Texas — No power to homes, businesses and schools in Texas had families scrambling for heat and students worrying about in-person and distance learning.
Three elementary and high school students share their experiences in the aftermath of the devastating winter storm they say the state’s infrastructure couldn’t handle, and their criticism of those in power.
“Some school districts suggested that students may not have a spring break because of the week-long power cuts. In North Texas, both in-person and online schools are closed because teachers are unable to drive to work. As main water lines are freezing over families are unable to find water to drink, cook, or fuel their sanitary systems. Some households have resorted to using snow in their toilets and sinks because of the lack of water. As a result of this lack of filtered water, grocery and wholesale stores are wiped clean of water bottle crates, and gallon jugs. Another large issue during this crisis was food security. Grocery stores had little to no vegetables, and many dairy products were unavailable to shoppers.”
“The abundance of grassroots-level, community-led activism to help our neighbors who were suddenly put in incredibly precarious positions proved that it didn’t matter whether our irrational senator [Ted Cruz] escaped to Cancun while millions of people were suffering. In fact, given his inactiveness, he might as well have been in Cancun this entire time. My family was incredibly lucky in that we were afforded intermittent power throughout the week; for many, that privilege was unattainable. While I never quite imagined my senior year of high school to be marked by a pandemic and a weather crisis, I nonetheless am astounded by the collective action of my peers and hope that these actions will help uplift our robust state out of these unprecedented times.”
“The power outages shut down schools and the lack of electricity exposed the lie that virtual learning is an equitable possibility, as those without societal power were affected the most. After 15 hours without heat, my mother's friend, her family and newborn came to stay with us. With the pandemic, sold out hotels and icy roads, options were scarce. I am 14 and already lack trust in politicians. The notion of a political leader going on vacation amid a crisis felt infuriating, though not surprising. Attempting to save face, Senator Cruz tweeted, "With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon." I do not want to criticize his parenting, but being a good dad does not mean using your children as an excuse for your actions. It does not mean retreating during a crisis. I have witnessed people thinking beyond their own families, helping neighbors, and making sacrifices during this time. This is the way.”