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NATIONAL

REPORT FINDS GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS FOR NATION’S BLACK WOMEN, P3 defendernetwork.com

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Volume 83 | Number 22

APRIL 3, 2014 |FREE

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NATIONAL

National Urban League

MARIA CONTRERASSWEET new leader of SBA

State of Black America

Wealth gap grows

P3 FEATURE DR. JOHN RUDLEY named to HBCU board

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GERALD MILLS runs track for Marshall

Rick Lowe advocates for art

Dexter Fowler ready to play

Project Row Houses founder Rick Lowe has been appointed to the prestigious National Council on the Arts, which makes recommendations for arts policies, funding and initiatives. Find out what Lowe’s appointment means for Houston. See what he says about arts education.

The Major League Baseball season has started, and Astros centerfielder Dexter Fowler is ready to play. Read Fowler’s thoughts on the young team. Find out why he’s optimistic about their chances. Discover what members of management and other players have to say.

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Rushion McDonald and Wayne Luckett at UH Black Alumni gala

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DEFENDER | APRIL 3 | 2014

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newstalk

Home buyers expo set for April 12

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Defender News Services

he Houston Black Real Estate Association (HBREA) hosts its fourth annual Home Buying Lifestyle Expo on Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The free expo is open to the public, and is designed to connect area residents with financial institutions, counselors and organizations on the subject of home buying. Activities include finance seminars and workshops on interior design, do-it-yourself home improvement, landscaping and gardening, flipping properties and credit repair. Representatives from the Harris County Appraisal District and the Houston Housing Finance Corporation will also be available for information and inquiries. There will be more than 100 exhibitors in attendance, as well as bankers, inspectors, realtors and title company representatives. HBREA is the local chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, which was founded in 1947 and is the oldest and largest minority trade association in America. The Houston chapter was founded in 1949 and has actively promoted equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed or color. The founding members of HBREA were also pioneers in the real estate industry and included J.W. Hubert, J.E. Robinson, J.W. Robinson Sr., E.J.

Fair Housing Month observed

Hardy, W.O Bonner, W.W. Robinson, E.S. McCullough, O.J. Polk, Garfield Clark, Roscoe Cavitt and S.D. Jones. “Our history tells us that in 1947 a group of visionaries gave birth to this organization encouraged by the prospect of progress through organizing, and immediately launching an educational program to open the door to others interested in the real estate industry,” said Gerald Womack, president of HBREA. “If our future is to be guaranteed, we must serve our communities with integrity, trust and truth.” For more information visit homeexpo2014.com or call 713-551-2092.

April is Fair Housing Month, and Houstonians are urged to know the facts about housing discrimination. According to the federal Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, familial status or disability. It is also a violation of the act for real estate professionals to take any of the following actions based on discriminatory factors: l Refuse to rent or sell a home l Refuse to negotiate for a home l Make a home unavailable l Falsely deny that a home is available for inspection, sale, or lease l Persuade an owner to sell or rent to a particular buyer l Set different terms, conditions, or privileges for the sale or lease of a home l Steer families with children or people with disabilities to the first floor For more information contact the Greater Houston Fair Housing Center at 713.641.3247 or visit houstonfairhousing@swbell.net.

localbriefs THE HARRIS COUNTY JAIL is in full compliance with state regulations for the fifth year in a row following an inspection by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. The inspection included inmate housing in downtown Houston, booking and releasing operations, and holding cells in the adjacent Harris County Criminal Justice Center. The current county jail inmate population is 8,517. The jail has a building capacity of 9,434. The jail system was found to be out of compliance with state regulations throughout 2004-2006 and briefly in 2009……..A JOB FAIR sponsored by the Fort Bend Independent School District is Saturday, April

12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the football field of FBISD’s Mercer Stadium, 16403 Lexington Blvd in Sugar Land. The district is seeking applicants to fill positions as teachers, central office staff, administrators, paraprofessionals, and auxiliary support staff. Applicants are asked to bring copies of their resumes and dress in business casual attire with comfortable shoes (no shorts or high heels). Applicants should not bring their children. FBISD is the largest employer in Fort Bend County with more than 9,000 employees and substitutes, and has more than 70,000 students. It is the seventh largest school district in Texas. For information visit fortbendisd.

com……..LIFEGUARDS ARE NEEDED by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department to fill open positions at 37 pools for the 2014 swim season. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age, be American Red Cross Certified, and pass a skills screening test prior to being considered for employment. The department will assist applicants who pass the skills test in preparing for Red Cross certification and will consider them for employment once they attain certification. The salary range is $10.30 to $14 per hour based on position. The deadline for applications is April 15. Apply at houstontx.gov/ jobs/index.html.

