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Willowridge track star Aviante Collins continues tradition P11

Houston’s Leading Black Information Source

Volume 81 | Number 22 WEEK OF MARCH 29, 2012 | FREE


DON THOMPSON named McDonald’s CEO


USHER portrays boxer in film

P5 Photo by Bob Levey


COMMENTARY Stop racial profiling

Trayvon Martin:

Houston demands justice H Page 6


Carmen Watkins, Yvette Chargois and Rep. Alma Allen honored during Women’s History Month


Jasmine Guy

Courtney Lee

Actress Jasmine Guy is perhaps best known as Whitley Gilbert on the sitcom “A Different World,” which ran from 1987-1993. She’s also an accomplished singer, dancer, director and writer. Guy currently appears in the film “October Baby,” a true story about a teen who survived a botched abortion as a 24-week-old fetus.

Before he became a Houston Rocket, Courtney Lee was part of a trade that rudely introduced him to the business side of the NBA. “Things happen so you can’t take it personal,” Lee says. “You’ve got to just go out there and keep working.” The Rockets are glad to have Lee working for them, and are pleased with his versatility.

welcomes roles

H Page

works for Rockets

5 • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years

H Page 10




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The Assassination of the Black Male Image is a compelling exposé of the truth behind society’s racial and sexual stereotypes of Black men. Author Earl Ofari Hutchinson counters the image of Black men as a population entrenched in crime, drugs and violence.

Emmett Till

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HISD stands by



student test scores


Defender News Services

he Houston Independent School District is disputing a recent newspaper report that names the district as one of those with suspicious test scores. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution conducted a national analysis of test score data in search of schools with significant score fluctuations. The newspaper considers such fluctuations to be possible signs of cheating. The report analyzed test results for 69,000 public schools and said it found high concentrations of suspect math or reading scores in school systems from coast to coast. The test scores resemble those that entangled Atlanta in a 2011 scandal, in which 178 teachers and 38 principals were found to have participated in cheating in the district. “HISD has reviewed the results of the testing data analysis performed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,” said Superintendent Terry Grier in a letter to the newspaper. “It is important to note that the strong achievement gains posted by students in the classrooms of the overwhelming majority of HISD teachers have never been called into question.” The report, however, used Houston as an example of suspect test scores. “In Houston, for instance, test results for entire grades of students jumped two, three or more times the amount expected in one year, the analysis shows. When children moved to a new grade the next year, their scores plummeted – a finding that suggests the gains were not due to learning,” said the report. It added that its analysis suggested a broad

betrayal of schoolchildren across the nation. “As Atlanta learned after cheating was uncovered in half its elementary and middle schools last year, falsified test results deny struggling students access to extra help to which they are entitled, and erode confidence in a vital public institution,” stated the report. Grier stressed that HISD does not tolerate cheating. “On the rare occasion when allegations of

possible cheating arise, HISD has demonstrated its commitment to investigating those allegations thoroughly and holding accountable those who are found to have participated in cheating,” he said. “The Houston Independent School District is committed to ensuring that all students make

strong academic progress each year under the guidance of effective teachers and principals. One of the many ways HISD measures teacher and principal effectiveness is by analyzing their students’ performance on multiple academic exams.” Grier listed some of the test security measures implemented by HISD in recent years. He said they include: • HISD teachers no longer administer statemandated exams to their own students. Exceptions are made in rare special cases. • HISD established the HISD Alert Line (800.455.9551) for anyone to anonymously report suspicions of testing impropriety. • On each campus, all testing materials are kept in locked rooms that must be certified by a central office staff member. Only the principal and campus test coordinator are permitted to possess keys to these rooms. These rooms are also monitored by video camera where feasible. • On testing days, HISD dispatches trained test security monitors to witness campus security procedures, observe classroom testing, and look for signs of testing impropriety. These monitors do not work for the schools to which they are assigned. Every campus has at least one monitor. Larger campuses have multiple monitors. • From 2010 to 2011, HISD received 31 reports of possible testing impropriety. Twenty-two of the 31 cases were referred for further investigation by an independent law firm. In nine of the 31 cases, cheating was confirmed to have occurred. Continued on Page 9

localbriefs SUNNYSIDE WILL GET A FACELIFT with a new clean-up and beautification initiative titled Re-Pride Sunnyside. It kicks off Saturday, March 31, at 8:30 a.m. at Sunnyside Park, 3502 Bellfort. Spearheaded by the Mayor’s Department of Neighborhoods, District D City Councilmember Wanda Adams and State Rep. Borris Miles, Re-Pride Sunnyside will involve the participation of 150 student volunteers from Worthing High School. The project will target the area bounded by the 610 South Loop, Cullen Boulevard, Reed Road and Scott Street. “Sunnyside represents a vital part of Houston’s rich history,” said Mayor Annise Parker…….. UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON BLACK STUDENTS

of the 1960s and ‘70s will reunite in Houston on Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1. The gathering is part of the celebration of 50 years since admission of the first Black student at UH. The reunion will feature educational and social events and a silent auction.  Proceeds will benefit SHAPE Community Center. Registration information and a schedule of events are available online at THE HOUSTON AREA ALLIANCE OF BLACK SCHOOL EDUCATORS (HAABSE) received $25,000 from the Aramark/Quality Hospitality joint venture in honor of the organization’s 25th anniversary. The contribution – named the Larry Marshall Living Legend

Award – was presented at the 2012 Teacher Awards and Recognition Ceremony by Aramak partner Darryl King. “The HAABSE has done an outstanding job marshaling resources and creating advancements in education that make me proud to be a partner and supporter,” King said…….. NORTH FOREST SCHOOL DISTRICT has reportedly paid more than half a million dollars in superintendent buyouts since 2000. The most recent buyout went to Adrain Johnson, who received approximately $134,000 after being placed on indefinite administrative leave in 2011. The Texas Education Agency plans to close North Forest on July 1 and has ordered HISD to annex the 7,500-student district. • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years




