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Houston’s Leading Black Information Source

Volume 86 | Number 24

APRIL 13, 2017 |FREE

NEWSTALK AMANDA EDWARDS hosts local empowerment summit

P2 NATIONAL EMMETT TILL case could be reopened by Justice Department




FEATURE JUDY SMITH headlines TSU Maroon & Gray ball




Queen Latifah new travel show The multi-faceted actress has traveled all over the world. Now, she wants to take others along with her in her new travel series “The Best Place to Be” airing on the Travel Channel.

Myles Garrett tops in NFL draft


The annual NFL draft is two weeks away. One thing that all 32 teams agree on is Texas A&M University defensive end Myles Garrett is the top player in this year’s draft. Miara Shaw and CleRenda McGrady at the Change Happens Spring Breakfast



85 years • Serving the Houston area for over 80



DEFENDER | APRIL 13 | 2017


Councilmember Edwards launches empowerment series By JASEMINE KNOWLES Defender


our recent presiEach year, the theme of the dential election, Signature Series will change and police-community the demographics of the programrelations, and the What: Be the Solution Em- ming will change as well dependimmigration dispowerment Film & Summit ing on the public issues that need course, to name a to be addressed, Edwards added. When: Sat. April 22. few.” However, she says the mission Where: Texas Southern The Signature will remain the same. Series has a four“We are empowering our University College of Edupart mission to residents by building the human cation Auditorium empower Houscapital necessary for that comTime: 10:30 a.m - 1 p.m tonians through munity to thrive. By challenging tailored programs, residents to have a vision for their with the first being community and to be the change the “Be the Soluthey want to see in the world, we tion Empowerment Film and Summit” can achieve this goal,” she said. for teens, debuting April 22. “At a time where emotions run high regarding a The teen summit style discussion will focus on variety of community issues, it is essential that strathe film “Strange Demise of Jim Crow,” the story of tegic, purposeful, and peaceful engagement be at the the peaceful integration of Houston. It is an epic exforefront of methods used to effect change.” ample of how members of a community were able to For more information about the signature series, strategically work together to create lasting change. visit

April event

ouston City Council Member Amanda Edwards challenges Houstonians to get off the sidelines and start being the solution in their communities through the launch of the Edwards Community Empowerment Signature Series, an annual group of community-based events. The signature series centers around immigration and inspiring Amanda Edwards younger Houstonians, as well as seniors to get involved while providing them with resources and information on the issues that impact them. “The concept of empowering both youth and seniors through the Signature Series evolved as a result of me listening to the public outcry stemming from

Voter campaign failed to prevent ID confusion Texas’ court-ordered $2.5 million voter education campaign failed to prevent widespread confusion about the state’s identification rules ahead of the 2016 general election, according to a new study. Such a misunderstanding may have kept some eligible voters in key political battlegrounds from showing up to the polls, the University of Houston study found. A federal judge last year ordered the Texas Secretary of State’s office to spend

$2.5 million educating Texans about its voter ID requirements ahead of the 2016 elections. The requirements were relaxed after a federal appeals court last year ruled that Texas’ strict 2011 ID law discriminated against minority voters. The education efforts — a mix of television and radio advertisements and online media — fell short, the research suggested. “What was clear was, Texas voters did not have a good understanding of what the

photo ID rules were in 2016,” said one of the study’s authors, Mark P. Jones of UH and Rice University. “The Texas Secretary of State’s office could have done a much better job, although, of course, they need the resources to do it.” Sam Taylor, a spokesman for Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, declined to comment on the study, citing pending legal battles over the state’s voter ID law. Pablos was sworn in two months after the November elections.

Visit for more information…....THE HOUSTON PARKS BOARD WILL HOST its third annual Bayou Greenway Day, a free outdoor festival, on Saturday, April 29, from 11 a.m.4 p.m. at MacGregor Park. event programming will include an obstacle course, kayaking,face painting, a guided children’s bike ride, music andfood trucks. Visit for more information……..TSU CHAIRMAN DERRICK MITCHELL RESIGNED as chair but chose to remain on the board. Sources say the Governor and the university were concerned considering it is during the state legislative session. TSU needs its appropriation monies. The

