Amal Ahmed

Amal Ahmed is a general assignment reporter at the Texas Observer. Originally from Dallas, she has a journalism degree from Northwestern University and previously worked at The Atlantic and Texas Monthly. You can contact her at [email protected].
Culture

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Botched COVID-19 Precautions

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston was one of the first major American art museums to reopen its doors to the public after a month long closure due to the pandemic. As the art world lavished praise on the institution for its bold plans, employees tell a very different story.

Last November, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, pulled off the nearly impossible: Despite a global pandemic, an economic recession, and even a hurricane scare, the grand opening of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building went off without a hitch. … Read More

Environment

Robert Bullard Isn’t Done Yet

More than 40 years after the Texas Southern University professor researched the first environmental justice case, communities of color still face an uphill battle claiming their right to clean air and a healthy neighborhood. Federal environmental justice legislation could change that.

Robert Bullard Isn’t Done Yet More than 40 years after the Texas Southern University professor researched the first environmental justice case, communities of color still face an uphill battle claiming their right to clean air and a healthy neighborhood. Federal … Read More

Texas Politics

Mayoral Candidate Lily Bao Wants to Make Plano Great Again

In the growing suburb, a years-old debate about zoning policy has led to increasingly polarized rhetoric in typically nonpartisan races.

Harry LaRosiliere is, to put it frankly, looking forward to no longer being the mayor of Plano. A little over five years ago, LaRosiliere, the North Texas city’s first Black mayor, found himself in the middle of a controversy over … Read More

Border

Texas Activists Took Their Fight Against a Natural Gas Project Abroad—And They’re Winning

The Texas Railroad Commission’s about-face on natural gas flaring can be partially linked to pressure from European companies concerned about Texas’ dirty gas.

From the May/June 2021 issue. In February, members of the Texas Railroad Commission finally got the message. The three commissioners of the regulatory body that oversees the state’s oil and gas sector voted to crack down on flaring, a practice … Read More

Environment

Nobody Warned Texans About the Public Health Risks of the Winter Storm

Without advance warning about the true scale of power outages and the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, local officials say they were caught off guard, leaving residents to fend for themselves.

This story was published in partnership with Southerly. Sheletta Brundidge watched from Cottage Grove, Minn., as severe winter weather descended on her hometown of Houston in February. She worried that snow and ice could shut down power for days, and … Read More

Environment

Industrial Facilities Released Millions of Pounds of Illegal Pollution During the Winter Storm

Many of them won’t face any consequences for the excess emissions that they pumped into the air, endangering the lives of communities downwind.

When the lights went off during the winter storm last month in Galena Park, a city of 10,000 people on the east side of Houston, an eerie orange glow emanated from across the bayou that borders its southern edge as … Read More

News

ERCOT Increased Revenue and Executive Pay In Years Before Texas Power Outages

Top ERCOT officials collected six-figure salaries while failing to prepare for extreme weather events that they were warned about.

Bill Magness sat in the Texas Senate chamber for several hours Thursday, defending himself and the Electric Reliability Corporation of Texas (ERCOT) that he runs. Senators grilled him about why the state’s once-obscure electric grid operator failed to prevent one … Read More

News

Low-Income Texans Already Face Frigid Temperatures at Home. Then the Winter Storm Hit.

Power plants without insulation failed, leading to sustained blackouts. But poor insulation in homes across the state made it even harder to stay warm.

This story was published in partnership with Southerly. When the temperature dropped into the single digits last Monday night, Edilisa wrapped herself and her 9-month-old baby in blankets and huddled in the closet of her studio apartment in Austin. It … Read More

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