Supreme Court deciding fate of health care act


Defender News Services

fter three days of arguments over the validity of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on President Barack Obama’s national health plan in June. Public interest in the hearings was so high that the Supreme Court provided audio recordings and transcripts of the oral arguments through its website. Protestors for and against the act chanted and marched outside the high court’s building. Justices offered different opinions on the law. “Those who don’t participate in health care make it more expensive for everyone else,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in support of the law. “It is not your free choice” to stay out of the market for life, she said. Justice Anthony Kennedy had another view, and said that the government “is telling an individual he has the obligation, he must act” and buy insurance. “That threatens to change the relationship between the government and the individual in a profound way,” Kennedy said. The debate over the health law, dubbed “Obamacare” by some critics, puts the high court in the middle of an intense partisan battle. Republicans are leading

President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

the fight to kill the law either by the court or through congressional repeal. If upheld, the Affordable Care Act will dramatically change the way insurance companies do business. It would forbid them from denying coverage due to preexisting medical conditions and limiting how much they can charge older people. Obama signed the act into law in 2010, saying it would make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans. “By 2014 when the law is fully implemented, people will be able to purchase private insurance coverage through new state-based markets called exchanges, which will offer a way to get insurance that isn’t provided by – or tied to – an employer,” he said. “Americans will have the security of knowing they don’t have to worry about losing or finding coverage if they’re laid off, change

jobs, or are self-employed. And further patient protections will take effect: insurers won’t be able to deny care to anyone based on a pre-existing condition, or limit the amount of care they’ll cover over a person’s lifetime.” Republicans disagree with Obama’s assessment. “This presidency has been a failure, and the centerpiece of that failure is this piece of legislation… Obamacare,” said GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a campaign stop. “Most Americans want to get rid of it, and we’re among those Americans. I want to get rid of it, too.” Obama, however, stands by his plan, including parts of the law already in effect. “The law has made a difference for millions of Americans, and over time, it will help give even more working and middleclass families the security they deserve,” he said.

McDonald’s names first Black CEO Defender News Services

On July 1, Don Thompson will officially become the first African American to lead McDonald’s, the world’s largest food service retailer. Thompson will replace Vice Chairman and CEO Jim Skinner, who is retiring after 41 years with the corporation. Thompson, 48, is currently

president and COO of McDonald’s, and has directed global strategy and operations for more than 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries. He previously served as president of McDonald’s USA from 2006 until 2010. “Don Thompson is well prepared for the CEO role, and under his leadership, our company will continue to meet the needs of our Continued on Page 9

U.S.briefs FIVE BLACK WOMEN DIE NEEDLESSLY per day from breast cancer in the U.S., reports a study funded by the Avon Foundation for Women and conducted by Sinai Urban Health Institute. The 2012 Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality Study found that 21 of the 25 largest U.S. cities have a disparity among Black and Anglo women in breast cancer mortality. Recommendations for preventing deaths include ensuring that all women understand the importance of breast health screening, have access to screening, receive high-quality treatment in a timely manner and complete the recommended therapy…….. FEDEX WILL PAY $3 MILLION to settle charges of hiring discrimination brought by the U.S. Department of Labor. The shipping giant will pay back wages and interest to more than 21,000 applicants rejected for jobs at 23 facilities in 15 states, including Texas. The affected workers include men and women of all ethnicities who were rejected for entry-level package handler and parcel assistant positions. Those seeking information on the settlement can call a toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit THREE MISSISSIPPI MEN WHO KILLED A BLACK MAN last June pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes, one day after one of the defendants pleaded guilty to the slaying in state court. Dylan Butler, 20, Deryl Dedmon, 19, and John Aaron Rice, 19, are charged in the death of James Craig Anderson, a 47-year-old auto plant worker. Dedmon said he and friends were partying when they decided to find a Black person to harass. They found Anderson in a hotel parking lot and beat him. Dedmon then drove over Anderson, a chilling scene captured on a hotel tape. Dedmon received two life sentences on the state charges. He and his coconspirators face life sentences on a hate crime federal charge, and up to five years in prison on a conspiracy charge. The victim’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Dedmon but asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty because they oppose capital punishment.

VOLUME 81 • NUMBER • 22 WEEK OF MARCH 29, 2012

Publisher Sonceria Messiah-Jiles Advertising/Client Relations Selma Dodson Tyler Associate Editors Reshonda Billingsley Marilyn Marshall Art Director Tony Fernandez-Davila

Columnist Yvette Chargois Sport Editors Max Edison Darrell K. Ardison Contributing Writer Aswad Walker Webmaster Corneleon Block

The Defender newspaper is published by the Houston Defender Inc. Company (713-663-6996.. The Defender 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). • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years




Jasmine Guy

welcomes different roles By KAM WILLIAMS Defender


orn in Boston in 1962, Jasmine Guy is a Renaissance woman with dancer, actress, singer, director and writer on her resume. She performed in the Broadway productions of “The Wiz,” “Leader of the Pack,” “Grease” and “Chicago,” and she also served as a stage director and choreographer on numerous occasions. Still, the versatile entertainer remains best known for her work in television, especially for creating the iconic character Whitley Gilbert on “A Different World.” Her other TV credits have included recurring roles on “The Vampire Diaries,” “Fame,” ‘Touched by an Angel,” “Melrose Place” and “Dead Like Me.” On the big screen, Jasmine appeared in such movies as “School Daze,” “Harlem Nights” and “Stomp the Yard 2.” She is the author of “Evolution of a Revolutionary,” a book about the life and journey of Afeni Shakur, and she released an album on Warner Brothers Records in 1990.

