Why HERO matters to people over 50

Click here to read the original article at the Houston Chronicle.

A historic opportunity awaits Houston voters on Nov. 3, as well as during early voting from Oct. 19 through Oct. 30. It’s imperative that Houstonians vote to protect older people and others in this community by supporting Proposition 1, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).

As the Texas director of AARP, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization for all persons age 50 and older, I am proud that this Association — with 38 million members, including more than 2.2 million in Texas — believes firmly in the fundamental right of all people to be free from discrimination.

Approval of HERO by voters would help ensure that Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, provides its residents and visitors with an environment free of discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy.

For older workers, grandparents, unpaid family caregivers, and others age 50 and older who bring vitality to Houston, there’s good reason to afford them and others the protections offered by Proposition 1 (HERO). Houstonians should be able to find work, seek housing and attain city services free from discrimination. These are more than just basic rights that must be enshrined in law; they are key tenets to ensuring that Houston continues to prosper as a great place to live for people of all ages.

With nearly 700,000 households in Harris County headed by someone age 50 or older, Houston should build upon, and do nothing to damage, its growing reputation as a livable community. Proposition 1 (HERO) will be a stand against discrimination and also help protect the financial security of older persons assuring that they are not discriminated against in the workplace and in housing.

I urge Houston voters to support Proposition 1, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Bob Jackson is the AARP Texas director. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization advocating for the interests of people age 50 and older. AARP has 38 million members nationwide, including more than 2.2. million Texans.

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