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APRIL 3 | 2014 | DEFENDER

national

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Black women: Good news, bad news

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Health

Defender News Services

• For Black women, having a new report on the baby can be deadly. The maternal status of Black mortality rate for Black women American women is fully three times that of white found that while women and is on par with several significant progress developing nations. has been made over the years, • One in four Black women there are many areas that remain over 55 is diabetic, while four in in need of dire attention and five are overweight or obese. urgent action. Technology The report, “Black Women • Though proficiency in the in the U.S., 2014,” was released STEM fields is widely acknowlby the Black Women’s Roundedged as a key for the workplace table (BWR) Public Policy Netof the future, Black women only work, a civic engagement network make up 2 percent of practicing of the National Coalition on Black scientists and engineers in the Civic Participation. workforce. Experts in nine fields wrote Retirement about the progress made in such Contributors to a new report on Black women include (l. to r.) Dr. L. Toni Lewis, Joycelyn Tate, Melanie L. Campbell, Felicia Davis, Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D, Rev. Barbara Williams Skinner, Ph.D. and Carol Joyner. • Largely due to years of pay areas as education, politics, busidisadvantages, decreased access to ness, health and the retirement employer-sponsored pension plans, Business years. and a lack of overall wealth accumulation, Black women over 65 • Black women are the fastest growing segment of the “This report is a quick glimpse of where we are,” said have the lowest household income of any demographic group in Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coali- women-owned business market, yet Black women-owned firms America. trail all other women when it comes revenue generation. tion and convener of BWR. • Black women are especially reliant on Social Security in • Black women receive only 6 percent of the revenue gener“Black women are a powerful force and we plan to demontheir retirement years. If it were not for social security, the poverty ated by all women-owned businesses. That compares to 29 percent strate that power by working collaboratively and intentionally rate for Black women would more than double. received by white women. across issues to usher in a new set of progressive polices and leaders to champion our cause. Violence/Criminal justice Education “We look at the tragedies and the triumphs surrounding • No woman is more likely to be murdered in America today • Over the past five decades, the high school graduation rates Black Women’s lives across a variety of different indicators than a Black woman. No woman is more likely to be raped than a of Black women have jumped 63 percent, virtually eliminating and areas of inquiry,” said Avis Jones-DeWeever, editor of the Black woman. And no woman is more likely to be beaten, either the gap with Asian women (down to 2 percent), and significantly report. by a stranger or by someone she loves and trusts, than a Black narrowing the gap with white women (7 percent). “Black women have made progress since key historical woman. • In the 2009-2010 school year, Black women earned 66 markers such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Brown v. Board of • The incarceration rates for Black women have declined percent of all bachelor’s degrees earned by Black Americans, 71 Education, and the onset of the War on Poverty, but many areas tremendously in recent years, from six times that of white women percent of master’s degrees, and 65 percent of doctorates. remain that need urgent action.” to three times that of white women. • Black girls experience an out-of school suspension rate Here are key findings from the report: For more information on the report visit ncbcp.org. fully six times that of white girls.

Contreras-Sweet new SBA administrator VOLUME 83 • NUMBER 22 APRIL 3, 2014 Print Editor Publisher Marilyn Marshall Sonceria Messiah-Jiles People Editor Advertising/Client Relations Yvette Chargois Selma Dodson Tyler Sports Editors Multimedia Manager Max Edison Tiffany Williams Darrell K. Ardison Online Editor Local Editor ReShonda Billingsley LaGloria Wheatfall Art Director Contributing Writer Tony Fernandez-Davila Cierra Duncan 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).

Defender News Services

Maria Contreras-Sweet was confirmed by the Senate as administrator of the SBA. She will lead a team of more than 3,000 employees and manage the agency’s portfolio, including more than $90 billion in loan guarantees and $100 billion in federal contracting opportunities. She will oversee counseling and technical assistance to more than 1 million entrepreneurs as well as disaster assistance to small businesses and homeowners. Contreras-Sweet is the founder of California’s ProAmérica Bank and founding president of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality. She served as secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing

Agency, where she oversaw 40,000 state employees and a $12 billion budget. President Barack Obama, who nominated ContrerasSweet for the SBA position, said she will be charged with finding ways to support small business. “Two years ago I elevated the role of SBA administrator to a cabinet-level position to make sure small businesses have the seat at the table they deserve,” Obama said. “I’m confident that as the newest member of my cabinet, Maria will do an outstanding job working with me, with America’s small business owners, and with my entire administration to increase economic growth and expand opportunity for all.”