She is currently producing director of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta, where she resides with her daughter. Here, she talks about her new movie,” October Baby,” a faith-based morality play inspired by the true story of a troubled teenager who discovered she survived an attempted abortion as a 24 week-old fetus. KW: Did you do anything different to prepare for this role?

Jasmine Guy

Jasmine: I knew Nurse Mary. There was little to prepare, just my own experience lent myself to the character. KW: Was there anything different about working on “October Baby” from other films you’ve done? Jasmine: The cast and crew were very positive, warm, and inviting. I felt comfortable and embraced on set. KW: This dramatic role is very different from the comedies you are known for? What attracted you to “October Baby?” Jasmine: I was attracted to Nurse Mary because she was older and alone, full of stories to share and secrets she had harbored for many years. KW: What’s your secret to embodying memorable characters? Jasmine: I always try to honor a character by being honest and truthful to who they are, in spite of my own personality and beliefs. I also like to embody them physically and remove my own thoughts, walk and mannerisms from their portrayal. KW: What message do you think people will take away from “October Baby?” Jasmine: I think people will be reminded to be safe and thoughtful in their intimate relationships and not

just use sex for recreational purposes. KW: How did co-directors Jon and Andrew Erwin protect the subtle emotional drama from the politics that surround the movie’s incendiary topic? Jasmine: In my one scene in the movie I felt Jon and Andrew left me to interpret Nurse Mary as I saw her. They created a freedom on the set that was uplifting and created a confidence that was contagious. KW: “A Different World” created a positive impact on the AfricanAmerican community in terms of college enrollment. What is your assessment of today’s images of African Americans onscreen? Jasmine: I’ve always known the greatness of Black people. We come from intellectuals, philosophers, educators and activists. We are not a monolithic group of people bound by color. It is up to us as individuals, parents, teachers and communicators to teach that to our people and our broader community. I think it’s dangerous to depend on the media or the entertainment industry to facilitate that knowledge. KW: You directed the musical “I Dream” and the play “The Colored Museum.” Would you consider directing a movie in the future? Jasmine: I would love to direct a movie, something I really like with a great cast. What a dream!

What’sup USHER calls his upcoming movie role “incredible.” He will portray Sugar Ray Leonard in “Hands of Stone,” a film about Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran. Usher is currently training for the role while working on an album abroad. “If you guys see me running around London that’s what it is,” he said. “If you see me in the corners boxing, I’m doing that while working on this album.” Leonard won world titles in five different weight divisions. He retired from boxing in 1997 after making several comebacks……..QUEEN LATIFAH remains one of the hardest working women in Hollywood. She will star in the Lifetime remake of “Steel Magnolias,” which chronicles the lives of six women who congregate in a Louisiana beauty salon. The cast includes ALFRE WOODARD, JILL SCOTT, ADEPERO ODUYE

and mother-daughter duo PHYLICIA RASHAD and CONDOLA RASHAD. Latifah also joins TERRENCE HOWARD in the film “House of Bodies,” a thriller about a deaf boy who develops a friendship with a phone operator and gets entangled in a series of murders…….. BOBBY WOMACK has been diagnosed with cancer after being hospitalized with a bout of pneumonia. His longtime friend BOOTSY COLLINS wrote on Facebook that Womack was in the first stage of colon cancer but was upbeat about his future. He asked fans to send Womack prayers and “love vibes.” Womack’s latest album, “The Bravest Man in the Universe,” is scheduled for a June release……..ARETHA FRANKLIN celebrated her 70th birthday at a New York City hotel. The celebration included a sit-down dinner, dance performance

and jazz concert. Guests included Rev. Al Sharpton, Diane Sawyer and Aretha’s one-time fiancé, Willie Wilkerson. The Queen of Soul announced that she is reuniting with Clive Davis for a new album……..WHITNEY HOUSTON’S family found some closure with the release of autopsy reports. “We are saddened to learn of the toxicology results, although we are glad to now have closure,” said Patricia Houston, the singer’s sister-in-law and manager. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office determined that Houston, 48, accidentally drowned after an apparent heart episode, with cocaine as a contributing factor. Results showed that Houston also had marijuana, Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril, and the allergy medication Benadryl in her system when she died Feb. 11 at the Beverly Hilton. • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years




Texas Southern University students organized a campus rally to protest the killing of Trayvon Martin. Photo by Bob Levey



he growing national uproar over the pursuit and killing of unarmed, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the inexplicable lack of response by law enforcement regarding Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, has come to

Houston. Multiple rallies have been held as Houstonians lend their support to calls for the arrest of Zimmerman and for a movement that extends beyond the case. Texas Southern University students and SHAPE Community Center’s 3903 Almeda location recently hosted separate rallies on the same day with similar agendas. Attendees and organizers ranged from members of the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party to union representatives, civic club captains and local families. A common theme rang through all events – demands that Zimmerman be held accountable for his actions. Local activist Deric Muhammad spoke of individual accountability, leading rally participants gathered at SHAPE in a declaration of personal responsibility to love themselves and their brothers and sisters around them. “We can’t protest the negative actions of others against us if we do not address the violence we inflict upon each other,” said Muhammad. Also speaking at the SHAPE event was Bobbie Tolan, a young Black male who was shot in his own driveway by a Bellaire police officer three years ago – an officer who was found not guilty of any wrongdoing. Tolan urged rally participants to remain vigilant in seeking justice, a message that was expressed

a few hours earlier at the Texas Southern rally by speakers including Gary Bledsoe, head of the Texas NAACP; Rev. William Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and Jylise Smith, TSU’s NAACP Student Chapter president.