TSU Board will name new leadership later at the April board meeting. ……..FORT BEND COUNTY COMMISSIONER GRADY PRESTAGE is calling on the community to help with the Gymnasium Renovation Project at Missouri City Middle School. The building was acquired by the County from Fort Bend ISD and Prestage plans to restore the building and transform it into a center for the community to enjoy. He also plans to include a small museum to house the history of the building and its place in the area. Residents who want to share photos of the building can drop them off at Missouri City Branch Library, 1530 Texas Parkway, during business hours.

localbriefs LONE STAR COLLEGE AND THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON-DOWNTOWN have agreed to extend and expand their program-to-program agreements, making it easier for students to transfer between the two institutions. The new agreement calls for UHD advisers to have a greater presence at LSC campuses and allows LSC students to co-enroll at UHD and take classes from both institutions simultaneously.......THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS is looking for AfricanAmerican students to participate in an Essay Contest and Issue Forum. Students are asked to write about the legacy of entrepreneurship in African-American communities. All written essay submissions are due by Friday, April 21. • Serving the Houston area for over 85 years

APRIL 13 | 2017 | DEFENDER


U.S.briefs THREE FORMER FOX NEWS EMPLOYEES detailed racial discrimination they suffered while working at the network. Tichaona Brown, Tabrese Wright and Monica Douglas alleged that Fox executives constantly mocked and belittled Black employees. Brown said one exec asked her to read the words “mother,” “father,” and “ask,” off of Post-It notes, explaining, “Black people continuously mispronounce these words.” Wright also said she told an exec that she was taking food home to her three kids, and was asked, “All by the same man?”……. THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IS ASKING a federal judge for more time to “review and assess” a proposed agreement to overhaul the Baltimore Police Department, saying it needed to determine how it might conflict with the crimefighting agenda of new Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The government’s request for a 90-day continuance came three days before a scheduled hearing before a federal judge, and just hours after Sessions announced he had ordered a sweeping review of the Justice Department’s interactions with local law enforcement, including such court-enforceable improvement plans with troubled police agencies…….REV. JESSE JACKSON SR. is likening Latinos helping build President Donald Trump’s planned border wall to “Blacks building slave ships.” The comment came while discussing the need for solidarity among Latinos and communities of color during a recent Hispanic leaders’ conference. Jackson criticized the dozens of Latino-owned firms that submitted proposals to the Department of Homeland Security to build the first stage of the wall…….NEW YORK IS SET TO MAKE TUITION at public colleges and universities free for middle-class students. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the tuition plan, which will cost an estimated $163 million and is part of the new state budget. In-state students whose families earn $125,000 or less will be eligible. Cuomo said the idea is to provide new economic opportunities by making college more affordable.

VOLUME 86 • NUMBER 24 APRIL 13, 2017 Publisher Sonceria Messiah-Jiles Ad/Client Relations Selma Dodson Tyler Digital Editor LaGloria Wheatfall Art Director Tony Fernandez-Davila Proofer Maia Shelby

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

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

Carolyn Bryant in 1955 and 2016, Emmett Till

Justice Dept. considers reopening Emmett Till case


Defender News Services

t was earlier this year that Carolyn Bryant Donham, the white woman who testified that Emmett Till made verbal advances toward her, admitted that she lied. Now, the revelation has the Department of Justice considering a move to reopen the investigation into the murder of the 14-year-old Till in 1955 in Mississippi. During an interview with author Timothy Tyson for his book “The Blood of Emmett Till,” the 82-year-old Donham recently admitted that she made up the whole story that led to the Black teenager’s brutal death. Till’s cousin Deborah Watts said that during a meeting with her and civil rights activist Alvin Sykes, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told her “no one gets a pass” saying that he would like to look into the unsolved civil rights crimes. Till was heinously beaten and shot in the head by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milan after Bryant’s wife Carolyn Bryant (now Bryant Donham) said Till whistled at her and touched her in the Mississippi store the family owned. Till was visiting from Chicago. Three days later, Till’s disfigured body was found attached to a cotton gin floating in the Tallahatchie River. Till’s mother Mamie memorably kept her son’s casket open at his funeral so that thousands were able to see the brutality of the killing. The murder sparked outrage, protest and a spark in the Civil Rights Movement. Carolyn Bryant was 21 at the time. After her testimony, Bryant and Milam were acquitted after less than an hour of jury deliberation. A year later, the pair confessed to the murder but were never charged again.

