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Volume 86 | Number 15

FEBRUARY 16, 2017 |FREE

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NATIONAL Beyoncé

Solange

CEDRIC RICHMOND on Black battles, population

P3 FEATURE RICHARD CARRANZA HISD supports undocumented students

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SOUL SISTERS

SPORTS

TAKE THE GRAMMYS

DAVE ROBERTS shines at ESPN

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Black legislative State agenda The 85th Texas legislative session is underway in Austin and runs through May 29. See which issues Houston’s eight African-American legislators will personally focus on during the session, and why those issues are important to their constituents. Get details on the Texas Legislative Black Caucus 2017 African American Legislative Summit. Read about the panel discussions and the special guests with Texas ties. H PAGE 8

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DEFENDER | FEBRUARY 16 | 2017

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Former employees charged with stealing from TSU

Blacks need strategies to fight HIV/AIDS By JASEMINE KNOWLES Defender

The rate of HIV/AIDS in Harris County is on the rise, with Sunnyside being the hardest hit area. The City Department of Health and Human Services recently partnered with the Heterosexual HIV/AIDS Awareness Task Force and Positive Organizing Project to host a panel discussion on the issue. Jeffrey Campbell, HIV/AIDS program manager for the city, said that Sunnyside is the most impacted community in Houston. He said in Harris County in 2014, HIV/AIDS was 6.5 times higher in Blacks than whites. He added that Blacks are disproportionately affected by HIV/ AIDS because of issues such as poverty “and not because they are having more sex” than their white and Latino counterparts. “Blacks have less access to quality medical healthcare care and testing,” he said. “There is not enough education on the disease.” Campbell said there are four key strategy points to combat the epidemic: Reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV, increasing access to care and

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optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV, reducing HIV-related health disparities and achieving a more coordinated response. To do this, Campbell said it begins with a conversation. Rev. Ellen Denise Junious said the Black church is a place where HIV/AIDS-positive people come for refuge. She said it’s important for the church to reduce the stigma attached to the disease. “HIV/AIDS-positive people just want to feel loved and cared about and that’s the message the church could offer; a message of hope and healing,” Junious said. “It’s important for the church and faith leaders to get comfortable speaking and teaching about the uncomfortable to reduce the negative stigma.” For those who are non-religious, Dena Gray Hughes, who’s HIV-positive and a community activist, said the way to spread the word is to meet people where they are. “When with friends or others within your circle, strike up a conversation about HIV/AIDS and take it from there,” she said. For Sunnyside residents, the Sunnyside Health Center, 4605 Wilmington, offers free STD testing. Call 832-395-5428. Visit www.aidsvu.org for more information on HIV/AIDS in Houston and Harris County.

Two former Texas Southern University employees have been accused of stealing more than $500,000 from the school. Kennith Darden Jr. and Ashley Velasquez are each charged with felony aggregate theft after prosecutors say they worked together to squirrel away $534,379.71 stolen from the school in a little under two years, a Harris County District Attorney’s Office spokesman confirmed. The pair was indicted on charges of misappropriation of funds. The alleged theft is alleged to have occurred over several years. TSU confirms one of the employees resigned in April of last year. A spokesperson for the university says the other worked previously for the campus building and grounds department. TSU has conducted its own internal audit. Authorities say the scheme started in January 2012, when Darden allegedly began submitting fake invoices through a shell company and Velasquez, a senior administrative assistant, approved the fraudulent paperwork. It was not immediately clear whether Darden was a full-time employee or a contractor at the time. Both former workers have been indicted and instructed, through their lawyers, to surrender to authorities. “The Texas Southern University police and the university internal audit department assisted with the initial investigation of former employees and are fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation,” the college said in a statement. “No further comments are available at this time.”

localbriefs THE CITY IS CLEANING UP HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS, removing more than 156 tons of debris during 40 separate cleanups of highway underpasses, intersections and parking lots in the Midtown/Museum District area and elsewhere around the city. The cleanups are part of the city’s response to neighborhood concerns about the accumulation of trash and other debris in areas that are frequented by the homeless.  The cleanup crews do not remove items belonging to the homeless and no one is forced to leave, however, the Houston Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team is always present in case anyone chooses to take advantage of available

assistance. Since 2012, Houston has provided permanent housing for approximately 10,000 homeless individuals……..YOUNG WOMEN WILL GET A CHANCE to learn more about STEM programs as part of SUPERGirls SHINE Foundation’s ongoing effort to bridge the gap in STEM education and careers. The nonprofit is bringing together women immersed in a variety of STEM disciplines to engage girls and young ladies ages 10 to 24 as well as parents and community members in a discussion about career opportunities available to them. This event is free and takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at African American Library at The Gregory School, 1300 Victor

St……HOUSTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE IS BRINGING ATTENTION TO GLOBAL ISSUES with their U.N. Global Issues Day at HCC, 10 a.m. to noon, Friday, Feb. 24, at the HCC West Loop Campus, 5601 W. Loop South. The panel discussion is designed to help increase knowledge and understanding of key issues of importance to Houston college students and area citizens. The three topics to be discussed are: The U.S. Travel Ban/ Trump Executive Order/Refugee Resettlement Block, Human Trafficking in Houston, and The State of Race Relations in the U.S. and Abroad. Visit www.hccs.edu or call 713.718.5000.

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U.S.briefs THE WHITE HOUSE IS IN CHAOS after the abrupt resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned after it was revealed that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States. Democrats are calling for a thorough investigation to see who else knew about Flynn’s actions……. HOUSE MEMBERS WANT TO BAN JUVENILE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT. Members of Congress, including Houston U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, introduced the Maintaining Dignity and Eliminating Unnecessary Restrictive Confinement of Youths Act of 2017 (MERCY Act), which would prohibit the solitary confinement of juveniles who are tried in the federal system and held in pretrial facilities or juvenile detention facilities, barring some extremely exceptional temporary circumstances.  “When our youth are incarcerated, they are often already forced to reckon with the stark reality of the consequences of their actions – such as being separated from their friends and family and grappling with uncertain futures,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said……..THE OBAMAS ARE GETTING READY for a series of public speaking engagements according to a spokesman for the Harry Walker Agency. Barack and Michelle Obama are also in talks to sign book deals. The agency has a storied history of working with those who have been in the White House. No word on when the Obama speaking engagements will take place or when their books will be published…….GUN VIOLENCE IN CHICAGO CONTINUES to outpace last year as 27 people, including two young girls, were recently shot. Takiya Holmes, 11, was sitting in a parked car with family members when she was hit in the head by a stray bullet. A half hour later, 12-year-old Kanari Gentry Bowers was shot in the head while playing with friends at a school in the West Englewood neighborhood. Both girls remain in critical condition.

