday in the wake of these efforts.

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UUV4J

Canceled: Houston Religious Leaders' Press Conference

Out of respect for those who are recognizing the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, Houston Unites has decided to cancel the press conference originally scheduled for Monday, September 14th at 10 a.m.

Action Call: Houston Unites Press Conference Monday Morning

Monday (September 14th) morning at 10:00 am Houston Unites will host a press event at the Trinity Episcopal Church to highlight religious voices speaking out in support of HERO.

See the website at:
Houston Unites Against Discrimination - http://houstonunites.org/

WHEN: Monday, September 14, at 10 a.m. CST; Arrive by 9:45 a.m.

WHERE:
Trinity Episcopal Church
1015 Holman Street
Houston, TX 77004

Scenario: The TX Supreme Court has ruled and the City Council has agreed that a possible repeal of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) will be put on the November ballot. We view this ordinance as crucial protection of civil rights for vulnerable populations in Houston. Join us and show your support!

UUV4J Spokesperson: Rev. Dr. Daniel O'Connell

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UUV4J

UUV4J Joins Coalition To Support The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

The Steering Committee of UU Voice for Justice voted to join the coalition of Houston organizations called Houston Unites in shoring up support to ensure all Houstonians are treated fairly.

Houston Unites works to elevate the diversity of voices supporting the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance known as HERO.

No Houstonian should be discriminated against based on race, age, military status, sexual orientation or gender identity.

That’s a core value Houstonians share, and that’s why HERO’s passage a year ago was supported by more than 80 current and former elected officials, community and non-profit organizations, major corporations, and more than 70 local faith leaders.

UU Voice for Justice is ready to call an action when the time comes to make sure Unitarian Universalists have the opportunity to make our voices heard, so be sure to have your “Standing On The Side of Love” shirts ready. This effort will take all of us.

If you have not been trained and received a t-shirt, please email uuv4jhouston@gmail.com or contact your congregation’s UUV4J representative.

What can you do right now?

• Sign the pledge at Houston Unites’ website to make it known that discrimination has no place in Houston at: https://houston-ffaa.cp.bsd.net/page/s/pledge

• Tell your friends. “Like” Houston Unites on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/HoustonUnites Even if you do not live in Houston, you can share with your friends that you support equality.

• Volunteer by signing up directly through Houston Unites at: https://houston-ffaa.cp.bsd.net/page/s/volunteer

• Organize! Begin asking people in your congregation if they would like to sign up to work to support HERO. With their permission, you can collect congregants’ information on a clipboard and enter it into the volunteer website at https://houston-ffaa.cp.bsd.net/page/s/volunteer to get direct updates from Houston Unites. More importantly, it gives you a chance to talk with others about why HERO is important.

• Make a financial contribution to ensure there is no place for discrimination in Houston at: https://houston-ffaa.cp.bsd.net/page/contribute/donate

More Information: http://action.houstonunites.org/page/content/launch/ Houston Unites Launches Campaign to Support Equal Rights Ordinance
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Action Call: Unite behind HERO

Tomorrow (Wednesday Aug. 12) morning at 10:00 am the campaign to defend HERO will officially launch with a press event at Hilton Americas. See the website at:
Houston Unites Against Discrimination - http://houstonunites.org/

WHEN:
Wednesday, August 12, at 10 a.m. CST

WHERE:
Hilton Americas-Hotel
Skyline Ballroom, 24th Floor
1600 Lamar
Houston, Texas 77010

UUV4J Spokesperson: Rev. Dr. Daniel O’Connell

Scenario: The TX Supreme Court has ruled and the City Council has agreed that a possible repeal of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) will be put on the November ballot. We view this ordinance as crucial protection of civil rights for vulnerable populations in Houston. Join us and show your support!

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June 26
Action Alert
Spokesperson: Rev. Dr. Daniel O’Connell
Action Leader: Rev. Bonnie Vegiard

You can help us show positive religious voices supporting the expansion of marriage rights to all citizens!

Please stand with UUV4j as we celebrate today’s historic decision at Discovery Green. We will join allies Lambda Legal Houston, Victory Fund Houston and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for this celebration. Gathering begins at 5:00, UUV4J will gather at 6:00, program begins at 6:30. Look for our banner and yellow t-shirts.

Please remember to refer any media to our spokesperson or the UUV4J Leadership team in the green t-shirts.

Remember to bring water bottles and sunscreen.
Follow details at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1449353295365052/

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June 18, 2015

Our Christian neighbors in the Houston Community are hosting this prayer meeting. This is not an official UUV4J action, but we thought you might want to know about it.

Grace and peace to you. "Pray without ceasing ."

In light of the tragedy in South Carolina on Wednesday, June 17, a prayer meeting will be held tonight, June 18 at 7:00 pm in the sanctuary of Jones Memorial UMC - 2504 Almeda-Genoa Road, Houston, TX 77047 . Let's all come together and pray for God to lead us through these difficult times.

Please share this email with our African-American congregations, our BMCR partner churches in the Houston TX area and all who desire to come together to pray for peace in our communities.

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Action Alert

Feb 13 2015 Action Alert

The UUV4J will be joining Equality Houston for a march and rally to support Marriage Rights for same-sex couples as we go into the Valentine’s Day weekend.