Donham told Tyson “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.” Donham, who also lost of of her sons said that she felt “tender sorrow” for Emmett Till’s mother. After the confession, Congressman Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, wrote a letter to the Assistant Attorney General Thomas Wheeler in February asking him to reexamine the case. Thompson’s letter said that Donham admitted that she “fabricated the interaction with Till while under oath during the trial of Till’s murderers.” The “false statement holds liability for the death of Emmett Louis Till” and “affords the Department of Justice the opportunity to bring some justice to an innocent 14-year-old boy.” In a letter back to Thompson, Wheeler wrote: “the Department is currently assessing whether the newly revealed statement could warrant additional investigation.” But Wheeler was careful to admit that the process would not be easy. “We caution, however, that even with our best efforts, investigations into historic cases are exceptionally difficult, and there may be insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers to bringing federal charges against any remaining living persons.” The Till case was reexamined in 2004 and his body was exhumed in 2005 but a jury decided not to indict because, after 50 years, the statue of limitations had been exceeded. But in 2016, President Obama expanded a 2008 order from President George W. Bush that gave government agencies the ability to reopen investigations into civil rights era cases. Till’s cousin, Deborah Watts, said that she and her family want this case and other civil rights cold cases to become a priority for the Justice Department. • Serving the Houston area for over 85 years



DEFENDER | APRIL 13 | 2017

Black restaurant week promotes Blue Triangle By JASEMINE KNOWLES Defender

The Blue Triangle Multi-cultural Association’s (BTMCA) commercial kitchen is getting a makeover as a result of the donations collected during Black Restaurant Week’s showcase. Known as the first branch of Houston’s Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), it was founded in 1919 during World War I and became a meeting place where women and girls of color could meet, learn and enjoy recreational activities. It opened at 806 Clay Ave. in the old Masonic Building, and now resides on 3005 McGowen St. Since its opening, the center has had a long history of providing programs and activities for children and adults like daycare, Bible study, art, drama and dance classes for the Third Ward community. Charlotte Kelly Bryant, BTMCA’s volunteering board president, said educational and social activities made Blue Triangle “the social spot” for many Houstonians, yet, “the building is old and needs a lot of remodeling.” Bryant said to maintain the building’s sustainability in the community, BTMCA has rented out their commercial kitchen for recreational use to earn revenue.

“Though I’m currently renting out the kitchen, I’m realizing it needs a number of things, including a three-door refrigerator, deep freezer, and installation of additional electrical outlets.” Falayn Ferrell, Black Restaurant Week’s operations manager, says donations from the showcase will not only help supply BTMCA with its needs, it will help provide a better rental space for small catering businesses. “The new kitchen renovation will allow churches, families, and executive chefs the ability to rent out the kitchen to prepare large meals for events such as special luncheons, weddings, funerals, and family reunions,” said Ferrell. “It’ll also help BTMCA’s signature holiday event, Breakfast with Santa that gives gifts and breakfast to lower income children during the holiday season.” Bryant said though she is grateful for this opportunity to help BTMCA thrive, she said the new kitchen renovation is just one of many issues that still needs work. “Next on the agenda is getting our roof repaired for $200,000. However, just like God blessed BTMCA with the help from Black Restaurant Week, I know that he can do it again,” she said. Visit for more information.

Blue Triangle’s commerical kitchen.




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APRIL 13 | 2017 | DEFENDER



Queen Latifah

Series hopes to inspire Black travel Defender News Services

Queen Latifah is giving fans a glimpse at how celebrities experience the world’s most beautiful destinations with her new Travel Channel mini-series, “The Best Place to Be.” Executive-produced by Latifah and business partner Shakim Compere’s production company Flavor Unit, each one-hour episode follows a noted personality sharing the hidden hot spots of their favorite international destinations, includ“The Best Place to Be” airs on the Travel Channel. ing Anthony Anderson (Barcelona), viously overlooked and undocumented by mass media. Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen (Hong Reports credit travel websites targeting people of Kong), Mary-Louise Parker (Kenya) and Latifah herself color and social media influencers as contributing factors (Rio de Janeiro). The multifaceted media maven said she wants view- for the supposed increase. With reports of the “Black travel movement” ers to experience travel through the lens of a celebrity. being on the rise, Latifah wants the mini-series to in“The premise of it was something that Shakim spire even more people to broaden their international came up with based on my life,” she said. “When I go on vacations I travel to different places around the world horizons. “Sometimes it takes the media a minute to catch and oftentimes I’m with friends of mine who hip me to up and actually care about what we’re doing,” she said. the cool places to be and things to go to. And for a lot of celebrities, this is our only little break to escape and kind “But we know what we do, and we know we love to take a vacation and get away and just enjoy life. of be normal without the spotlight. “I’m hoping the show will just give them more “And so, we want to share that place with the world places to go and stretch their horizons even further. I and tell them about their secret spots, because we want love to be in a land where I don’t speak the native to see it through their lens,” she added. language, but people are people no matThe show couldn’t have come at a better time for ter where you go.” the production duo. As for the best way to In recent years, travel research group MMGY Global has found a surge in African-Americans’ intent to maximize one’s travel experience, the awardQueen Latifah travel internationally, which some have argued was pre-