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DEFENDER | APRIL 3 | 2014

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entertainment

Rick Lowe

Project Row Houses founder promotes art

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By MARILYN MARSHALL Defender

The celebration continues

s Project Row Houses celebrates its 20th anniversary, founder Rick Lowe is working beyond Houston to foster an appreciation of art and its ability to change lives and communities. Lowe was appointed to the National Council on the Arts by President Barack Obama last November. The council is the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and advises the NEA chairman on agency policies and programs. It also reviews and makes recommendations on applications for grants, funding guidelines and leadership initiatives. The NEA is an independent agency of the federal government, and has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity and innovation. As an artist and activist, Lowe has participated in exhibitions and developed community- based projects around the world. He has worked with museums, colleges, libraries and festivals. He was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and this year was awarded a Mel King Fellowship at MIT. He spearheaded a 2006 arts project in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In an interview with the Defender, Lowe talked about his newest appointment. Defender: What does your appointment to the National Council on the Arts mean to PRH and other local arts organizations? Lowe: The appointment will give Houston a voice at the table where arts funding and policies are being made on the national level. Defender: What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure? Lowe: I hope to be able to be a voice for diversity on the council by encouraging support for more community cultural productions that help connect diverse communities. Defender: What are the main challenges facing arts organizations today, particularly those serving African-American communities? Lowe: One of the major challenges facing arts organizations today is disconnection to resources. Organizations in communities of color have a difficult time connecting with the dominant funding entities.

Rick Lowe, shown at Project Row Houses, is a member of the National Council on the Arts. (Photo courtesy Project Row Houses)

Defender: What are the solutions to those challenges? Lowe: Hopefully encouraging more collaboration among large institutions and community based-institutions where the community-based institutions are the lead collaborators will help. Defender: How important is arts education to students of all ages? Lowe: The productive side of arts education is important to students and adults alike. I say productive because I mean education that nurtures the creative impulse to make things, dress up, decorate, that we all have. This kind of education transfers from art-making to other opportunities to make our lives better by using our creativity. For some, they can buy everything. For others, we rely on our creativity to provide the joys of life. Defender: Is enough emphasis placed on the arts in schools? Lowe: Unfortunately schools focus mainly on learning

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In an ongoing celebration of its founding in 1993, Project Row Houses recently opened seven new art projects in the historic shotgun houses on Holman Street in Third Ward. The projects will be on view through June 22, and feature installations by Otabenga Jones & Associates, a Houston-based artist collective. The PRH story began while Rick Lowe was working as a volunteer with SHAPE Community Center. He encountered 22 abandoned shotgunstyle houses in Third Ward. The houses became the perfect opportunity to pursue the creation of a new art form. Lowe, with the help of other artists and numerous volunteers, began renovating the houses. The site now covers nearly six blocks and 50 properties. PRH’s programs encompass arts and culture, neighborhood revitalization, low-income housing, education, historic preservation and community service. The programs are inspired by the work of the late artist Dr. John Biggers and his principles concerning the creation of effective communities. Lowe said PRH supporters “embarked on a journey” that extended to the Arts Education Program in 1995, the Young Mothers Residential Program in 1996 and the Row House Community Development Corporation in 2003. For more information visit projectrowhouses.org. how to complete tasks. The focus on standardized testing and “concrete” skills have narrowed the learning paradigm. It is my contention that arts education offers valuable opportunities of learning about how to develop one’s innate creativity, which is critically important to problem-solving on personal and collective issues. Therefore, art education has the potential to be interwoven into curriculum for students of all ages.

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APRIL 3 | 2014 | DEFENDER

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Leaders host emergency summit at HCC Defender News Services

Houston-area community, civic and faith leaders gathered at Houston Community College Northeast for a recent one-day emergency summit. It was led by Dr. Virgil A. Wood, a civil rights leader who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Bishop James W. E. Dixon II of Community of Faith Church. Other summit leaders included Rev. William A. Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher, president of HCC Northeast. The summit featured lectures and panel discussions on topics such as education, poverty and children of incarcerated parents. The focus of the summit centered on developing a strategic plan for community success. “If we are to rebuild the beloved community, we must somehow rebuild the village,” Lawson said. Wood noted the importance of

Rudley named to HBCU board Defender News Services

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appointed Texas Southern University President Dr. John M. Rudley to serve on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Advisory Board. The board provides advice and counsel to the secretary of education and the designated bonding authority as to the most effective and efficient means of implementing construction financing on HBCU campuses, and advises Congress regarding the progress made in implementing the Dr. John Rudley program. The board meets with Duncan at least twice each year. Rudley’s term begins immediately and continues through September 2015. Rudley is the 11th president of TSU, the third largest public HBCU in the nation. Prior to joining TSU, he served as interim chancellor of the University of Houston System and interim president of the University of Houston. He served six years as UH’s vice chancellor/vice president for administration and finance.

working with youth. “We’ve got to help young people find the inner resources to deal with any pushback that comes their way,” he said. Fisher served as the luncheon speaker and laid a framework for strategies for supporting education in urban communities. She shared the efforts of Northeast College in providing opportunities to community residents that empower them to obtain skills to find sustainable employment.