College student participation

Some TSU students attended the campus rally to learn more about the Martin case while others were clear on what they hoped the national outcry for justice would produce. “I’m really not too informed about the situation. I just know that it was a killing of a 17-year-old boy who had a hoodie on, Skittles and an Arizona [tea],” said TSU freshman Ryan Pierce. “That’s basically why I’m here,” Pierce said. “It could have happened to me, being a young AfricanAmerican male. I’m just hoping to see that the killer gets whatever any other killer would get. He should be held to the same standards of anyone else who kills somebody.” Sophomore accounting major Shariese Martin believes the case should focus solely on Zimmerman’s actions, which included following Martin, ignoring police directives to stay in the car without approaching him, and fatally shooting the teen. “It has nothing to do with race, or if Trayvon was right or if he was wrong. Zimmerman broke all protocol,” said Shariese Martin. “If [Zimmerman] would have done what he was supposed to do, it would have never got to this point.” TSU freshman biology major Jamilah Morris attended the rally because she personally felt a connection to Martin’s death. “I had three brothers who were killed with no justice too, so this really hits close to home,” said Morris. “Justice for Trayvon means that the person who did this gets what he deserves. He should be put away. And it shouldn’t be just for Trayvon, but for all the people who get away with [murdering Black youth]. It needs to stop. This is bigger than Trayvon.”

Elected officials speak out

Earlier, rallies were held at Emancipation Park in Third Ward and on the steps of City Hall downtown. U.S. Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee were in attendance at the City hall rally, along with members of the NAACP, LULAC and other organizations and churches. “We’re here to shed light on the injustice, not only in the Trayvon case but all cases of injustice,” said Reginald Lillie, president of NAACP Houston. Congressman Green, dressed in a black hoodie, echoed the crowd’s sentiments regarding Zimmerman when he said, “We will not rest until there has been an arrest.” “We are announcing that Houston today is joining the official Trayvon Martin movement,” said Jackson Lee with bag of Skittles in hand. Following Trayvon’s death, Jackson Lee wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that the Department of Justice is investigating conduct a “thorough and complete federal investigation into the serious allegations made against Neighborhood Watch Captain George Zimmerman, regarding the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin” and an investigation into the Sanford PD’s handling of the case. “The Department Of Justice must look into why [Zimmerman] has not been arrested,” said Jackson Lee. “I am deeply troubled and concerned about the rising tide of violence among America’s children.” The day that Jackson Lee wrote the letter, the Justice Department announced that its Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the FBI, would conduct an independent investigation parallel to that of the local authorities in Florida. At a press conference held in Sunnyside,

Green said: “My hope is that the investiga Department of Justice, along with the wor grand jury that has been convened, will br to Trayvon’s family. I support that the Dep Justice investigates the February 26th shoo of this young man and I pray that they respond appropriately.” Speakers at the Houston rallies concurred with Deric Muhammad that the fight for justice for Trayvon Martin and others is a marathon rather than a sprint. “Let this not be a moment, but rather a movement,” said Muhammad. • Serving th



Tracy Martin (center) and Sybrina Fulton (right), parents of Trayvon Martin, take part in a New York rally.

Trayvon’s parents relive ‘nightmare’

ation by the rk of the ring justice partment of oting death

Houston’s national presence

Local community leaders, including Jackson Lee and Green, have not only participated in Houston’s rallies for Trayvon Martin, but also travelled to Florida to support Martin’s parents and attend rallies in the city where the crime occurred. Kofi Taharka, national chairman of the National Black United Front, and Bishop James Dixon, pastor of Community of Faith, also made the journey. Dixon recently introduced a new campaign to area leaders, “Be Your Brother’s Keeper, Not Your Brother’s Killer,” to promote the concept of multi-racial brotherhood and the sanctity of life by discouraging violence.

Some students wore hoodies during the TSU protest. Photo by Bob Levey

e Houston area for over 80 years

By George E. Curry NNPA Special Contributor


n the night of Feb. 26, Tracy Martin and his girlfriend had gone out to dinner in Sanford, Fla., leaving his 17-year-old son, Trayvon, behind at the townhouse with plans to watch the NBA All-Star game scheduled to be televised at 7 p.m. from Orlando’s Amway Center. Trayvon decided to walk to a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store to pick up a bag of Skittles candy and a can of iced tea before settling in to watch East vs. West all-stars. On his way back to the gated community, however, Trayvon was stalked by George Zimmerman, a non-Black neighborhood watch captain armed with a 9-millimeter handgun and a head full of stereotypes about African-American males. According to 911 tapes, Zimmerman, 28, told the emergency police dispatcher that he had spotted a suspicious young male walking in the neighborhood. “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He is on drugs or something.” Zimmerman said, “These —holes. They are always getting away.” When the dispatcher asked Zimmerman if he was following the young man in his vehicle, Zimmerman confirmed that he was. The 911 operator said, “OK, we don’t need you to do that.” Still, Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon, who was unarmed. At one point, Zimmerman got out of his SUV, confronted Trayvon and fatally shot him in the chest. Tracy Martin was unaware that his honor roll son, who was visiting from Miami, had been killed around 7 p.m. that Sunday. Martin, along with Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton; Benjamin Crump, the family lawyer; Al Sharpton and former New York Gov. David Patterson participated in an exclusive telephone conference call with more than three dozen publishers from the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Martin told publishers how he learned that his son had been killed. “I had been out to dinner. When we got back between 10:15 and 10:45, he wasn’t at home. The night before, he had been to the movies with my nephew, who had recently moved