winning actress-rapper recommends travelers venture off the “beaten path” of where tourists traditionally visit for a more cultured experience. “You’ll have a much more richer experience when you travel like that…It’s so much more rich and deep and fulfilling than what you would do if you hung around the pool all day,” she said. “The Best Place to Be” airs on the Travel Channel. Check your local listing for times.

what’sup PHAEDRA PARKS has reportedly been fired from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” The selfproclaimed Southern Belle’s contract was allegedly not renewed after taping the show’s explosive reunion special and comes after an especially tense season between her and former best friend KANDI BURRUSS. The escalating conflict between the two is believed to be the reason behind the decision not to bring Parks back for RHOA’s 10th season, which will reportedly see the return of NENE LEAKES and KIM ZOLCIAK……. JANET JACKSON and her husband WISSAM AL MANA are calling it quits. The music

superstar and the Qatari businessman welcomed their first child this January. Jackson gave birth at age 50. She and Al Mana have kept their relationship quiet for the most part since meeting at a hotel opening in 2010 and splitting their time between Dubai and Qatar…….JAY Z has pulled his solo music from Apple and Spotify. According to Spotify, the removal was “at the request of the artist,” though that’s hardly surprising. This is not the first time that Jay Z has pulled his music from the steaming services, since he had pulled his debut album, “Reasonable Doubt,”  from all streaming services except for Tidal after

Tidal’s launch. Then, last year, Jay Z removed his “Blueprint” series as well……..A new report says BEYONCÉ is the most powerful celebrity on social media. If Beyoncé gives a shout-out or plug to anything on Facebook or Instagram, that post is reportedly worth $1 million in spending for an ad. Her influence has also skyrocketed because of her role in the Grammy Awards in February as well as the announcement of her pregnancy and news that she is expecting twins. All this is even more impressive when you consider the fact that she is the 22nd most followed person online. • Serving the Houston area for over 85 years


DEFENDER | APRIL 13 | 2017

Houston poet laureate named Defender News Services

As part of National Poetry Month, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the selections of Deborah Mouton – a poet, singer, actress, photographer, wife and mother – as Houston’s third poet laureate and Fareena Arefeen as the city’s second youth poet laureate. Houston has so many talented page and performance poets and a strong literary arts community,” said Mayor Turner. “Deborah Mouton has the expertise and passion for poetry that will be invaluable in working with arts groups of all disciplines to take poetry to all of Houston’s neighborhoods. “Likewise, Fareena is a tremendous choice for the youth poet laureate, and I am impressed by her commitment to serving the community.” Mouton was chosen through a competitive application and interview process by a panel of local literary arts experts. Her two-year term begins this month and runs through April

2019. She will work closely with the Houston Public Library and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs to implement her Community Outreach Project. She will also conduct eight workshops in Houston Public Libraries, create videos and poems to share on social media and mentor the Houston Youth Poet Laureate. “It’s such an honor to be chosen to serve Houston as the poet laureate,” Mouton said. “I can’t wait to work with local artists and citizens to shine light on the unique voices and cultural experiences that this great city has to offer.” Arefeen, a junior at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), succeeds Andrew White, a graduate of HSPVA and a freshman at New York University who now serves as U.S. regional youth poet laureate and is in the running to be the national youth poet laureate. Arefeen’s one-year term includes a scholarship, a book publication and mentorship from Houston’s poet laureate.