VOLUME 86 • NUMBER 15 FEBRUARY 16, 2017 Publisher Sonceria Messiah-Jiles Ad/Client Relations Selma Dodson Tyler Digital Editor LaGloria Wheatfall Art Director Tony Fernandez-Davila Proofer Maia Shelby

Editors ReShonda Billingsley Marilyn Marshall Contributing Writers Aswad Walker Jasemine Knowles Amber Vernon Sports Editors Max Edison Darrell K. Ardison

The Defender newspaper is published by the Houston Defender Inc. Company (713-663-6996.. The Defender is audited by Certified Audited Circulation. (CAC). For subscription, send $60-1 year to: Defender, P.O. Box 8005, Houston TX 77288. Payment must accompany subscription request. All material covered by 2012 copyright. (No material herein may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher).

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Census looks at Black population, other numbers

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ach year, the Census Bureau recognizes Black History Month by releasing up-todate statistics that reveal facts about the total Black population, the number of Blackowned businesses and even how many African-American military members are serving the country. Currently, the Black population stands at 46.3 million, up about 1.3 percent from the previous year. Census officials project that the population will increase to 74.5 million by July 1, 2060 and, on that date, African-Americans will account for 17.9 percent of the nation’s total population. Blacks currently comprise 12.3 percent of the population. The Census Bureau looked at other facts and figures, including one area where Blacks are lagging behind. The annual median household income for African-Americans is $36,544, compared to $55,775 for the rest of the country. More than 25 percent of the Black population lives below the poverty level, while the national average is 14.7 percent. Closing such gaps would be a tremendous challenge even in a reasonable political environment, and the current political climate is anything but reasonable, according to Congressman Cedric Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). “The battles fought and won by Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Martin Luther King Jr. are being waged again today,” Richmond said. “An unjust criminal justice system continues to decimate African-American families and communities.” Education is one area that has seen improvement among African-Americans. The Census Bureau reports that 87 percent of the Black population age 25 and over has at least a high school diploma, more than 20 percent hold a bachelor’s degree and 1.9 million have attained advanced degrees. Currently, nearly 3 million African-Americans are enrolled in an undergraduate college. Maryland civil rights activist Carl Snowden said the graduation numbers for African-Americans are encouraging, but he is concerned about other indicators of success, such as test scores. “I would be thrilled if the achievement gap was

closing at the same rate, which it’s not,” he said. Richmond cited another problem with the educational system. “Schools in many parts of the country look as though Brown v. Board of Education never happened,” he said. In the area of voting, 66.2 percent of the Black population cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election, higher than the 64.1 percent of the non-Hispanic white population who did so. Former President Barack Obama was on the ballot in 2012, and it marked the first time that the Black population voted at a higher rate than the white population since the Census Bureau started publishing statistics on voting by the eligible citizen population in 1996. Richmond, however, is concerned about the assault on voting rights, which includes the implementation of such deterrents as voter ID laws. He said the CBC would continue to push for the restoration of the Voting Rights Act and work to end discriminatory voting practices. Other Census Bureau statistics include: • The estimated number of Black-owned employer firms was 108,473 in 2014. Additionally, there’s an estimated 31,216 Black-owned health care and social assistance firms, the largest sector of Black-owned businesses. • The health care and social assistance sector is followed by professional, scientific and technical support (15,078 firms) and administrative, support, waste management and remediation services (9,644). • There were 2.2 million Black military veterans residing in the United States in 2015.

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Texas Trailblazers left their mark on history African-Americans have a rich history in the Lone Star State, and a number of pioneers are included in the Texas Trailblazer Series sponsored by the Houston Place Preservation Association and edited by Patricia Smith Prather and Bob Lee. Here a two pioneers. Julia C. Hester (1881-1940). Although she had no children of her own, Julia C. Hester was a teacher and when she was not at school she opened her beautiful Victorian home to neighborhood youth. There they were safe from the dangers of the street and under the able hands of Julia C. Hester one who helped encourage them in their education. adults. She taught school and he Julia and her husband, A. Z. was a cotton classer. The HesHester, moved to Houston as young T:4.79”ters lived in Fifth Ward and were Joshua Houston

The light from a few illuminates many. A single beacon of caring can light up an entire community. Our McDonald’s® 365Black® Awardees shine their beams of compassion in the communities they serve. It is through their example that we are all a little more enlightened. Find out more at 365Black.com

pioneer members of Payne Chapel African Methodist Church. She was active in numerous local and state organizations and had a lot to share with her students and her community. She received a higher education at Spelman Seminary in Atlanta and was born into a prominent family in Dublin, Ga. The Julia C. Hester House in Fifth Ward is named for her. Joshua Houston (1822-1902). He arrived in Texas about 1840

with the state’s most influential citizen, General Sam Houston. Though he was born a slave everyone knew that Joshua Houston was an extraordinary man. He became one of the leading citizens of Huntsville after slavery ended. Joshua was 17 years old and owned by the family of Margaret Lea when Sam Houston went to Alabama in 1839. After Sam and Margaret married, Joshua became part of the Houston household but was reportedly told that he would live as a free man in Texas. It is doubtful that even Sam Houston could have predicted that after his death, Joshua Houston would become one of the state’s first Black county commissioners or offer major financial support to the general’s widow, Margaret. He was one of the first AfricanAmericans in Huntsville to purchase land for his family in an area known as Rogersville. He owned a blacksmith and wood shop. He was active in state Republican Party politics and the Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization. He was also involved in the organization of several African-American churches in Huntsville.

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SATURDAY, FEB. 18

The Texas Southern University Jazz Ensemble and Houston Symphony will collaborate on an R&B mix tape on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. Contact: 713313-7263.