She provided an overview of dual credit and early college high school programs for youth as well as certificate and degree programs that lead to employment opportunities. Fisher also described the challenges that countless students in urban environments face, including feelings of hopelessness resulting in lowered expectations. She suggested ways to address such challenges, including encouraging and empowering students to take ownership for their futures.

Summit participants include (l. to r.) Bishop James W.E. Dixon II, Congressman Al Green, Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher, Dr. Virgil Wood and Rev. William A. Lawson.

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DEFENDER | APRIL 3 | 2014

Upward mobility needed

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By GEORGE E. CURRY NNPA Editor-in-Chief

he wealth gap between AfricanAmericans and whites has expanded in recent years and is not likely to narrow without significant reductions in Black unemployment and changes in a system that favors the wealthy over poor and middle class Americans, according the National Urban League’s 38th annual State of Black America. This year’s report is titled, “One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America.” In a statement accompanying the report, Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the NUL, said: “The 2014 State of Black America and corresponding Equality Index indicate that while each state and city has its own economic recovery story to tell, the consistent refrain is that there is an urgent and growing disparity between the few who are reaping the rewards of economic recovery and the majority who are still reeling from aftershocks of the Marc Morial Great Recession.” Morial added, “While ‘too big to fail’ corporations went into the bail-out emergency room and recovered to break earnings and stock market records, most Americans have been left in ICU with multiple diagnoses of unemployment, underemployment, home losses and foreclosures, low or no savings and retirement accounts, credit denials, and cuts in education and school funding. “We must work to restore the very essence of 20th century America – the possibility of upward mobility for all – with a focus on meaningful solutions to these pressing challenges, including job creation and training, and ensuring that Americans are paid livable wages for the work they do,” Morial said. In a chapter titled, “Policies of Exclusion Perpetuate the Racial Wealth Gap,” Thomas M. Shapiro wrote: “The dramatic and widening gap in household wealth along racial lines in the United States reflects policies and institutional practices that create different opportunities for whites and African-Americans. Personal ambition and behavioral choices are but a small part of the equation.” Shapiro said five factors account for twothirds of the proportional increase in the racial wealth gap: number of years of home ownership, average family income, employment stability, college education and financial support and inheritance. According to Shapiro, home ownership accounts for 27 percent of the growth in the racial wealth gap. He said reasons home equity rises

dramatically faster for whites include: • White families buy homes and start acquiring equity eight years earlier than Black families because they are more likely to receive family assistance or an inheritance for down payments. • A larger up-front payment by white homeowners lowers interest rates. • Residential segregation places an artificial ceiling on home equity in non-white neighborhoods. • The home ownership rate for white families is 28 percent higher than rates for Blacks. “Hard evidence shows in stark terms that it is not just the last recession and implosion of the housing market that contributed to the widening racial wealth disparities,” Shapiro wrote. “Past policies of exclusion, such as discriminatory mortgage lending, which continues today, ensure that certain groups reap a greater share of what America has to offer while others are left out.” No one expects the wealth gap to narrow without some improvement in Black unemployment. “More than one-third of unemployed workers have been out of work for six months or longer and one in four has been jobless for a year or longer,” said Valerie Rawlston Wilson, an economist in the NUL’s Washington bureau. “Though the unemployment rate declined by 1.2 percentage points from January to December 2013 – the largest decline over a single year since the recovery began – labor force participation also reached a 35-year low in December. This downward trend in labor force participation raises concerns about underutilization of America’s labor capacity, or underemployment.” She explained: “If we factored in the number of people who want and are available for work (but are not actively looking for a job) along with the number of unemployed workers actively looking for a job, and those who are working part-time out of necessity (but would prefer full-time work), the actual rate of underemployment was 13.1 percent at the end of 2013, nearly double the official unemployment rate.” And things are even worse for AfricanAmericans, Wilson said. “For African-Americans, these challenges are even greater,” she wrote. “Though the Black unemployment rate briefly and narrowly dipped below 12 percent for the first time since 2008 at the end of last year, 42 percent of Black unemployed workers are long-term unemployed and 28 percent have been jobless for at least a year.”