When and where:
Friday, Feb. 13 11:00 AM Gather at County Clerk’s Office
201 Caroline St. Houston TX 77002

Look for our yellow t-shirts and the Spokesperson, Rev. Angela Henderson. Remember that the leadership team will be wearing green Standing on the Side of Love t-shirts. Direct any media to Rev. Henderson, or to a leadership team member if you do not see her.

Remember that others from other organizations including Equality Houston will also be there and have organized the event. We ask the Uus to join together with our yellow t-shirts.

Here are the details from the Facebook page of Equality TX
www.bit.ly/Marriage2015

Join us to show Houston, Texas, the nation, and the U.S. Supreme Court that Love, Marriage and Equality are Human Rights!

At 11 am, we will gather for a protest outside of the Harris County Clerk's Office at 201 Caroline. We will have Marriage Equality signs available, or feel free to make your own and bring them.

At Noon, couples who wish to participate will go upstairs to the County Clerk's office and request a marriage license. Those who do not go upstairs to request a license will remain outside with signs. If you wish to be one of these couples please email pillar.excalibur@gmail.com

Once our couples are denied their equal rights, we march from the Clerk's Office to City Hall down Main Street during lunch hour, where we have exciting information for you in the marriage equality fight. (distance 0.8 mi)

Anticipated Timeline
11:00 AM Gather at County Clerk’s Office
201 Caroline St. Houston TX 77002

Noon
Couples go inside clerk’s office to request licenses

12:15 PM Couples are denied, rejoin protesters on front steps, and everyone marches down Main St. to City Hall

12:30 PM (approximately)
Rally/demonstration at Houston City Hall
Between City Hall and reflection pool
901 Bagby St. Houston TX 77002
Lunch hour, where we have exciting information for you in the Marriage Equality fight. (Distance is 0.8 miles) -

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Action Alert
Nov 9 and 10

Scenario: Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, under the leadership of Fred. Phelps Jr., will be in Houston this weekend picketing several churches and City Hall. Their main message is “God hates fags.” We plan to Stand on the Side of Love in response to their activity. We have chosen three places and times when they plan to picket.

Action Call: Choose one of these times and places and come Stand on the Side of Love. We will gather as small groups on public sidewalks far enough away from the Westboro group to ensure non-engagement. Choose one of the following and send us an email to uuv4jhouston@gmail.com with the subject line of:
“I will stand on the side of love at St. Martin’s” or
“I will stand on the side of Love at Grace Community” or
“I will stand on the side of love at City Hall.”
(this email is not required, but will help us plan.)

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church--717 Sage Rd., 8:20 AM Sunday Nov. 9. Meet on the SE corner of Sage and Woodway. Look for Kenneth Jones and the yellow Standing on the Side of Love t-shirts.

Grace Community Church—14505 Gulf Freeway (I-45 southeast of Houston): 9:30 AM Sunday, Nov. 9. Gather on the sidewalk of the Infinity Auto lot next to the church. Look for Rusty Cockrell and the yellow t-shirts.

Houston City Hall, Monday Nov. 10, 10:15 AM: gather at the reflecting pool in front of City Hall. Look for Rev. Angela Henderson and the yellow t-shirts.

What to bring: Please wear your Standing on the Side of Love t-shirts and bring signs that say either “Standing on the Side of Love” or “God is Love.”

What to do: Stand together as a positive, quiet presence with our positive signs. Be prepared to stay about 30-40 minutes. Please remember our purpose is to be a positive presence. Do not engage with the Westboro church people in any way. We do not expect them to try to push engagement, but if they do please move further away or ignore them. If anyone tries to engage you in a negative way, it is OK to choose to leave.

Media: the leader at each location will have copies of the Talking Points and a statement for the press, which that leader may choose to read. Please refer the press to that person. If cameras are present and rolling, please be as positive as possible and minimize distracting movements.

Logistics: We can offer no particular recommendations about parking. Please leave time to find parking near the site.

___________________________________________________________________________ UUV4J

When: Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 3:00 PM
Please arrive in time to park and be present in the First UU sanctuary by 3:00 PM.

Where: First Unitarian Universalist Church, 5200 Fannin St. Houston TX 77004

Parking: in the lot behind the church off Southmore or at the bank across Southmore from the church. Street parking is also available.

What to Bring:
· Wear your Standing on the Side of Love UUV4J t-shirt.

Action Scenario: Conservative religious leaders are organizing a media event at Grace Community Church on Sunday. Nov. 2 at 6:00 PM. This event is grounded in their opposition to the City Council’s passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Purpose of Action: To provide a voice for people who believe that are religious values call us to support civic fairness and protections such as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. We are calling a press conference to get our message out.

Plan: This event is coordinated with other LGBTQ affirming congregations and religious leaders. Our UUV4J spokesperson will speak, and other religious leaders will also be invited to speak. It is important that the media see that there are members of many congregations and of diverse faiths involved in this press conference. While this is a UUV4J event, you may also want to invite others that you know are sympathetic with our position, so that we fill the hall. We hope as many UUV4J members as possible will come and make a great block presence with our yellow t-shirts.

Reminders: Please remember to direct media to UUV4J leaders, and keep watch for when media camera may be pointed your way. Be positive, smile, and try to minimize distracting movements when cameras are around. Thanks!

UUV4J Leadership Team
uuv4jhouston@gmail.com
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