TUESDAY, FEB. 21,

From Left: Toni Braxton, Lonnie Bunch, Lauren Seroyer, Larry Tripplett, Donovan Smith, Charles Tillman, Wendy Raquel Robinson ©2017 McDonald’s

The Houston Public Library presents Bubbha Thomas and the Jazz & Poetry Series at 10 a.m. at McCrane-Kashmere Gardens Neighborhood Library, 5411 Pardee, and 2 p.m. at FreedMontrose Neighborhood Library, 4100 Montrose. Contact: www.houstonlibrary.org. The University of Houston Downtown presents a

Spoken Word Open Mic at 1 p.m. at Robertson Auditorium. It is open to students, faculty and staff, alumni and the public. Contact: guillorycry@uhd.edu or 713-2218009.

THURSDAY, FEB. 23

TSU presents A Conversation with Ashton P. Woods, focusing on Black Lives Matter and the fight against racism, at 5:30 p.m. at the School of Public Affairs Room, 114. The TSU Theater presents “The Door of No Return,” written and directed by Thomas Meloncon. Performances are Feb. 23 at 3 p.m., Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. at the Ollington Smith Playhouse. Tickets are $5 at the door. Contact: www.tsu.edu.


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LAFAYE BAKER STUNTWOMAN/COORDINATOR FIRST SUNDAY

Breaking Barriers With over 20 films to her credit, LaFaye Baker is living proof that whatever a stuntman can do, a stuntwoman can do, too… and in high heels. Join us as we celebrate women who are making magic behind the scenes. To see LaFaye’s work and more, visit Black Film & TV on XFINITY On Demand, where Black History is always on. Visit xfinity.com/CelebrateBlackTV

Restrictions apply. Not available in all areas. XFINITY TV with On Demand required. © 2017 Comcast. All rights reserved.


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Al Jarreau dead at 76 Acclaimed jazz singer Al Jarreau died on Feb. 12 at age 76. The cause of death was not released. He had been hospitalized in Los Angeles due to exhaustion. News of Jarreau’s death was posted on his website. “He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few family and close friends,” the site said. “He will be missed. The family asks that no flowers or gifts are sent. “Instead, please consider a contribution to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, a wonderful organization which supports music opportunities, teachers, and scholarships for students in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin.” Jarreau, a seven-time Grammy winner, was called “the Acrobat of Scat,” and his music spanned five decades. His hits included “We Got By,” “We’re in This Love Together” and “Moonlighting” from the 1980s TV series. He was born Alwin Lopez Jarreau in Milwaukee. His father was Al Jarreau a minister and Jarreau began singing in the church choir at age 4. He later excelled in sports and was an above-average student. In 1960, he graduated from Wisconsin’s Ripon College, where he performed with a group called the Indigos on weekends. He graduated with a B.S. in psychology and enrolled in the University of Iowa to pursue a master’s in vocational rehabilitation. Jarreau relocated to San Francisco to begin a career as a social worker. His desire to sing continued and he began performing at a jazz club with a trio led by George Duke. Jarreau eventually moved to Los Angeles and performed in various nightclubs. He gained national exposure on TV shows hosted by Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, David Frost and Mike Douglas. He received a recording contract with Warner Bros. in 1975. He won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance in 1977 for the album “Look to the Rainbow.” He received his last Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance in 2007 for “God Bless the Child,” with George Benson and Jill Scott.

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Beyoncé, Solange among Grammy winners

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t was a family affair for Beyoncé, Solange and Tina Knowles during the 2017 Grammy Awards. In one of the night’s most talked-about and lavish performances, Beyoncé, who is expecting twins with her husband Jay Z, sang two songs in a glittery gold gown and matching crown and choker. She was introduced by her mother. “I’m blessed to have daughters, wonderful daughters, all of whom make me proud with everything they do,” Tina Knowles said. “I am proud of their accomplishments, their self-confidence, and their desire to make a difference. What makes me most proud and why I’m here tonight to introduce Beyoncé is the devotion and love I see in her for her daughter and the way she has always expressed love to all of those around her.” Beyoncé won two Grammys, one for Urban Contemporary Album (“Lemonade”) and one for Music Video (“Formation”). “My intention for the film and album is to create a body of work that would give voice to our pain, our struggles, our doubts, and our history, to confront issues that make us uncomfortable,” she said. “It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow in a world, where they look in the mirror, first with their own families as well as in the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys and see themselves.” Her sister Solange won an R&B Performance Grammy for “Cranes in the Sky.” “Honestly, I feel like I won a long time ago because of all of the connectivity this album has had, particularly with Black women,” Solange said backstage in the press room. Chance the Rapper went home with three Grammy Awards: Best New Artist; Rap Performance, “No Problem;” and Rap Album, “Coloring Book.” His album was also the first streaming-only album to win the award. Other winners included: • Drake, Rap/Sung Performance, “Hotline Bling” • Gregory Porter, Jazz Vocal Album, “Take Me to the Alley” • Kirk Franklin, Gospel Album, “Losing My Religion” • Tamela Mann, Gospel Performance/Song, “God Provides” • Ziggy Marley, Reggae Album, “Ziggy Marley” • “The Color Purple,” Best Music Theater Album

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what’sup TARAJI P. HENSON took home two NAACP Image Awards. She won Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for “Hidden Figures” and Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for “Empire.” Other outstanding actor and actress awards for film and TV went to DENZEL WASHINGTON, “Fences;” STERLING K. BROWN, “This is Us;” ANTHONY ANDERSON, “Black-ish,” and TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, “Black-ish.” BEYONCÉ won multiple awards, including Outstanding Female Artist. MAXWELL won Outstanding Male Artist. DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON was named Entertainer of the Year……..Actor JADEN SMITH, the son of