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National Urb

State of Bla

Wea ga gro

Local Urban Le By MARILYN MARSHALL Defender

At a time when the wealth gap is widening, the Houston Area Urban League is striving to uphold its mission, which includes helping African-Americans and other minorities achieve economic self-reliance. HAUL’s Houston Economic Empowerment Center, for example, works with private, public and nonprofit resources to build strong, sustainable and successful minority businesses. “Our clients include those who are having a hard time finding employment and want to start their own business and those who have

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About the Equality Index The Equality Index is a yardstick used to measure how well African-Americans are doing relative to whites. In computing the index, 30 percent of the final score is based on economics while health and education each gets 25 percent and social justice and civic engagement each receives 10 percent on a 100 percent scale. The Equality Index has declined from 73 percent in 2006, to 72.1 percent in 2010 to 71.2 percent in 2014. However, scholars caution that the overall figure might reflect progress in some areas and retrenchment in others. Relative to last year’s index: • Economics dipped slightly, from 56.3 percent to 55.5 percent; • Social justice declined barely from 56.9 percent to 56.8 percent;

• Health (76.8 percent) and education (76.8 percent) remained unchanged;

Other report findings

• Black median household income ($33,764) is about 60 percent of whites ($56,565), down from 62 percent before the recession; • The poverty index for Blacks compared to whites is 29 percent – 28.1 percent of Blacks live in poverty vs. 11 percent of whites. • When it comes to wealth, Blacks ($6,314) have only a 6 percent Equality Index when compared with whites ($110,500). • Unlike African-Americans, Hispanics saw their Equality Index with whites increase slightly, from 74.6 percent in 2013 to 75.8 percent in 2014.

eague works to close gap

een entrepreneurs for a number of years and re trying to hire someone else to work with hem,” said Judson Robinson III, HAUL’s presient and CEO. HAUL’s Workforce Development Department offers clients techniques for job searches, pplications, interviews and employment etention with the goal of economic and family elf-sufficiency. The department offers recruitment services to employers and job placement ssistance to applicants seeking employment. The Workforce Training Department prodes clients with skills and training to remove arriers to earning livable wages. In an effort to improve its outreach, Robin-

he Houston area for over 80 years the Houston area for over 80 years

son said HAUL is searching for ways to become more accessible to clients. “We are trying to go directly to communities that have unemployment problems,” Robinson said. “Currently, people have to come to our main location downtown or our Griggs location, and that’s not going to be a model that’s going to continue going to work for us. “We are looking at partnering with various community centers, churches and other nonprofits where we’re bringing our services to those communities and will be in a position to touch people who, for example, have problems with transportation. If you don’t have a job you might not have bus fare,” he said. Judson Robinson III


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DEFENDER | APRIL 3 | 2014

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Development tours help District K By LaGLORIA WHEATFALL Defender

Councilman Larry Green along with Five Corners Management District and Brays Oak Management District have formed a partnership to coordinate a series of economic development tours for single family, multi-family and commercial investors to promote development within District K. The first tour focused on singlefamily residential development and hosted 35 homebuilders who toured potential sites inside District K. The developers were shown everything from small lots suitable for highdensity condos to large tracts for traditional subdivision development. “The more single

Bike safety stressed The City of Houston and BikeHouston have launched a major safety campaign to educate motorists and cyclists about the existing Safe Passing Ordinance, as well as create a bike master plan for the city. HPD has instructed officers to ticket drivers who violate the city’s new Safe Passing Ordinance and cyclists who disobey traffic laws. Safety tips for drivers include no speeding, no driving under the influence, no texting while driving and awareness of intersections. Safety tips for cyclists include riding with traffic in the right lane closest to the curb, proper signaling, no swerving between cars, and using bright lights and reflective clothing.

family homes that are built in District K, the better,” said Chairman C. Fred Meyer of the Brays Oak Management District. “All neighborhoods need a healthy mix of single family and multifamily homes. However, District K is over-weighted with multifamily projects. “The construction of more single family homes in the district will help balance the ratio and will add stability to the area which is critical for new retail and other commercial development,” Meyer said. “We know we would like to see some quality retail development in the area,” Green said. “We know we need grocery stores, we need quality restaurants,

Councilman Larry Green

and so those are the commercial and retail outlets we’re targeting for our tours. “They may not know about Southwest Houston and all the growth that’s going on in our area, so our goal is to inform and educate them as to what’s going on here and why we believe that making an investment with their restaurant or with their brand in our area makes economic sense for

them,” Green added. District K extends from the edge of the Texas Medical Center to the portion of Houston within Fort Bend County. The district also includes the Reliant/Astrodome complex, two management districts and two school districts, HISD and Fort Bend ISD. The district’s prime location is inside Beltway 8 and has access to the employment centers of the Medical Center, Uptown/Galleria and Sugarland via US 90A. The upcoming tour will concentrate on multi-family residential development, followed by commercial retail. The dates for the tours are to be announced.

classified LEGAL NOTICE Neighborhood Centers Inc. (AGENCY), a non-profit human services organization, announces a Request for Proposal (RFP #14-10) for Security Services. A “Mandatory” Vendor’s Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM (CST) at 3838 Aberdeen Way, Houston, Texas 77025. The deadline for submitting a proposal is May 15, 2014 by 2:00 PM (CST). To receive RFP #14-10, e-mail Delphine Decuir, Contracts Manager at ddecuir@Neighborhood-Centers.org.


