How to engage the community, get educated on what’s happening, and resist the Southwest Key Detention Center on Emancipation Avenue.
#StopSWKey #NoSWKey #NoBabyJails
1) THE PLAYERS
Southwest Key- Mega-Non-Profit under investigation for abusing people in its “shelters”.
Juan Sanchez- Recently departed Southwest Key CEO who makes a seven-figure salary.
David Denenburg– Property owner of 419 Emancipation who will profit off the facility.
City of Houston– Mayor Turner and City Council have said at council that they are “with” those who have advocated against the opening of the facility, but the mayor has changed positions and council has been relatively silent.
State of Texas – In addition to permitting, the State of Texas is connected to this fight in that the Legislature can call for hearings on facilities such as those of Southwest Key and call for investigations into the organization.
The Community – A large number of protests have been held at the center and at the house of David Denenberg from a wide variety of community organizations and some politicians. Of all of the politicians to have made a statement recently or stood with the community recently, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia is the only elected official to have spoken out against the center loudly and clearly in 2019.
Elected officials who initially spoke out against the center include most of city council’s “Democratic” candidates (municipal positions are technically non-partisan), and many of the Democratic candidates in the Houston area for county, state, and federal positions. Some of these candidates won their races.
2) THE FACTS
- a) The baby jail on Emancipation Avenue is run by mega- “non profit” SW Key, a big money operation with an abusive past.
- b) SW Key secured one kind of permit it needed (a state permit). However, the organization applied for another that was denied by the city, who initially claimed it would need a permit instead for a detention facility. Southwest Key then applied for a residency permit that would allow residents to come and go as they please. Two advocates who have visited these facilities have openly questioned this claim.
- c) SW Key was in court with the City of Houston, who initially claimed opposition to the center based on the fact that it was “housing minors” but has since softly reversed course by saying “opposition was always about the children”. Specifically, the Mayor called a press conference at City Hall with most members of City Council and a variety of other community leaders, electeds, etc. The Mayor stated he did not support separating kids from families. The press conference was June 19th, 2018: https://cw39.com/2018/06/19/mayor-turner-speaks-out-against-plans-for-children-immigration-detention-center-in-downtown-houston/
- d) The City of Houston indicated in a press release that it no longer opposes the jail and that it will now open, referring to it as a shelter for 16 and 17 year olds.
- e) The State of Texas requires all local permits to be secured in order for a facility to open.
- f) Southwest Key’s permit was secured once locks were removed from a few windows and a sprinkler system is updated (according to the City of Houston)
- g) The Mayor’s press release on the issue claims the facility is “no longer to house children”, but 16-year-olds will be housed there, making that claim questionable at best.
Here is the release the Mayor’s office put out on Valentine’s Day: https://www.houstontx.gov/mayor/press/no-immigrant-children-under-16-housing.html
- h) According to news, Southwest Key Partners was revently close to securing a permit for residency for the proposed Detention Center on Emancipation Avenue. Then, an Advocate from the Indivisible Houston community saw kids on premise through a fence. He shared such information with the Mayor’s Communications Director who, after initial pushback, confirmed the claim to be true.
- i) Southwest Key has a long history of abuse.
- a) https://www.indivisiblehouston.org/news/houston-continues-fight-against-southwest-key-baby-jail/
- c) https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2019/02/14/city-of-houston-expected-to-approve-southwest-key.html
4) TAKE ACTION!
- a) Call/Email/Tweet at City Officials.
Tell City officials to demand the State of Texas investigate Southwest Key based on its history of abuses, and to stand against the opening of a proposed baby jail on Emancipation.
Demand regular, transparent, well-publicized information about unaccompanied minors released to Houston, the self-described “welcoming city”.
Houston Permit Office
Press Secretary: @tmakrivera
A Councilmember Brenda Stardig
B Councilmember Jerry Davis
C Councilmember and Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen
D Councilmember Dwight Boykins
E Councilmember Dave Martin
F Councilmember Steve Le
Twitter: @SteveLe HTX
G Councilmember Greg Travis
H Councilmember Karla Cisneros
I Councilmember Robert Gallegos
J Councilmember Mike Laster
K Councilmember Martha Castex-Tatum
1 Councilmember Mike Knox
At-Large 2 Councilmember David Robinson
3 Councilmember Michael Kubosh
(Note: this account is protected).
4 Councilmember Amanda Edwards
5 Councilmember Jack Christie
can also sign up to speak for Tuesday afternoon Public Session by calling the
City Secretary’s office at 832.393.1100, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or coming by the office on the public level of the City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby,
Houston 77002 by 1:30 p.m. that Tuesday.
- b) Call the Lege.
Demand that your state senator and state house rep insist on in-depth investigations into Southwest Key and that all of their facilities be immediately reviewed for abuse.
Find your reps here: https://house.texas.gov/members/find-your-representative/
- c) Write letters.
Take action writing letters to Southwest Key reps.
- d) Voice your opposition to Southwest Key, their vendors, and David Denenburg via Twitter and phone.
SW Key Houston Info
***Call/Tweet and call out Southwest Key***.
Manpower staffs for Southwest Key.
***Call/tweet and demand they cease staffing the company.***
David Denenburg is active in East End construction.
***Call and write the East Downtown Management District and demand they strike him as an encouraged vendor in the East End.***
1510 Emancipation Ave, Houston, TX 77003