WILL & JADA PINKETT SMITH, has become an environmental activist. Next month, Jaden will join other entertainers, entrepreneurs and philanthropic leaders at an Environmental Media Association investment and innovation summit in Beverly Hills. The summit’s goal is to build a community of passionate leaders dedicated to personal responsibility and making an impact on the future of the planet. Jaden is an investor in Just Water, a company that sells spring water in paper bottles……..ROBERT TOWNSEND is heading to the Ensemble Theatre to help celebrate its Art of the Theater Appreciation with “Living the Shuffle,” the amazing journey

of the actor, writer, director, and filmmaker. Robert Townsend. Townsend, a natural born storyteller, takes you on a show biz rollercoaster ride of ups and downs from the dangerous streets of Chicago, to performing Julius Caesar at a pimp convention in New York City. He also takes you behind the scenes of giving birth to his first film “Hollywood Shuffle” done with a miracle and a credit card. Townsend gives you a front row seat sharing life lessons he has learned along the way. This edgy, raw and funny show takes place Monday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ensemble, 3535 Main. For more information: 713-520-0055 or www.ensemblehouston.com

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DEFENDER | FEBRUARY 16 | 2017

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Local lawmakers tackle issues STATE SENATE BORRIS MILES State Sen., District 13

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“Education and job growth are my top priorities this session. We need to prepare our youth for a clear job path after high school, whether that’s to a community college, university or to technical fields where they can be hired after completing certification. We need to keep our kids from falling through the cracks and get them on a path to good-paying jobs, many of which do not require a college degree. To assist with this, I filed legislation expanding paid internship/externships for college and high school students, as well as offering tax credits to companies who hire interns.”

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STATE HOUSE ALMA ALLEN State Rep., District 131

“The number one issue I am focusing on this year will be HB 1404, which will allow a person with a misdemeanor to petition the court for an order of nondisclosure of their criminal history record information, if the person satisfies certain criteria. This will allow them to get a second chance in life, by making it easier to get jobs and housing despite their criminal record. African-Americans have been negatively impacted by a criminal justice system that has over-criminalized and excessively penalized non-violent behavior, and our community would greatly benefit from this legislation.”

JARVIS JOHNSON GARNET COLEMAN State Rep., District 147

“I am introducing the Sandra Bland Act in memory of Sandra Bland, and to address the harmful policies that ultimately led to her tragic death. The Sandra Bland Act aims to improve our criminal justice system and prevent future tragedies. The Act will decrease racial disparities in traffic stops and searches, strengthen Texas’ Racial Discrimination law, and increase the use of personal recognizance bonds – just to name a few of the important policies in the Act that will benefit African-Americans, as well as all Texans.”

State Rep., District 139

“My primary focus in the 85th legislative session is increasing educational and employment opportunities. I strongly believe every student deserves access to an education that will allow them to compete in a highly competitive workforce. One key way to do this is by increasing Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities in public high schools. I have filed House Bill 374, requiring the Texas Education Agency to provide all information on all CTE partnership opportunities with business and industry available regionally. This legislation will help strengthen African-American families and communities by increasing opportunities for high-skilled, high-wage employment.

RON REYNOLDS HAROLD DUTTON State Rep., District 142

“My number one issue is how to improve the education outcomes of those children at the bottom of the education ladder. For example, none of the changes that have been made in public education have eliminated Black males from always being at the bottom in education. And yet we question why do so many of our Black boys end up in our criminal justice system. We will either educate them or incarcerate them. It’s cheaper for taxpayers to educate them and will protect our democracy.”

State Rep., District 27

“My number one issue is criminal justice reform. Recent tragic events across our country have brought these issues to the forefront and I have two pieces of legislation this session to help address the glaring disparities that African-Americans face in our justice system. HB 854 would require the appointment of a special prosecutor when there is an officer-involved injury or death. The second bill will allow for a defendant to have a lawyer present in the room during grand jury proceedings. It is time to take steps to reduce the disparate impact that our criminal justice system has on African-Americans and institute reforms that apply justice fairly and equitably for all.”

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ACK LEGISLATIVE STATE AGENDA By MARILYN MARSHALL Defender

The 85th Texas legislative session is underway in Austin and runs through May 29. Bills passed by the House and Senate will have a profound impact on he state’s residents. The Defender asked the Houston area’s eight African-American legislators to address the issues they will personally focus on in Austin, and why those issues are important to their constituents. Criminal justice reform is at the top of the list, followed by education, employment and senior citizen protection.

SHAWN THIERRY State Rep., District 146

“I am tackling many issues that are critical to our community, like fixing food deserts, slumlord-owned apartments, and the rising maternal mortality rate among Black women. However, my initial priority is protecting senior citizens. I filed HB 959, the Financial Elder Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Act, which creates penalties for those who prey on the elderly with money schemes and scams. My bill also mandates that banks report any suspected financial abuse. Our grandparents are the backbones of our communities, and I will fight to provide them with protections and peace of mind during their golden years.”

SENFRONIA THOMPSON State Rep., District 141

“One of my priorities is criminal justice reform. African-Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the flaws in our criminal justice system. I am working on filing legislation to stop officers from making senseless arrests for fine only offenses, such as the case with Sandra Bland; allow parolees with good conduct to have their parole terminated sooner; make sentencing for crimes match the severity of the crime; propose grand jury reform to prevent needless indictments; and end the targeting of minority men and women by amending our racial profiling laws.”

he Houston area for over 85 years

Rushion McDonald

Black caucus hosts Austin summit The Texas Legislative Black Caucus (TLBC) will host its 2017 African American Legislative Summit from Sunday, Feb. 26 to Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the Hilton Austin, 500 East 4th St. in Austin. The theme is “Transforming Struggle into Progress.” The summit will feature panel discussions on issues impacting Black Texans, including healthcare, education, economic development and doing business with the state. Other highlights include: • Sunday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. – The Chairman’s Reception will honor Dallas entrepreneur Roland Parrish, CEO of Parrish Restaurants, with the Chair’s Award. Parrish has been featured nine times on the Black Enterprise 100 and has served as chair of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association. He has received numerous honors for his years of service and philanthropy. • Monday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m. – Ruth Simmons, raised in 5th Ward, and the first African-American to head an Ivy League university (Brown), will speak at the Scholarship Banquet. Sixty scholarships totaling nearly $150,000 will be presented to students from across the state. • Tuesday, Feb. 28, 8 a.m. – Television executive Rushion McDonald will be the keynote speaker for the Community Awards Breakfast. McDonald, a University of Houston graduate, began his entertainment career as a comedian in Houston. He later became a sitcom writer and producer of such shows as “The Parkers,” “Sister, Sister,” “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “Steve Harvey.” The TLBC is comprised of African-American legislators. The current chair is DeSoto State Rep. Helen Giddings, who succeeded former Houston State Rep. Sylvester Turner. The TLBC was formed in 1973 by eight founding members – Anthony Hall, Sam Hudson, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Mickey Leland, Paul Ragsdale, G.J. Sutton, Senfronia Thompson and Craig Washington. Registration for the summit is free. Special hotel rates are limited. Visit www.texaslegislativeblackcaucus.com to register and for more information.