Deborah Mouton

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APRIL 13 | 2017 | DEFENDER


HBCUs much needed option for Blacks Defender News Service

The HBCU system has played an integral role in the upward mobility of Black Americans since its establishment following the Civil War. A 2015 Gallup poll also showed that Black graduates of HBCUs fare better than those who went to non-HBCUs across a multitude of categories include financial well-being, purpose and even physical well-being. According to the poll, HBCU graduates felt more supported by their professors and had better opportunities for mentorship. Only 25 percent of Black graduates from other institutions reported that their professors cared about them as people, compared to 58 percent of graduates from HBCUs. Despite these successes, HBCUs have struggled in recent times. Desegregation, rising incomes and more opportunities for financial aid have provided Black students with more choices, and HBCUs have seen their enrollment numbers stay relatively flat over the past 25 years with small increases in enrollment. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) figures show that in fall 2015, the combined total enrollment of all HBCUs was 293,000, compared with 234,000 in 1980. By comparison, enrollment at other universities and colleges nearly doubled during that same time. HBCUs aren’t letting these numbers discourage them and if anything, they’ve upped the ante with new program launches and expansions. Last month, Howard University announced the launch of a new West coast campus at the GooglePlex in Mountain View, Calif. Created with a mission to increase diversity in the tech industry, “Howard West” will provide residency to Black Computer Science majors and will further Google’s efforts to recruit more Black software engineers from HBCUs. The program begins this summer and will allow juniors and seniors to attend Howard West for three months at a time. Students and alumni also are rallying behind HBCUs and have planned a National Day of Action on April 27, when they will gather on Capitol Hill to increase awareness and support for these institutions. Organized by the HBCU Collective, a group of advocates who work in politics, education and policy, the mission for the rally is to pressure the lawmakers into maintaining funding and increasing resources for HBCU students.




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DEFENDER | APRIL 13 | 2017


Suzette Caldwell

Windsor Village United Methodist Church Spouse: Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell Title: Pastor Biggest challenge as a First Lady: I am blessed to be married to a man who supports and encourages women to do and be all that God has called them to be. As a First Lady, the past 25 years have been exciting and satisfying. I have no regrets! Favorite Bible Verse: Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. -Hebrews 13:20-21

Audrey Marie Cosby

Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Spouse: Rev. Dr. Marcus D. Cosby Title: First Lady/Director of Middle School Ministry Biggest Challenge as First Lady: It is a blessing to be able to serve God’s people through our church. My greatest challenge, however, is having sufficient time to minister to my own family as well as serve the church in the multiple ways that I would desire. I love the work that I do. I just wish I could do more. Favorite Bible Verse: The lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is my stronghpld of my life, or whom shall I be afraid?- Psalm 27.

Geneva DeVaughn

Silverlake Baptist Church Spouse: Dr. Reginald Devaughn Sr. Title: Director of Women’s Ministry Biggest Challenge as a First Lady: Balancing my many roles. However, I have found that when I consistently communicate and listen to God’s direction each day and all day, the problems with balance become much less of a challenge. Working for God is awesome even in the midst of challenges because He does all things well! To God Be the Glory! Favorite Bible Verse: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. -Psalms 23.

Katrina Renee Hartwell




here is no better time than Resurrection Sunday to celebrate female leaders of Houston’s Black churches. These women - who partner with some of Houston’s most dynamic megachurch pastors - work tirelessly in their respective churches. Some work as pastors themselves, lead various ministries or start community-wide platforms. However they choose to serve, the Defender celebrates these First Ladies who are proving to be a force of their own.

Cross Roads Community Church of Pearland Spouse: Pastor Christopher F. Hartwell Title: Director of Leadership Favorite Bible Verse: And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. - 1 Peter 5:10

Janice Pender Bridget E. Hilliard

New Light Church World Outreach and Worship Center, Inc. Spouse: Bishop Ira V. Hilliard Title: Co-Founder Biggest Challenge: My role as a First Lady has been 42 years. I can’t really say there hasn’t been a challenge that’s not common to being in the spotlight. Favorite Bible Verse: As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. - Zechariah 9:11

Fallbrook Church Spouse: Pastor Michael A. Pender Title: Director of Women’s Ministry Biggest challenge as a First Lady: To remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and serve people with a heart of love. It’s easy to become distracted with the cares of everyday and forget that what we do and say has eternal impact. Favorite Bible verse: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11 • Serving th





Sonya M. Sloan

The Luke Church Spouse: Dr. Timothy W. Sloan Title: First Lady Biggest challenge as a First Lady: Not wanting to disappoint-Being everything to everyone! Favorite Bible Verse: So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