up to the Orlando area from Miami. Every time Trayvon would come up here, they would find something to do. Usually they would go to dinner. My nephew is 20 years old, a very responsible young man. So there was not panic at that moment that he was not home. “I made several attempts to call his cell phone and it was going straight to voicemail. I called my nephew’s cell phone and it was going straight to voicemail. So at that point, I figured they had been in the movies because they would always go to the movies.” The next morning Tracy Martin and his girlfriend went to bed. But the next morning, the day Martin and his son had planned to return to Miami, he learned that Trayvon still wasn’t back in the house. Tracy called his nephew again, this time reaching him and learning that Trayvon wasn’t with him. “I had [his girlfriend] call juvenile justice, just to check and see if anyone by the name of Trayvon Martin had been picked up. No Trayvon Martin,” Tracy said. “My next call was to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department to see if any kid had been picked up. “My third call was to a non-emergency number at the Seminole County Sheriff’s Department and I informed them that I was filing a missing person’s report. I let them know it hadn’t been 24 hours, but it was unusual for Trayvon not to return home. I told them we were supposed to be leaving that morning when we woke up. “They asked me a few questions about him: date of birth, height, complexion, weight and they told me they would dispatch a unit. Five minutes later, she called me back and asked what he was last wearing. I gave them a description of the clothes that he had on last. She said a unit would be out.” At that point, Tracy Martin still had no clue that his son was dead. “I got up, got on clothes, went outside because I knew my kid was going to walk back up to the door,” Martin said. “Instead, three cars pulled up to the door, one of them an unmarked police vehicle. “The first officer approached. I introduced myself and told him I was filing a missing person’s report. The second person to

Continued on Page 8




Defender commentary

Do your part.

Stop racial profiling! As the outcry surrounding the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin continues, one of the issues in the case concerns racial profiling. It is a major problem across America, and occurs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trayvon’s family traveled to Washington, D.C. recently to meet with lawmakers studying racial profiling and hate crimes. The Martins believe that their son was targeted by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman because he was a young Black man walking in a gated community. “I think it was just in his mind that he was going to confront my son,” Tracy Martin said of Zimmerman. “Whether my son was doing anything or not, he just wanted a confrontation.” Many in our community agree with Tracy Martin. Trayvon wasn’t burglarizing a house, stealing rims or carjacking a neighbor – he was minding his own business. If Zimmer-

man had left him alone as he was instructed to do, Trayvon would still be alive. According to the ACLU, the legal definition of racial profiling is “the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. “Examples of racial profiling are the use of race to determine which drivers to stop for minor traffic violations (commonly referred to as “driving while black or brown”), or the use of race to determine which pedestrians to search for illegal contraband.”

It might be time for a new, broader definition of racial profiling. African Americans continue to be singled out and discriminated against solely because of the color of their skin. It doesn’t matter if they’re rich or poor, young or old, male or female. It doesn’t matter if they’re dressed in a business suit or wearing a hoodie. At one time, we were racially profiled when we tried to sit at the front of the bus or drink from a public water fountain. Today we are likely to be profiled when we apply for a loan, interview for a job, try to buy a house or attempt to rent an apartment. This type of racial profiling is a major injustice and it has to stop. That’s why it’s also time for a new movement to combat an issue that impacts African Americans on so many different levels. Change begins with each of us. We must make our voices heard, register to vote and cast our ballots. We must hold police departments, the judicial system and elected officials accountable. We must rally and march to show our nonviolent resistance to racial profiling. We must get off our behinds and do our part to stop racial profiling.

Trayvon Martin... Continued from page 7 approach was a plainclothes detective. He asked me if I had a recent picture of Trayvon and it just so happened that I had taken a picture in my camera, maybe a week or two prior to the incident. I showed them the picture. He told me to give him a second.” The nightmare begins Martin recalled what the officer did next. “He walked to his vehicle, retrieved a folder and asked could we go into the house. We walked into the house. He told me he was going to show me a photo and that he was going to ask me if this was my kid. And he pulled out the photo. From that point, it’s been like a nightmare.” That nightmare was compounded by the decision not to arrest or prosecute Zimmerman, who admitted killing Trayvon. Led by Attorney Benjamin Crump, the family has been making the rounds of national television programs to share their story – and to express their outrage that Zimmerman hasn’t been brought to justice. Protests, many of them led by college students, have taken place across the country. “In the Black community, we all see Trayvon in ourselves,” Sharpton said. “We all subconsciously know that we’re born as suspects rather

than citizens and that’s what Trayvon was – he was a suspect.” After three weeks of mobilizing on social media, keeping the story alive in Black newspapers and African-American radio, the mounting pressure forced Sanford, Fla. officials to release the 911 tapes. Those tapes – which show that Zimmerman disobeyed the 911 dispatcher’s directive that he not follow Trayvon – along with the decision not to arrest Zimmerman, forced Police Chief Bill Lee to temporarily step down as police chief. On April 10, a grand jury will be convened to determine whether Zimmerman should be indicted. Both the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division and the FBI are looking into the case to determine if any federal statues were violated. Sybrina Fulton is still living with the pain of her son’s death. “It just reminds me of an awful dream,” she told publishers. “It just seems like the pain goes away temporarily and then it comes back. It just feels like my heart is just heavy. I still have tears, I still cry. It’s just difficult. Each day is just difficult to get by.”