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DEFENDER | FEBRUARY 16 | 2017 defendernetwork.com

IRS says avoid padding deductions, expenses This tax season, the IRS is once again warning taxpayers about the temptation to falsely inflate deductions or expenses on tax returns. Taxpayers should think twice before overstating deductions such as charitable contributions, padding business expenses or including credits that they are not entitled to receive, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit. To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. “Increasingly efficient” automated systems generate most IRS audits. The IRS can normally audit returns filed within the last three years. Additional years can be added if substantial errors are identified or fraud is suspected. Although there is no way to entirely avoid an audit, preparing an accurate tax return is a taxpayer’s best defense. Significant penalties may apply for taxpayers who file incorrect returns including: • 20 percent of the disallowed amount for filing an erroneous claim for a refund or credit.

• $5,000 if the IRS determines a taxpayer has filed a “frivolous tax return,” which does not include enough information to figure the correct tax or that contains information clearly showing that the tax reported is substantially incorrect. • In addition to the full amount of tax owed, a taxpayer could be assessed a penalty of 75 percent of the amount owed if the underpayment on the return resulted from tax fraud.

Taxpayers may be subject to criminal prosecution and be brought to trial for actions such as: • Fraud and false statements • Preparing and filing a fraudulent return • Identity theft Criminal prosecution could lead to additional penalties and even prison time. Using tax software is one way for taxpayers to ensure they file an accurate return and claim only the tax benefits they’re eligible to receive. IRS Free File is an option for taxpayers to use software to prepare and e-file their tax returns for free. Community-based volunteers at locations around the country also provide free face-to-face tax assistance to qualifying taxpayers. Taxpayers should know that they are legally responsible for what is on their tax return, even if it is prepared by someone else. Visit IRS.gov for tips on choosing a tax preparer, as well as information about expenses and audits.


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FEBRUARY 16 | 2017 | DEFENDER

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HISD supports undocumented students The Houston Independent School District Board of Education approved a resolution in support of the district’s immigrant community affected by the recent actions of the state and federal government related to immigrants and undocumented individuals in the United States. The board is well aware that there are many who are negatively impacted by proposed state legislation and travel restrictions. The issues have caused significant concern among HISD students, staff and families. Under the resolution, the district would continue its efforts to provide a supportive educational environment for all students, regardless of their background. “Our schools will continue to be safe and positive learning environments that promote student learning and development versus discrimination and fear,” said HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza. “Our schools will always be safe havens for our students; places where they not only learn fundamentals but have the opportunity to learn a new language, a different culture, and explore career pathways.”

Superintendent Richard Carranza

The resolution recognizes the rich diversity of the district while opposing any unnecessary travel restrictions that keep families apart by recognizing the stress endured by families who may be threatened by the travel bans.

The board also opposes any legislation that may repeal the DREAM Act, which allows students, regardless of immigration status, to qualify for in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

Trust gap may hinder minority students Middle school students of color who lose trust in their teachers due to perceptions of mistreatment from school authorities are less likely to attend college even if they generally had good grades, according to psychology research at the University of Texas at Austin published in the journal Child Development. Low expectations from teachers and extreme disparities in discipline for misbehavior contribute to the disproportionate mistreatment of African-American and Latino youths in schools across the United States, and can lead to a growing mistrust for authority by students who perceive and experience such biases, researchers said. “When students have lost trust, they may be deprived of the benefits of engaging with an institution, such as positive relationships and access to resources and opportunities for advancement,” said David Yeager, a UT Austin assistant professor of psychology. “Thus, minority youth may be twice harmed by institutional injustices.” In their study, Yeager and researchers from UT Austin, Columbia University and Stanford University examined 483 U.S. middle school students’ perceptions of their teachers’ impartiality and how those attitudes related to any disciplinary treatment they received and to the likelihood of on-time enrollment at a four-year college. Trust was measured based on how students identified with statements such as: “I

am treated fairly by my teachers and other adults at my school.” The researchers found that trust decreased for all students from sixth to eighth grade but declined faster for African-American and Latino students than it did for their white peers. Furthermore, students who lost more trust than expected in seventh grade were less likely to fulfill on-time enrollment at a four-year college six years later. In the study, minorities also reported more racial disparities than white students in decisions involving school discipline, with fewer than 55 percent of AfricanAmerican students expecting equal treatment after the first semester of sixth grade. Researchers tested the efficacy of a “wise feedback” intervention on improving students’ trust in a small experimental subsample of 88 white and African-American seventh-graders. In the experiment, half of the students received critiques and a hand-written note from their teacher on a first-draft essay, stating: “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations, and I know that you can reach them.” While this intervention did not influence white students, African-American students had fewer disciplinary incidents the following year (about half) and were 30 percentage points more likely to attend college than those in the control group.

Prepaid tuition deadline Feb. 28 Texas families can lock in the cost of undergraduate tuition at Texas public colleges and universities by enrolling their children in the tax-advantaged Texas Tuition Promise Fund prior to the close of the current enrollment period, which ends Feb. 28. The Texas Tuition Promise Fund, the state’s prepaid college tuition program, allows participants to prepay undergraduate tuition and school-wide required fees for a four-year degree, two years of community college or just a few semesters at Texas public colleges and universities by purchasing tuition units. “I’m encouraging Texas families and individuals to

remember the upcoming deadline to prepay and lock in today’s rates for all or some future tuition at any two or four-year Texas public college or university,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. Enrollment in the program at 2016-17 prices closes the last day in February. This deadline extends to July 31 for children younger than 1. The next annual enrollment period begins Sept. 1, with new contract prices based on Texas public college costs for the 2017-18 academic year. For more information visit TuitionPromise.org or call 1-800-445-GRAD, Option 5.