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APRIL 3 | 2014 | DEFENDER

Metro gets funding

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NEW SEASON! NEW LOOKS! SPECTACULAR SAVINGS!

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Metro received access to the final appropriation of $187.3 million from the federal government for the North and Southeast Lines. The funds are part of the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGA), which were signed by federal officials in 2011 to help the transit authority build the two light-rail lines. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee shared the news during a recent tour of rail construction. The North Line, a 5.3-mile extension of the existing Red Line, opened last December. The Southeast (Purple) Line and the locally-funded East End (Green) Line are scheduled to open later this year.

High-speed rail route promoted Defender News Services

The cities of Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth have come together in support of a high-speed rail route between the cities, which will reduce travel time to 90 minutes. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price announced their support of the route. “It is imperative that we give our residents an innovative alternative,” Parker said. “If successful, Houstonians will have a reliable, private alternative that will help alleviate traffic congestion and drastically reduce travel times.” Along with reducing travel time, the mayors see the development as an opportunity to create more jobs for Texans. Mayor Annise Parker Nearly 50,000 Texans travel back and forth between Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth more than once a week on I-45 each day. According to TxDOT, the four-hour commute is expected to increase by 75 percent – close to seven hours – by 2035. Supporters say the bullet train will also have a positive impact on the environment by reducing Texans’ carbon footprint and by cutting harmful emissions from carbon dioxide produced by current transportation. Texas Central High-Speed Railway, a private company, is currently working on the production of the rail, which is expected to be up and running within 10 years.

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3/28/14 1:41 PM


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DEFENDER | APRIL 3 | 2014

sports

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Astros ready to play ball

Dexter Fowler

S

By MAX EDISON Defender

pring has sprung and that can only mean one thing for sports fans – the Major League Baseball season has begun. For the first time in four years there is a glimmer of optimism as the Astros take to the field at Minute Maid Park. After losing over 100 games for the previous three campaigns there is real optimism that 2014 will be the beginning of the resurgence of the team, not as a playoff contender, but a competent team that can be extremely competitive each time they hit the diamond. “I think we’re going to be a lot more competitive this year, and it should result in us winning quite a few more games,” GM Jeff Luhnow said. “This is the time of year to be optimistic. I am, Bo [Porter] is, everybody that plays on our team is.” Fowler has been in the major leagues five years. He figures to be the team’s lead-off hitter. The optimism is there because the 2014 they’re in the right position to make plays.” “We saw their roster includes more Despite joining a team has been the worst in influence right out names of players with baseball over the last three years, Fowler has an of the gate,” Luhnow quality experience. said. “When we had our optimistic attitude about the 2014 season. Last year one of the “That was the past, this is a new year,” he conteam meeting those playteam’s most glaring defiers spoke up. You could see tinued. “We’re taking the steps in the right direction ciencies was in the bullpen. and we’re excited about it.” it in the clubhouse in terms Clearly the recipe for success Porter’s optimism for 2014 stems from the fact of how the relate to the young was not a young, inexperienced that the team’s experience level this season has been pitchers. We have a lot of young Jerome Williams starting rotation and an equally inexperiraised. arms and they need the mentorship.” enced bullpen. Porter cited the addition of Fowler and the emerThe Astros acquired centerfielder Dexter Fowler The offseason acquisitions of former Astros gence of Robbie Grossman, Matt Dominguez and Chris in an offseason trade with the Colorado RockChad Qualls, coupled with veteran relievers Jesse Carter. ies. Fowler (6-feet-4, 190) has a reputation as an Crain and Matt Albers, give manager Bo Porter a “Obviously Jason Castro turned himself into an outstanding defensive player and figures to be the bit more confidence when going to the bullpen. In All-Star,” Porter added. “Up and down the lineup you team’s lead-off hitter offensively. A five-year major addition bringing in veteran starters Scott Feldman league veteran, Fowler realizes his role on this young have guys that have established themselves as major and Jerome Williams should help stabilize a youthleague players. Coming into last year that was not the Astros team. ful group of starters. case.” “Aside from my play on the field my role will The experience the veteran hurlers have had The major league season is a marathon, not a be to nurture the younger guys,” Fowler said. “We has been evident since the first day of spring trainsprint. Let’s just hope the Astros can come out of the have a talented group of guys in the outfield. They ing. Williams, for example (6-feet-3, 240 pounds) blocks strongly and set the pace for what can be a suchave good instincts out there, they’re just young. I’m made his MLB debut in 2003. cessful race. the leader out there. My job will be to make sure

