From the Left



Hurricane Harvey brings Houston together

By Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

This is not who we are on an average day. No, on an average day, especially in a city the size of Houston, one tends to live in isolation from the folks next door. We live separated by fences, more intimately involved with our screens -- smartphone, iPad, or 60-inch HD -- than with our neighbors. Nor is it just fences and screens that divide. It is also those jagged fault lines of identity: faith, sexuality, politics, and race.

But whatever else those things are, they are not the sum of any one of us. That is obvious and yet also, easily forgotten.

Then a woman who worships Allah plucks you from a rooftop.

Or a man who has a husband pulls you from a fire.

Or the guy who asked that vexing question puts a roof over your head.

You don't care who saves you. You only care that you are saved. There's a lesson in that, I think.

Miami came back. Houston will, too. And the people suffering this ordeal will someday remember it not simply for what they lost, but also for what they found. In the danger and fear, they will remember that they discovered generosity and sacrifice. They will also remember that the ordeal was endurable because they shared it with strangers who were, it turned out, not so strange after all.

And they will remember how people instinctively reached for one another when the screens had gone dark, and all the fences were down.


(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at



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