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DEFENDER | FEBRUARY 16 | 2017 defendernetwork.com

Baytown educator Olivia Messiah dead at 84

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instinct was to get the kids out of the way livia Messiah, a former Baytown educator and the and I tried to cover them with my body, and part of the ceiling fell on me.” first Black woman elected Mrs. Messiah suffered severe injuries to the Goose Creek Inin the accident, including a cervical injury dependent Consolidated School District (GCCISD) and was hospitalized for six months. She School Board, died on Feb. 14 at the age of went on disability leave for nearly three years. After much mental and physical 84. She was the mother of Defender CEO pain, Mrs. Messiah retired from her first and Publisher Sonceria “Sonny” Messiahlove – teaching – in 1970. Jiles and mother-in-law of business leader Jodie Jiles. Mrs. Messiah was a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, chef, mechanic, funeral director and mortician, musician, fisherwoman, huntress, traveler, Girl Scout troop leader, music and art teacher, mentor to many of her students, and always outspoken and forthright. She was the second of five girls born to Orvis Marvella Cartwright and Oliver Alfred, and her parents instilled the value of education at an early age. “We were not allowed to bring home any grades lower that a C,” Mrs. Messiah told the Baytown Sun in 1999. “My mother was adamant about education; she was there to motivate and stimulate us. I wish more parents would motivate and stimulate their children from conception. We were poor, but we always knew that we were going to college. In those days, the only thing Blacks could be were teachers, preachers or nurses.” Mrs. Messiah graduOlivia Messiah ated from George Washington Carver High School in Baytown Mrs. Messiah attended Lee Junior in 1948 and enrolled in Prairie View A&M College and took a course in Instructional University at the age of 13. She graduated Swimming, as well as courses leading to a from Prairie View in 1952 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education. After certification in Auto Mechanics. She then turned her attention to Mortuary Science graduation, she began teaching classes at and attended the Commonwealth College Prairie View at the age of 17. She later beof Mortuary Science. gan teaching at Harlem Elementary School After graduating in 1978 in the top 10 in the Goose Creek Independent Consolipercent of her class, Mrs. Messiah opened dated School District (GCCISD). Messiah’s Memorial Chapel Funeral Home “I enjoyed teaching the elementary in Barrett Station. In 1988 she closed the students,” she said. “I loved to see their funeral home, stating “It became too much growth and development. I had so much fun teaching that I didn’t think that I should to handle by myself.” After a long, rich history as a combe paid for it. Back then, teachers went that extra mile. We knew that we had to do munity activist and GCCISD volunteer, Mrs. Messiah decided to run for a District more than just teach.” I seat on the GCCISD Board of Trustees. After 14 years of teaching, Olivia saw In January 1993, the school board held her career come to an abrupt end in 1967. its first election under a single-member “I was bringing a dance group on stage voting plan, and Mrs. Messiah became the and part of the ceiling collapsed. My first

first Black woman elected to the GCCISD School Board. “Being a member of the school board was a heavy responsibility,” she said. “It’s not prestigious work; it’s very rewarding word. I felt as if those were my 18,000 kids, no matter what color they were.” Mrs. Messiah retired as a board member in June, 1999 due to health problems and always said her overall experience with the school board was a positive one. “My desire for the district is for the parents to get more involved,” she said after retirement. “If that happens, other things will fall into place. All kids can succeed. That is part of my nightly prayer for all 18,000 of them to succeed. When I stop caring, then it’s time for me to die,” she said with tears in her eyes. Mrs. Messiah instilled strong values in all of her children. “I taught my kids that you can be anything that you want to be and do anything that you want to do as long as you work for it. I taught them to love and respect themselves; and with God all things are possible.” She is survived by three of her proudest achievements, her children, including her daughter, Clydette Messiah, Ph.D., Assistant Principal at Hamden High School in Connecticut, and son, Clyde “C.J.” Messiah Jr., Interim Director, General Services Department, City of Houston (wife Dawn). Mrs. Messiah is survived by her three sisters, Minnie Stringfellow, Dr. L. Jean Perry and Shirley Johnson; and was predeceased by her sister, Evelyn Forward. She is also survived by her four grandsons: Jodie and Clyde Jiles; Clyde J. Messiah III (wife Brandy), and Justin Sonnier (wife Jessica); four nieces and numerous family members and friends. At the request of the family, no services will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: UT Physicians for Healthy Aging-Bellaire, 6700 West Loop South, Suite 130, Bellaire, TX, 77401. Condolences cards may be sent to: The Family of Olivia A. Messiah, Attention: Sonceria “Sonny” Messiah-Jiles, P.O. Box 8005, Houston, TX 77288.

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FEBRUARY 16 | 2017 | DEFENDER

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Four ways to stretch your health benefits for those who continue to enroll and use their benefits. Members could earn monetary rewards to use for dental, vision, LASIK, orthodontia and hearing benefits, care materials and services simply by using their benefits and keeping the benefits paid out under a specified amount.

Family Features

Often, employees enroll in medical insurance plans for protection against unpredictable events, sudden illness or serious health concerns that may result in expensive medical bills. Getting the most from your benefits requires understanding coverages and deductibles, as well as taking advantage of voluntary benefits, like dental, vision and hearing, to stay healthy and save money. Here are four helpful hints.

1

Avoid surprises. About 91 percent of adults in the United States are confused about what their benefits cover, according to a recent Harris poll. The best starting point is to review your plan so you understand the care and services covered. If you have a high-deductible plan, you will need to pay for most or a percentage of the health costs until reaching the individual or family deductible. Be prepared to pay any copayments or deductibles the plan requires before receiving care. Also, before scheduling appointments, ask for a cost estimate for the appointment, tests or service.

3

Get the facts on medical screenings. Routine health screenings, such as mammograms, immunizations, colonoscopy procedures and prostate cancer screenings, which may be covered fully or in part by your medical coverage, can help you stay healthy and lower health care costs.