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APRIL 3 | 2014 | DEFENDER

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h.s.zone

sportsbriefs

Mills and Marshall on the right track winning the 4X400 event at the TSU Relays. The Buffalos won the high school 4X100 relay at the Victor Lopez Invitational in a time of 41.36 seconds he 2014 high school track and field season (among the nation’s fastest times). Mills came back to has served as a coming-out party for Fort win the open 200-meter dash with a clocking of 21.57 Bend Marshall High School junior sprinter seconds. Gerald Mills. “This season has gone really well so far,” Mills For the past two weekends, Mills said. “We’re among the top 10 in the nation in nearly and his teammates have wowed and impressed large all of our events. We have a great group of guys who throngs at the Texas Southern Relays and the Rice are all coming back next year. We’re happy to be University/Victor Lopez where we’re at right now. Invitational. “Speed wise we’re Mills competes in looking pretty good,” Find out about Gerald Mills’ the 200-meter dash while Mills said. “The stick personal favorites also running a leg on the work and the technical 4X100 and 4X400 relays. work can always get better.” Occasionally he’ll even run a leg on the 4X200 Thanks in large part to his dad’s relay. coaching career, Mills has been Nearly the same scenario was unfolding around Olympians and future Olyma year ago. As a sophomore his fastest splits pians since he was very young. He were 9.4 seconds in the 4X100, 20.1 seconds naturally gravitated to the sport in the 4X200 and 21.5 seconds in the open 200. and is currently on the threshold to Just as the teeth of the season approached, widespread success. disaster struck. Along with teammates Davon “It was time for qualifying right before the Crookshank, Mark Barre, Jeremy district meet,” Mills said. “I strained my Smith and Darius Phoenix, the Marshall [quadriceps muscle] and was basically out boys’ track and field squad could be for the season.” a force to be reckoned with in the Despite being dealt a crushing coming weeks. blow, Mils was the recipient of “We’re a band of brothan unbelievable support sysers,” Mills said. “We entem. Mills’ father, Jerry Mills, courage each other when is a longtime and recently we’re down and hold retired high school track each other up. When we coach who has mentored compete, we feel like some of the state’s finest nobody can beat us as athletes during the course long as we’re together. of his career. “I knew all of these “He’s a seasoned guys before I came to veteran coach, so he had Marshall High School, a lot of tips and pointbut this is the first year ers for me,” said the that we’ve competed younger Mills. “He is as a team,” Mills said. the reason that it was “We’ve gotten this really an advantage far with a lot of work, for me to make a strength and endurance. strong comeback We don’t plan to during my junior stop now.” year.” Mills ran the second leg and Marshall High School sprinter gave Marshall the Gerald Mills has found lead for good while

T

By DARRELL K. ARDISON Defender

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Show regains eligibility Former Pearland High School softball standout Samantha Show has regained her eligibility and is currently playing for East Bernard High School. The 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year was originally ruled ineligible by the District 26-2A executive committee because of changing schools for athletic reasons. That decision was overturned by the UIL’s state executive committee when the Show family recently won its appeal held in Austin. Parents Mark and Carrie Show claimed they moved their two daughters, Samantha and Sabrina, to escape the bigger-city feel and give them a better quality of life. Over the past five years, the UIL has overturned just over 25 percent of the 195 appeals heard for students changing schools for athletic reasons. In her first appearance for East Bernard, Show struck out 11 of the 14 Hitchcock batters she faced.

Area swimmers excel Angleton senior Carter Wallace Sr. capped his high school career by winning state titles in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard freestyle. A University of Missouri signee, Wallace became the first Angleton swimmer to win a state title. Kingwood junior Lexie Lupton has already become one of the state’s premier swimmers. At the Class 5A state meet, Lupton won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle titles while anchoring the Kingwood 200 freestyle relay to a silver medal. At the regional meet, she swam the fastest 50 freestyle time in Texas high school history. “I haven’t thought about what my goals for the national meets will be, but I know it will take a lot more training to get faster,” she said.

Bryant speaks out Laker guard Kobe Bryant obviously has too much time on his hands. The five-time world champion has missed the majority of the NBA season recuperating from Achilles and knee surgery. He figured he would weigh in on some of the issues of the day, specifically the Trayvon Martin case. In a recent interview with the New Yorker magazine Bryant maintained that widespread support for the case was premature and perpetuated simply because Martin was Black. “I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” Bryant said. He also wasn’t particularly pleased with the Miami Heat’s gesture of support for Martin’s family when the team posed in hoodies. He suggested the photo displayed a lack of racial “progress.” One has to wonder if Bryant felt the same way when he received African-American support during his Colorado rape case.