Sonya Taylor Stevenson

The Fort Bend Church Spouse: Pastor Byron C. Stevenson Title: Executive Director / President and Founder of The Kaleidoscope Foundation Biggest challenge as a First Lady: Although it is my heart’s desire, accepting the fact that I cannot be everything to everybody. Favorite Bible verse: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28:

Sheretta West

The Church Without Walls Spouse: Dr. Ralph Douglas West Title: Mosaic Women’s Ministry Liason Biggest challenge as a First Lady: Balancing time and schedules Favorite Bible Verse: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. - Philippians 4:8.

Mia Knight Wright

Doris Gardner Ratliff

Brentwood Baptist Church Spouse: Pastor Joe Samuel Ratliff Title: Executive Director, Doris Gardner Ratliff Center For Child Development Biggest Challenge as First Lady: Remembering names of members Favorite Bible Verse: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. - Psalms 121

he Houston area for over 85 years

The Fountain of Praise Spouse: Dr. Remus E. Wright Title: Pastor, Non Profit Executive, Metamorphosis Women’s Empowerment, Biggest challenge as a First Lady: Managing expectations of others regarding this role. When I was much younger and very impressionable, I realized that I allowed what others felt like I should be doing/wearing/ saying to directly influence what I did, said and wore. As I have come into my own understanding of who I am as a child of God first, as a woman, as a wife, mother, a leader, I have come to realize that the many hats I wear cannot be limited by the expectations of others. I have to be pleasing unto God and to take ownership in the sense of satisfaction that I get from the successes of life. This “transformation” in my mindset gave me the liberty to be me and to be all that God desired for me to be. When others ask me, “how can I be a successful First Lady?” I always respond - “Be the best YOU that God made you to be!” Favorite Bible Verse: Blessed is she that believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told to her from the Lord. - Luke 1:45


DEFENDER | APRIL 13 | 2017

Guide merges the faith, HIV divide Defender News Services

A new research guide is hoping to help faith leaders address HIV within the Black community from a social justice perspective. The Black Church & HIV initiative, a partnership between the NAACP and Gilead Sciences, Inc. that aims to address the urgent need for action on the HIV epidemic within the Black community, believes the faith community is part of the solution, just as it has been in addressing equity issues affecting African-Americans for decades. The pastoral brief is an introduction to The Black Church & HIV, along with firsthand stories of how faith leaders can preach about HIV as a social justice issue and impact the lives of those living with HIV. Complementing the brief is an activity manual that provides faith leaders and lay persons who lead ministries in their church with more detailed information about HIV, as well as specific recommendations on activities that combat HIV and AIDS in the African-American community. “Historically, the Black church has been instrumental in driving change on social

justice issues,” said Dr. Marjorie Innocent, NAACP senior director of Health Programs. “There is a growing need for pastors and the faith community to help address the alarming rates of HIV among AfricanAmericans. These comprehensive tools will empower pastors and lay leaders, giving them the resources they need to bring HIV awareness and prevention into their ministry.” The African-American community, bearing the heaviest burden of HIV within the United States, is on the front lines of the fight against HIV. While Blacks represent 12 percent of the total United States population, they account for 41 percent of all people living with HIV and 44 percent of all new infections. Additionally, on average, AfricanAmericans are likely to experience worse health outcomes than any other racial or ethnic group. Addressing the HIV epidemic is crucial in lowering these statistics and advancing health equity among AfricanAmericans, who historically have experienced unequal access to healthcare and been economically and socially disadvan-

taged, leading to a disproportionate burden of disease. The pastoral brief and activity manual, which are an update to the original documents released in 2012, are reflective of the initiative’s learnings over the past five years, as well as current statistics and positions on the issue. They were developed under the guidance and support of an advisory committee of bishops, ministers and thought leaders who have worked in HIV ministry for decades. The launch of the pastoral brief and activity manual allows faith leaders to incorporate HIV education into their sermons in observance of Minority Health Month. This month is dedicated to bringing national attention to the issue of health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities, including HIV in the black community. To download a copy of the pastoral brief or activity manual or learn more about NAACP’s The Black Church & HIV: The Social Justice Imperative initiative, visit

APRIL 13 | 2017 | DEFENDER

A Defender and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic Alliance



Kelsey-Seybold warns about strokes By JEANENE SMITH, M.D.


very 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke and all too often it’s an AfricanAmerican. Blacks are impacted by stroke more than any other group within the American population. Jeanene Smith, M.D. This is because we have nearly twice the risk for a first-time stroke than Caucasians and a higher death rate from stroke. Having a stroke isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion, though, as strokes are often preventable, treatable and beatable.