New Black Panther Party offers $10,000 reward Defender News Services

The New Black Panther Party is offering a bounty of $10,000 for the capture of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch captain who killed Trayvon Martin. Speaking at a protest in Sanford, Fla., party leader Mikhail Muhammad recited the phrase, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” He called on 5,000 Black men to mobilize and apprehend Zimmerman. “If the government won’t do the job, we’ll do it,” Muhammad said. New Black Panther members addressed what they called the inaction of local and state government officials and accused them of lying and delaying justice. They also said Angela Corley, the appointed special prosecutor in the case, was an enemy of the Black community. “She has a track record of sending innocent young Black men and women to prison,” Muhammad said. | WEEK OF MARCH 29 | 2012 | DEFENDER


McDonald’s... Continued from page 4 68 million customers around the world every day,” Skinner said. “With Don at the helm, I am extremely confident in the future of McDonald’s.” Andy McKenna, chairman of McDonald’s board of directors, agreed with Skinner. “As we look to the future, the board has every confidence that Don’s strategic leadership and global business insight make him the ideal CEO,” McKenna said. “His track record of performance as president and COO of McDonald’s Corporation and president of McDonald’s USA speak to his qualifications to further drive the company’s momentum.” Thompson said he is “honored” by the board’s decision, and described Skinner as a “leader, mentor and friend.” “I’m humbled to take the baton as CEO of McDonald’s,” Thompson said. “Our management team is strong and will remain focused on the Plan to Win and on our three global priorities – optimizing the menu, modernizing the customer experience and broadening our accessibility to even more customers. “Our franchisees, suppliers and employees are committed to ensuring that McDonald’s is our customers’ favorite way and place to eat and drink,” Thompson said. Thompson received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and began as an electrical engineer with McDonald’s in 1990.

HISD... Continued from page 3 In addition, 21 employees investigated for possible cheating have been recommended for termination, nonrenewal of contract, or agreed to resign/ retire during or immediately following those investigations. HISD said it agreed that “the kind of statistical analysis performed by the newspaper can be a useful tool for identifying classes of students whose test scores either increased or decreased more than might be normally expected. “Experts caution, however, that such analyses do not provide evidence that testing improprieties occurred. Instead, the results of this sort of analysis should be used as a starting point for further research into the many factors that may have resulted in a significant swing in academic performance.” The district also identified what it called “shortcomings in the newspaper’s methodology that warrant consideration.” Grier wrote a letter to the HISD community as well. “I want you to know that HISD takes these allegations seriously and does not tolerate cheating,” he said. “We believe that adults who participate in cheating are robbing their students of the quality education they deserve. I also want you to know that I believe in the integrity of the overwhelming majority of educators working in Houston schools.”







SPRING SPECTACULAR PRICES IN EFFECT 3/28-4/1/12. “Our lowest price(s) of the season” refers to our spring season from February 1-April 30, 2012. Prices may be lowered as part of clearance. OPEN A MACY’S ACCOUNT FOR EXTRA 20% SAVINGS THE FIRST 2 DAYS, UP TO $100, WITH MORE REWARDS TO COME. Macy’s credit card is available subject to credit approval; new account savings valid the day your account is opened and the next day; excludes services, selected licensed departments, gift cards, restaurants, gourmet food & wine. The new account savings are limited to a total of $100; application must qualify for immediate approval to receive extra savings; employees not eligible. N2020161S.indd 1

3/20/12 5:13 PM




Courtney Lee Rockets versatile star is all business


By MAX EDISON Defender

lease excuse talented Rockets guard/forward Courtney Lee if he doesn’t come off as a real excitable guy. The NBA will make you that way. Drafted in the first round by the Orlando Magic (22nd overall) in 2008, the former Sunbelt Player of the Year from Western Kentucky quickly excelled and became a fixture in the Magic rotation. The Magic made it to the NBA championship in 2009, eventually losing to the Lakers four games to one. One year in the league, playing with one of the more talented teams in the league and the most dominant young center in the game, what could be better than that?

In year number two Lee was rudely introduced to the business side of the NBA. Shortly after the Finals, Lee was part of a five-player deal that sent him to the New Jersey Nets, one of the NBA’s worst teams. Some would say he went from the penthouse to the outhouse in one season. Lee’s second season as a Net had some high marks. He led the Nets in steals (93), three point shots made (76), and free throw percentage (86.9%). He even had a 30-point performance. Yet the Nets were a horrible basketball team finishing with a 12-70 record, and only the fifth team in NBA history to lose 70 games in a season. Lee’s career took an upswing of sorts following his second season. On August 11, 2010, he was part of a four-team trade that saw him become a Houston Rocket. Rocket GM Daryl Morey was downright giddy after trading to acquire Courtney, a player they had been fond of for quite some time. “This is a guy who we were focused on acquiring in the [2008] draft,” Morey said. “We were trying to acquire Courtney when he went to Orlando and then he went to New Jersey. “He’s very versatile. He can defend multiple spots – for sure the 2-guard but also can guard 1s and some 3s,” Morey continued. “He’s a very solid cutter and shooter with a very high basketball IQ. We see the upside in his game. He played 16 playoff games and started in the NBA Finals [his rookie year].” Playing on three teams in four years can drain the enthusiasm out of a young player, but Lee has adopted a professional attitude.

A versatile player, Lee is a lethal offensive weapon and outstanding defender.

“It’s the NBA, it’s a business. Things happen so you can’t take it personal,” Lee said. “You’ve got to just go out there and keep working. If you take care of your game, the game will take care of you. If it’s the city you want to be in or the team you love, you’re still playing basketball. You got to be professional about it. “It’s been frustrating at points, but the best way to get over it is to be prepared and continue to work, so when you get your opportunity, like I’m in right now you just go show what you’re capable of doing,” he added. “That’s part of being a professional. You’re in the NBA, there’s always going to be somebody better or somebody the coaches like. Whatever it is you’ve got to keep working and stay positive.” A versatile athlete capable of playing three positions, Lee has been an asset and a valuable commodity for Rocket coach Kevin McHale. “I played a little bit of point in college when our point guard went down,” McHale said. “My first year in the NBA they had me do a lot of point guard work and that definitely benefitted me in the long run. The main thing is to go out

there and play hard whether it’s guarding 2s or 3s; just being interchangeable gives us more options.” In his second year as a Rocket, Lee has had to accept a role coming off the bench. With the injury to Kevin Martin, Lee is once again starting and playing outstanding basketball. His attitude remains team first at the thought of returning to the bench when Martin comes back. “I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing – working hard. When he comes back, if they ask me to sit then I’ll go back to the bench and when I come in, I have to make sure I’m ready. I’ll come out with a spark and try to give the team a lift any way I can.” As a young player with playoff experience, Lee likes what he see’s with this Rocket squad and thinks they are playoff-bound. “I’ve been to the championship series with Orlando and then was sent to New Jersey, so I’ve seen both sides of it. Everybody on this team wants to compete and wants to fight. Once you have that the sky’s the limit. You give yourself a great chance to make the playoffs.”