2

Know about preventive dental and vision. Many voluntary plans, such as dental and vision, offer preventive exams, such as routine cleanings and vision exams, that are fully covered. That’s because these preventive exams help to maintain and improve overall health and help reduce health costs. Voluntary coverage is affordable and many plans offer added incentives. For example, coverage for LASIK, dental, vision and hearing benefits can increase from one year to the next

4

Get paid to save. Many employers encourage employees to save money by matching a percentage of the amount the employee contributes to the plan. If available, enroll in a health savings account or flexible spending account to set aside money to pay for health care costs. Remember that these accounts are not a substitute for the coverage provided by voluntary benefits. Learn more about the questions to ask when reviewing benefit plans at ameritasinsight.com.

Johnny Hollins – JG Hollins Builders & Justin Vickrey – Vice President, Allegiance Bank

A PLEDGE OF COMMITMENT. A FOUNDATION OF TRUST.

At Allegiance Bank, we don’t just serve our customers, we’re completely dedicated to their success. So it’s only natural homebuilder Johnny Hollins banks with us. Says Johnny, “Allegiance is more than a bank to your business. It’s a partner, too.” If you’re looking for a bank that feels like home, give Allegiance a call.

281-894-3200 16 locations AllegianceBank.com ABTCO-151 November Forward Times_MECH.indd 1

11/17/16 4:52 PM


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DEFENDER | FEBRUARY 16 | 2017 defendernetwork.com

sports

ESPN’s Roberts stresses diversity

Dave Roberts

By MAX EDISON Defender

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e’re familiar with the fruits of his labor on ESPN. On television, “First Take” is one of the network’s most popular shows. On ESPN Radio, “Mike & Mike,” “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” and “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” are just a sample of the award-winning shows he oversees. He is Dave Roberts, ESPN vice president of audio network content, and we had a chance to sit down and pick his brain during the broadcast of “First Take” in Houston for the Super Bowl. Roberts joined the ESPN family in 2004 as a coordinating producer, working on ESPNEWS, “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight,” this after a 25-year career in local news, both in front of and behind the camera, capped by three years as news director of WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C. (2001-2004). He was the first African-American news director in Ohio when he worked at WDTN-TV in Dayton (1987). He became Atlanta’s first Black news director Roberts (left), a vice president with ESPN, conferred with co-star Stephen A. Smith on the “First Take” set in Houston. when he joined WXIA-TV (1996). As an advocate for diversity in the Wilbon is on one of the most successful programs the camera and behind the scenes.” newsroom, Roberts has seen the worst in the in all of the broadcasting business, ‘PTI [Pardon For those considering entering the profession, industry. the Interruption].’ Michael Smith and Jemele Hill Roberts also offered advice. “It used to make me sick to my stomach to have been opinion-shapers who are now going to “You have to be prepared and that’s somewatch local news operations and network news anchor our 5 p.m. (CST) ‘SportsCenter,’ so it’s not thing I stress no matter who you are,” he said. “If operations and you’d look around and see the new,” Roberts said. you want to be in a leadership position, realize lack of diversity,” Roberts said. “Then they would Roberts was promoted to his current position that you’re going to have to work 24-7. You have wonder why the complaints would flow in about as VP in 2013. “First Take” was added to his proto realize that you have to perform at the highest the lack of balance in the programming and news fessional portfolio last November. The immense level all the time. You can’t get into this busicontent that they produce.” popularity of the show was on display in Houston ness being weak. You have to come in there being At ESPN, Roberts said he has witnessed a net- with lines stretching for blocks to be an audience strong. You have to have convictions about your work that walks the walk, not just talks the talk. member. beliefs. You have to be committed and understand “One thing that cannot be argued about is With experience both in front of and behind that the value of diversity and inclusion is paraESPN’s commitment to diversity, in front of the mount to serving the audience that represents the the camera, Roberts encourages young people in camera and behind the scenes,” he said. “The fact entire country.” the industry to explore opportunities behind the that you have a Stephen A. Smith in a position “It is a very important priority for me to scenes. where he is free to state his opinions continues make sure that there is a pipeline of other African“It’s the decision-making roles that are quite a tradition of being open to a diverse array of Americans and other people of color to make often not filled by people of color that are the opinions. sure they’re in a position to impact this business, difference makers – determining what stories are “You can go back to the late, great John especially as we head into the era that we’re in covered, what stories are talked about and debatSaunders with the ‘Sports Reporters.’ Michael ed, and [determining] the people hired in front of right now,” he said.

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FEBRUARY 16 | 2017 | DEFENDER

h.s.zone

sportsbriefs

Scott possesses key ingredient for Chavez

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By DARRELL K. ARDISON Defender

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defendernetwork.com Which Houston area boys’ team is

ranked No. 1? mber Scott is motivated by an intangible every coach loves to see. foul late in the contest, Williams received key She plays point guard for contributions from his bench. the Chavez High School Lobos. “We had a sophomore and a junior step up Despite an injury to her shooting and play some great minutes in relief for Amhand, Scott was focused on helping her team ber,” Williams said. “Myoschi Hazel and Ebony close in on the fourth and final playoff berth in Williams came through in a District 18-6A. big way for us.” With those aspiraA strong supporting cast tions hanging by a thread, for Chavez includes Kmyl Chavez took on Sam (pronounced Camille) Pete Houston in the final regu(six points), Kristie Mejia lar season game at Barnett (four points), Ariana Berry Fieldhouse, optimistic that (four points), Sylvia Ramos good things could still hapand Na’Angela Batiste. pen. Scott said she came into Scott swished her first the last game with the same shot from the left baseexpectations she had comline to break Chavez into ing into the season. the scoring column. The “I just wanted to work junior, who prides herself hard for my teammates and on playing stellar defense, try to get a victory,” she would go on to score a said. “Defense is my No. 1 game-high 10 points in the thing and I know that if I Lobos’ 31-15 victory, go hard defensively, the of“From the time that I fense will come on later.” first met Amber she’s been Scott, who also plays a leader both on and off volleyball and runs track, the court,” said Chavez began playing YMCA head coach Dote Williams. basketball when she was in “Tonight she did what she middle school. She loves normally does, and that is the physical part of the impact the game with her game and doesn’t mind passion to compete. That leaving her feet in pursuit of is the most important thing a loose ball. for us. Although she admits to “We may not be as not watching sports on televigood as some of the other sion, outside of doing hometeams that we face, but we Birth date – Aug. 11, 2000 work or spending time with her don’t quit,” Williams said. Birth sign – Leo family, playing sports occupies “Amber won’t let us quit. Favorite subject – much of her free time. She’s our leader. Her hand History “I love to compete and has been hurting for three along with my coaches and weeks. But she hasn’t missed Favorite meal – Lasagna teammates that’s what drives a practice or a game. She Possible college major – me,” Scott said. “It feels good doesn’t complain about it Sports medicine to end the season with a vicor use it as a crutch or an Role model – Claudia tory.” excuse.” Chavez finished fifth in the When Scott was forced to Blair-Scott (her mother) district standings. the sideline with her fourth