Rockets lose Beverley As the Rockets head toward the playoffs the health and availability of starting point guard Patrick Beverley is in jeopardy. Beverley recently suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee. It is widely believed that he could miss up to four weeks, but the injury will not require surgery. As the Rockets “junkyard dog,” Beverley is averaging 9.9 points, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals while starting 52 of 71 games. If the Rockets hope to make a splash in the playoffs they will need a healthy JYD on the floor.

individual and team success in track and field.

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12

DEFENDER | APRIL 3 | 2014

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For Event Coverage...visit

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Honorees Roderick Brown, Mary Prince, De Rose and Terence Fontaine

Kathy Allen, Tunesia Bernard, Joyce Parker and Kay Rosebure

Eddie Orum, An Le and Dillon Williamson

chag’splace

Honorees Police Chief Charles McClelland Jr., Crystle Stewart and president Brandon Wiggins

Honorees Dr. Randall Wright, Gertrudejane Stone and Dr. Ronald Moon

Gala honorary chair Rushion McDonald and gala chair Wayne Luckett

Honorees Katie Weber, Bethew Jennings, Gwendolyn Burden and Judge Hilary Green

Sabrena Pack, Victor James and Shay James

McDonald. There was a presentation of eight additional UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON BLACK ALUMNI….. scholarships to UHBAA Pathway to Excellence Scholars More than 350 alumni, community leaders, students and university officials attended the University of Houston Black and one endowed scholarship from Bracewell and Giuliani, LLP. We salute UHBAA president Brandon Wiggins, Alumni Association’s (UHBAA) 24th Annual Scholarship past president Vanda Mays and gala and Awards gala. A distinguished chair Wayne Luckett for a wonderful group of five accomplished AfricanJoin Yvette Chargois and profitable gala. Congratulations!... American alumni and two corporate ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY… supporters were recognized: Terence Events of the Week ..”Celebrating 80 Years of Service, Beauty Fontaine, chief administrative officer More photos on defendernetwork.com and Grace” was the theme chosen by for Metro; Charles McClelland Jr.; See Events on KTRK Ch.13’s Crossroads with Melanie Lawson Sunday Morning @ 11 a.m. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Lambda Zeta chief of police, City of Houston; De Chapter for its 17th annual Evening of Rose, manager of ancillary services, Brilliant Jewels honoring pillars of the CHI St. Luke’s Health; Mary Page community with the Lullelia Walker Harrison Dove Award. Prince, president/CEO of both Rookie’s Cookies Inc. The recipients included Gwendolyn Burden, entrepreneur; and Without Ceasing Inc. and Crystle Stewart, actress. Judge Hilary Green, Justice of the Peace for Precinct 7, Corporate supporter recipients Roderick Brown with UPS and Fred Hoyer of Bayway Auto Group were also Place 1; Bethew “Bert” Jennings, senior counsel and head honored. A $75,000 scholarship donation was made by of Intellectual Property for Bechtel Corporation and owner UH alum and honorary gala chair Rushion McDonald, and principal of Jennings Law Group, P.L.L.C.; Dr. Ronald executive producer for the “Steve Harvey Morning Show” Moon, DDS; Gertrudejane Holliday Stone, retired teacher and the “Steve Harvey Talk Show” and his wife, Dr. Cicely and president of Stone Enterprises; Katie Weber, retired

David Paul, CEO Ronda Robinson and Miranda Paul

teacher/school administrator and Dr. Randal Wright, neurologist. Additionally, several students were awarded scholarships. Kudos to chapter president Tunesia Bernard, Mary Breaux Wright, 24th international president, Kay Rosebure, southern regional director, Kathy Allen, Joyce Parker and all committee members for a great gala. Continued success!.....COVENANT HOUSE TEXAS….. The organization provides crisis care, food, shelter, medical treatment, job placement and counseling for homeless youth in Houston, without regard to race, creed, color or national origin. For over 30 years, Covenant House has been a shelter for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth under 21. Dillon Williamson and An Le, residents of Covenant House, presented testimonies to a packed ballroom at the Hilton Americas Hotel. Attendees included executive director Ronda Robinson, Miranda and David Paul, Eddie Orum, Tamara Hicks, Kim Upchurch, Juanita and Arthur Bynam, Timothy Wood, Tammy Ganger, Sabrena Pack, Shay and Victor James and Defender sports editor Max Edison. Continued success to you also!.....From Chag’s Place to your place, have a blessed week!

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Houston Defender: April 03, 2014  

Houston's Leading Black Information Source.

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