LEGAL NOTICE This Texas Lottery Commission Scratch-Off game will close on April 9, 2012. You have until October 6, 2012, to redeem any tickets for this game: Game #1343 Monthly Bonus ($5) Overall Odds are 1 in 4.94

Game #1360 Triple Tripler ($3) Overall Odds are 1 in 4.85 These Texas Lottery Commission Scratch-Off games will close on May 30, 2012. You have until November 26, 2012, to redeem any tickets for these games: In his second season as a Rocket Courtney Lee has been a valuable asset.

Game #1293 Double Blackjack ($2) Overall Odds are 1 in 4.85 Game #1370 Silver Bells ($5) Overall Odds are 1 in 3.86 Game #1378 Instant Cash Five® ($1) Overall Odds are 1 in 2.63 For detailed odds and game information, visit or call 1-800-37LOTTO. Must be 18 or older to purchase a ticket. The Texas Lottery supports Texas Education. © 2012 Texas Lottery Commission. All rights reserved. • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years


This Texas Lottery Commission Scratch-Off game will close on April 30, 2012. You have until October 27, 2012, to redeem any tickets for this game: Collins continues a family tradition throw on one of my final attempts.” Collins has already decided to play college football and participate in track and field at Texas Christian University (TCU). That’s the same school where his father (Bill) became an All-American as a sprinter and where his brother Lavon currently competes as a hurdler. His oldest brother Arte is a member of the Texas Southern men’s track squad. “Right after I completed my

Collins said. “Yet I wasn’t about to let that keep me from earning a football scholarship. I went out and won my is genealogy is imindividual battles every week and forpeccable, so Aviante tunately somebody took note of it.” Collins knows there’s He plans to major in kinesiolgood reason why ogy and minor in criminal justice. at 6-foot-5 and 300 His favorite subjects in school are pounds, he can run 100 meters in English and science and his favorite a little over 11 seconds. He acfood is Italian. If he could solve any complished that while running into world problem, it would be to find a a headwind at the Texas Southern cure for cancer. Relays two weeks ago. If he needed any “My father and mother further proof of his family’s both ran track,” said Collins, good genetics, it came over after winning the shot put the past 10 months when his competition in the high school father contracted a rare nerdivision of the Victor Lopez vous system disorder called Classic Track Meet held at GBS. There is no known n Birthdate – April 21, 1993 Rice University. “I will be cure or treatment for the n Birth sign – Taurus forever grateful to them for syndrome and when GBS n Favorite color – Red blessing me with this size and works its way into the upper speed. Now it’s up to me to do extremities, most people are n Favorite book – “Black Boy” something with it.” left paralyzed. n Favorite recent movie – “Project X” Collins has visions Although left very ill, of one day playing in the Bill Collins was fortunate National Football League at only his lower extremities either offensive or defensive were affected and it kept Willowridge tackle. He also wants to make him from walking. After track star the U.S. Olympic Team in the losing 41 pounds, the ColAviante Collins shot put or possibly the discus. lins’ family patriarch began “I’m much stronger in to gain his strength back. the shot put right now,” he He spent months in the said. “It’s more of a power pool before beginning to event and the discus is more run once again. finesse. Everything hasn’t The comeback was fallen into place yet for me in capped recently at the the discus.” Masters Indoor Track A senior at Willowridge and Field Championships High School and winner of held in Bloomington, Ind. a bronze medal in last year’s While competing in the state shot put competition, Collins is trip to TCU, I was convinced it was men’s 60-and-over division, Bill hoping to cap his prep career with a the right place for me,” he said. “I’ve Collins set a masters division record gold medal-winning performance in got family tradition there and I know when he covered 60 meters in 7.58 the University Interscholastic League people in the area. I talked with some seconds state meet in two months. guys that will be my teammates and Then the elder Collins anUndefeated in the shot put thus everything felt right.” chored the Houston Elite’s men’s far during the 2012 season, Collins Collins will report to TCU on 60-and-over 4X200 meter relay will get a sneak peek of the facility June 1. After going through three squad to a record-setting time of one where the state meet will be held this head coaches in four years while minute, 41.53 seconds. weekend at the annual Texas Relays. playing football at Willowridge, he “It just proves what having “Last year was my first time at is looking forward to joining a stable faith and working hard to achieve a the state meet and I was a little nercoaching environment. goal can do for you,” said Aviante vous,” he said. “It took me a while to “It was a tough situation since Collins. “That has been instilled in settle down and I finally made a good we weren’t having team success,” me from a young age.” By DARRELL K. ARDISON Defender



Aviante Collins



sportsbriefs Coleman wins national leadership grant Patrick Coleman II of Pearland Dawson High School has won a National Leadership Grant sponsored by NCSA Athletic Recruiting and the National Football League Players Association. The leadership grant is awarded to student-athletes throughout the U.S. in all sports from football to track and field. These athletes qualify for the grant based on leadership in their community, academic achievements, athletics and a written essay.