About Amber Scott

Texans head east for camp The Houston Texans announced that the team will hold its 2017 training camp at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. This is the first time the Texans will hold camp off-site, as they have spent the last 15 seasons at the Houston Methodist Training Center. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to hold training camp at the Greenbrier,” said Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith. “It’s a wonderful place and the facilities and climate combine for an ideal environment as our team trains, bonds, and prepares for the 2017 season.” The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark and world-class resort that has hosted distinguished guests from around the world since 1778, including 26 U.S. presidents. It encompasses more than 10,000 acres of rolling landscape that includes four golf courses and a multi-purpose performance Center.

Rockets represent at game The NBA All-Star Game is Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. in New Orleans and the Rockets will be represented well in the weekend of activities. For the first time in his stellar career Rocket point guard James Harden has been voted a starter on the West squad. Harden has been named an All-Star in each of his five seasons as a Rocket. His backcourt mate Eric Gordon was one of eight players selected to participate in the JBL Three-Point Contest. In his first season as a Rocket, Gordon ranks second in the NBA with 170 3-pointers made.

Girls’ playoffs on tap Two former girls’ state champions needed a win in the final 2017 regular-season game just to qualify for the postseason. Such is life in the ultra-competitive District 17-6A where 2015 state champ Cypress Woods visited two-time state champion Cy-Fair with three schools in the running for the district’s final two playoff berths. Cy-Fair prevailed 52-45 to clinch third place. Unbeaten district champion Cy-Ranch defeated Cy-Falls 54-50 to enable Cy-Woods to secure the fourth seed despite the loss. Playing without leading scorer Olivia Noah, who missed her fourth consecutive game with an ankle injury, Cy-Fair overcame a 26-13 halftime deficit. Leslie Lockridge scored 10 points during a 12-0 Cy-Fair run to grab a 35-32 lead with one minute, 26 seconds left in the third quarter. The Bobcats, state titlists in 2007 and 2010, converted seven of 10 free throws down the stretch to pull out the victory. Cy-Fair faced Bellaire in first-round playoff action while Cy-Woods took on Westside.

Delmar Fieldhouse opens The long-awaited grand opening celebration for the brand new $35.3 million Delmar Fieldhouse took place on Feb. 10. HISD Director of Athletics Marmion Dambrino welcomed the crowd and served as master of ceremonies during a program that included remarks from HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza, Board of Education President Wanda Adams and Second Vice President Jolanda Jones. Following the ceremony was a reception for guests and students along with guided stadium tours. The 139,874 square-foot facility seats 5,000 and houses six football locker rooms, one training room and offices for the athletic department director and staff.

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DEFENDER | FEBRUARY 16 | 2017

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Happening in Houston For event coverage email: events@defendermediagroup.com

topevents

KTSU 45 @ 51 JEANS & BLING PARTY……..KTSU 90.9 FM hosted the KTSU event chair Grace Macklin, Shirley Johnson, Barbara Branch, Muriel Jackson, Denise 45 @ 51 Jeans & Bling event as part of the Super Bowl LI festivities and the station’s 45th Bentham, Elise Bentham, Sandra Finger, Pamela Ireland, Demese Black, Fraulyn anniversary. It was the largest old-school party in the city during Super Bowl week, and Baisey, Sarah Brow and many others……..3rd ANNUAL MISSOURI CITY BLACK raised funds for KTSU and student scholarships. Music, food, dancing and live on-air HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION……..The City of Missouri City, along with broadcasts were part of the festivities. KTSU’s General Manager, Ernest Walker, welcomed partners St. John Missionary Baptist Church, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma the capacity crowd that included former Houston Oilers Haywood Jeffries, Ernest Givens Fraternity and Suburban Houston-Fort Bend Alumnae Chapter -Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Lorenzo White, along with Eva Pickens, Erica Vallier, hosted its 3rd Annual Black History Month Celebration at the Missouri Muriel Funches, Phyllis Frazier, Laura Crumiel, Thelma City Community Center. Along with words from Missouri City’s Defender TOP EVENTS Mayor Allen Owen and City Councilmembers Yolanda Ford, Floyd Cannon, Dwight Gates and many others……..CARNIVALE More photos on defendernetwork.com MYSTIQUE MARDI GRAS GALA……..The Delta Education Emory, Don Smith and Jerry Wyatt, participants enjoyed vendors, and Charitable Foundation (DECF) hosted the annual, signature children’s activities, cultural cuisine tasting, and musical performances fundraising event, the Carnivale Mystique Mardi Gras Gala. The event, held at the Houston by Angel Taylor and Step Rideau and the Zydeco Outlaws. The Hightower High School Marriot Westchase, raised funds for scholarships for graduating high school seniors and African Dance Group also performed. Attendees included State Rep. Ron Reynolds, Judge college students. Attendees were treated to live music, food and fellowship and silent auction. Joel Clouser, Kendrick Callis, Tammie Lang Campbell, Daisy Mitchell, Shar-day Dave Moss, president of the DECF, and wife Daphne Moss were in attendance, along with Campbell, Dedra Wanza, DaChanel Wanza and many more.

Ernest Walker, Dimitria Gibbs

Crystal Bonner, Laura Crumiel

Denise Bentham, Dave Moss, Elise Bentham

State Rep. Ron Reynolds, City Manager Anthony Snipes, City Councilmember Don Smith

Shirley Johnson, Mary Kaye Childs Henry, Downa Scott

Walaa Mousa, Cora Mitchell, Richard Chappeu

Julia Robinson-Nelson, Sheldon T. Nunn

Noelle Cunningham, Cliff Ghoram, Julie Fitzpatrick

Victoria England, LaQuesha Young

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Houston Defender: February 16, 2017