On a fateful Friday, Houston faced a severe storm that tragically claimed four lives and left hundreds of thousands without power. The Alianza Against Crime event, planned for the following day, faced uncertainty.

The Alianza Against Crime initiative brings together members of Houston’s Southwest community and law enforcement officers for open, multilingual dialogue on issues impacting their lives. Their annual large-scale event is essential for fostering connections and canceling it would be a major setback.

In those shocking hours after the storm, community activist Tammy Rodriguez and host Dorothy Fuentes, who both serve on the Gulfton Management District Board as owners’ agents, had to make a crucial decision with their fellow organizers. With so many without power and phone lines down, what should they do?

After brief consideration, they decided to proceed with the event. At the very least, the outdoor gathering could provide much-needed relief and positivity for the residents of Gulfton, a diverse neighborhood in need of celebration amidst disaster.



The Venue

Gulfton, home to many cultures, finds a community hub in the Napolean Square Apartments, making it an ideal venue for the Alianza Against Crime event. Dorothy Fuentes, the property manager, and Tammy Rodriguez, the community activist, both played a pivotal role in organizing the event to bring the community together and provide valuable resources and support.

Alianza Against Crime 2024

Despite the power outage and uncertainty, vendors set up their booths early on Saturday morning. The Houston Police Department (HPD), Houston Fire Department, Police Activity League (PAL), Gulfton Management District, Gulfton Citizens Advisory Council,  Distrct J Patrol, DA, Mexican Consulate Houston, S.W.A.T., Mountain Patrol, HPD Lion Dancers, Tierra Caliente, COH-DON, Congress Woman Leslie Fletcher, Mi Familia in Acción, New Americans, Juntos, WIC and Houston Health were among the many organizations present.



The Houston Fire Department brought their fire truck, and HPD’s helicopter and Polaris vehicle were major attractions. Residents had the opportunity to interact with these displays and take photos. Music filled the air as an HPD officer played DJ, and visitors of all ages danced to the rhythm.



The Police Activity League (PAL) set up a blow-up basketball game, giving kids a chance to play alongside police officers. This might have been the big hit of the day, with children lining up to shoot hoops repeatedly.

Among the hundreds of Gulfton residents were several notable visitors, including Mayor Whitmire, Council Member Edward Pollard, Chief of Police Larry Satterwhite, Assistant Chief of Police Yasar Bashir, Commander Samanda Rubin and Gulfton Management District board members Wilfredo Velasquez (property owner) and Azeb Yusef (owners’ agent).


Council Member Edward Pollard was an early attendee. He welcomed residents and encouraged dialogue to better understand how he could serve his district.

Mayor Whitmire took photos with residents and talked with them about their lives, needs, and goals for the community. In a speech before leaving, he vowed to restore power as soon as possible and asked to be invited back.

Residents enjoyed gathering information, donations, and freebies from various booths while experiencing the presence of dignitaries and important figures in their neighborhood. The presence of these officials assured residents that they were not alone in their situation but had the support of their city leaders.

Throughout the event, residents who visited all booths were entered into a raffle to win basketball hoops, TVs, and bicycles.

Why these events matter

Less than 24 hours before the event, a storm hit Houston, leaving the 1,400-unit community without electricity and the entire area suffering from power outages. Despite the uncertainty and communication challenges, organizers knew the event was more critical than ever. Residents from three nearby properties, also without power, joined the event, resulting in over 300 attendees. It was evident that day that the event was making a significant difference.

The next day, the long-term impact of these events began to sink in. Dorothy set up a table with breakfast tacos, coffee, and ice water for residents still reeling from the storm’s impact.

A seven-year-old boy rushed to the table and asked if his “friends” were coming. When Dorothy asked who he was talking about, the boy replied, “My friends, the police playing basketball.”

After she explained that they wouldn’t be there but were likely making new friends elsewhere, he responded, “Oh, maybe they are visiting my friend from school.”

At that moment, Dorothy knew these events really do make a difference. Positive connections are truly made, and things really can get better.


Power Restoration and Moving Forward

By Sunday afternoon, power was restored to the residents of Napolean Square Apartments, prompting some to exclaim, “The mayor kept his promise!”

It was a sigh of relief to end a weekend of ups and downs.

The Alianza Against Crime event is held in Gulfton every year in loving memory of Commander Vidal Lopez. In 2024, it took on special significance because of the storm. The lessons learned and relationships built will undoubtedly continue to inspire and uplift the neighborhood all the way to next year’s event. Organizers are already at work planning how to make it even better.


The photo full gallery is available at: https://upstanding.pixieset.com/gulfton-alianzaagainstcrime/