As part of our Voices of Houston, we are honoring members who work hard to make a difference.
Today we meet one Houston woman who’s working 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 as you help somebody else will help and just this trickle down effect, if we do good then others will do good as well,” says Shirley Ronquillo.
She’s always been inspired to help people, she says.
As a young girl she witnessed 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 the kindness of my parents to open a home to perfect strangers,” said Ronquillo.
And she wanted to extend that kindess, to help families of Latino communities navigate city and county decisions that have a direct impact on their quality of life.
Decisions on redistricting, the home buyout program, clean water, drainage issues and the one of the biggest, language barriers.
“All these emergency messages when there’s a flood, there’s a hurricane, should be released in different languages –we celebrate the diversity of Houston when it’s convenient but we don’t provide the communications that are needed so our residents can be safe,” says Ronquillo.
“In doing so, the idea is to raise awareness to our elected officials and those who make those decisions so they can see that people are affected by their decisions and number two that we really do need support,” adds Ronquillo.
Ronquillo says she hopes that by continuing to help make changes in our communities it will inspire more people to help stand up and make a difference.
“One of my hopes is also that I encourage others that even by seeing this clip or reading about this or seeing our Facebook, that someone else is inspired to speak up or take action,” says Ronquillo.