McNally to host football clinic in Houston Jim McNally, widely-regarded as one of the top NFL offensive line coaches in the country, will host a Texas Football Masters offensive line clinic April 4-5 at the Westchase Marriott Hotel in Houston. The offensive line guru has 28 years of experience in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals. Terry High School head football coach and clinic coordinator Tim Teykl, who met McNally while coaching the offensive line at TCU in the 1980s, calls the chance to hear McNally in person, “an opportunity of a lifetime.” The clinic will have three sessions on fundamentals, zone principles and plays along with pass blocking and protections. Fees begin at $80 for individuals and $235 for groups of three to five. For information, Tekyl can be reached at 832-223-3567 or

High school Heisman applications being accepted Wendy’s is accepting applications for the annual Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, which honors student-athletes for their academic achievement, community service and athletic prowess. The six boy and six girl finalists will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for the ceremony. Students can apply for the award at www.

Astros trade Bourgeois to Kansas City Just when you were starting to get the slightest hint of Astro/MLB fever, the hometown team sends you crashing back to reality. The Astros recently traded Houston home-grown outfielder Jason Bourgeois along with catcher Humberto Quintero to the Kansas City Royals for left- handed pitcher Kevin Chapman and a player to be named later. Bourgeois grew up in the Northeast region of town and played Little League baseball in the Smokey Jasper Park along with Carl Crawford (Boston Red Sox) and Michael Bourn (Atlanta Braves). Bourgeois had been competing this spring with Jordan Schafer for the starting centerfielder position. Schafer was arrested during the offseason and charged with felony possession of marijuana. With the trade of Bourgeois the Astros again will likely begin the 2012 season without an AfricanAmerican player on the roster.

Shaw wins the women’s Division II crown The Shaw University Lady Bears representing the CIAA recently won the NCAA Division II Women’s basketball crown. Shaw defeated Ashland 88-82 in an overtime thriller in San Antonio. It was the first national championship for Shaw, an HBCU. The Lady Bears were paced by junior guard Sequohah Griffin who scored 24 points. Coached by Jacques Curtis, the Lady Bears lost in the D-II national semifinals last season to eventual champion Clayton State. They had won 15 straight game and 26 of their last 27. Shaw becomes the first women’s HBCU to win an NCAA national championship since Hampton University in 1988. • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years



For Event Coverage...visit

Honorees Nicole Sonnier, Gloria Griffin, Linda Ragland, Courtney Rose and Wretha Thomas

Stephanie Black, Phyllis Bailey, Jay Parahams, Kim Nugent and Kim Bady

Founders Regina and Ronald Jackson


Honorees Carmen Watkins, Ms. Chag and Rep. Alma Allen

Janell Hodges and Juluette Bartlett-Pack

Keynote Speaker Dr. Rod Fluker

Shar-day Campbell, Lecia Brooks, Tammie Campbell and Rev. Dennis Campbell, Jr.

Phyllis Bailey, David Eaker, Jay Parahams and Angie Eggins

Janette Hammond and Jennifer Holmes

Jr., Shar-day Campbell, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH…..The Honey Brown Lee, Councilman Larry Green and Fort Bend County Hope Foundation celebrated Women’s History Month by Commissioner Richard Morrison. The keynote speaker was paying tribute to 15 Houston-area women for their leadership Lecia Brooks, director of outreach for the Southern Poverty and community involvement. The honorees included Rep. Law Center. A musical selection was performed by recording Alma Allen, Valencia Bell, yours truly Yvette Chargois, artist Charlene “Charlie Berry” Tombar. Monica Garcia, Gloria Griffin, Nailah Congratulations!……….WOMEN’S Hendrickson, Shelly Kennedy, Erica Join Yvette Chargois EMPOWERMENT FAIR…….DeVry Lee, Jalene Mack, Irene Walker-Paul, Events of the Week University-Houston Metro’s Student Linda Ragland, Courtney Rose, Nicole More photos on Services Department celebrated Women’s Sonnier, Wretha Thomas and Carmen See Events on KTRK Ch.13’s Crossroads History Month by hosting an empowerment Watkins. Each woman was presented with Melanie Lawson Sunday Morning @ 11 a.m. fair to inspire women to take full advantage with the Women Improving the Nation of their capabilities to strengthen their “W.I.N. Award.” The organization was confidence, leadership, health and finances. founded by Tammie Lang Campbell and its mission is to offer multicultural literature, environmental Presenters included Dr. Kim Nugent, Stephanie Black, Dean Esmeralda Garcia, Kim Bady and Holly Ham. They also awareness, diversity appreciation, drama, writing, character presented the Leadership Award to Phyllis J. Bailey, business building and voter empowerment programs. Judy Foston owner and president of 3B Resources Group Public Relations and Katiera Winfrey served as mistresses of ceremonies and LLC. The Student Leadership Award was presented to Angie other program participants included Rev. Dennis Campbell

Eggins. We salute Jay Paragans, David Eaker and the entire staff for a great event. Continued success!........BLUE TIE GALA……Regina and Ronald Jackson founded the Elliott Chandler Foundation and named it after their sons, Parker Elliott and Langston Chandler. It supports the development of leaders of tomorrow by providing financial support and critical assistance to deserving young men with a demonstrated record of academic performance and an interest in pursuing a degree from a higher learning institution. They recently celebrated their 2012 Blue Tie Gala at the Junior League of Houston with about 300 guests in attendance. This year’s keynote address was delivered by Dr. Rod C. Fluker Sr., vice president for enrollment and student success at College of the Mainland. Ms. Chag was the mistress of ceremonies. Entertainment was provided by Gregory Daniels, saxophonist; Traiveon Dunlap, vocalist; Michael Gatlin, poet and F. Ryan Coleman-Ferebee, who served as the DJ. Fabulous evening!.....From Chag’s Place to your place, have a blessed week! • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years

Houston Defender: March 29, 2012  

Houston's Leading Black Information Source

Houston Defender: March 29, 2012  

Houston's Leading Black Information Source