Higher risk

A stroke is triggered when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. Once that occurs, the brain doesn’t get the blood and oxygen it needs and starts to die. African-

Defender April 2017-AK.indd 1

Americans are at higher risk because we have higher rates of: • • • •

High blood pressure High cholesterol Obesity Diabetes

Know the signs

With these facts in mind, it’s important for every African-American adult to know the signs of stroke and how to prevent one. Signs of stroke include: • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body. • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech. • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes. • Difficulty walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination. If any of these signs are present, call 911 immediately for an ambulance so medical personnel can begin lifesaving treatment on the way to the emergency room. Stroke treatments work best only if

the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within three hours of the first symptoms. While some risk factors can’t be changed – age, family history, race and gender – others can be modified by taking care of yourself and your health. • Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help prevent stroke. • Maintain a healthy weight. • Stay active. • Don’t smoke. • Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise blood pressure.

Strokes are preventable

Up to 80 percent of strokes could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and working with your healthcare team to control health conditions that raise your risk for stroke. Dr. Jeanene Smith is an Internal Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold’s The Woodlands Clinic. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith, call Kelsey-Seybold’s 24-hour Contact Center at 713-442-0000.

3/24/17 2:07 PM


DEFENDER | APRIL 13 | 2017

TSU prepares for Maroon & Gray Affair Defender News Services

Texas Southern University is preparing for its annual black-tie fundraiser and promise the event will be a star-studded affair, complete with a keynote address from Judy Smith. She is the president of Smith & Company, a top strategic and crisis communication firm in Washington, D.C. and the inspiration behind the hit show, “Scandal.” Smith’s career as a “professional fixer” was the impetus for the groundbreaking television series, “Scandal,” starring Kerry Washington. Smith is co-executive producer of the show, sharing her technical Judy Smith expertise with its award-winning creator, Shonda Rhimes. “Scandal” is currently in its sixth season on ABC. The Maroon & Gray Affair will be held on Saturday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis Hotel Houston, 1777 Walker. The event draws inspiration from the university’s hallmark colors to present an evening of elegance in support of student scholarships and programs.

TSU’s First Lady Loren Lane is chairing a committee comprised of a virtual “Who’s Who of Houston,” including Gerald Smith and Argentina James. The gala is in line with Mrs. Lane’s vision to aid young scholars who, in turn, will contribute to the city, the nation and the world. “Our goal is to improve our annual graduation and retention rates by providing our students with a bridge over their financial challenges,” said TSU President Dr. Austin A. Lane. “This university wants to do everything in its power to support these incredible young people so that they can matriculate unencumbered from the start of their freshman year to the moment they walk across the graduation stage in four years,” Lane said. The Maroon & Gray Affair will feature a tribute to students and alumni, live entertainment and a silent auction. For more information about sponsorships, VIP tables or individual tickets, contact visit or call TSU at 713-313-6844 or 713-313-1363.

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New PACs want more Blacks in politics By LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE NNPA

In the aftermath of former-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s crushing defeat last November, a number of groups were launched to encourage greater political participation among young people, women and minorities. Recently, the Milk River PAC hosted a dialogue on the impact of women in politics that featured Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and political commentator Ana Navarro. “PAC” is a common acronym for political action committee, an independent group that raises money to support candidates and issues related to their constituents. The goal of Milk River PAC is to inspire more African American women to run for Congress. Along with The Collective, Democracy in Color, and Higher Heights, the Milk River PAC is another effort focused on galvanizing support behind people of color running for office. Milk River PAC and Higher Heights are specifically focused on Black women. Black women voted at higher rates than any other demographic group in America during the 2008 presidential election cycle. Harnessing that political power is one of the many challenges that the groups hope to address at a time when Republicans control the United States Congress, the White House and most state legislatures.

Defender Mother’s Day Contest underway It’s the time of the year to celebrate mothers and the Defender is asking, “Do you look like your mom?” If so, show us and you may win. “Mothers are special. Many of us have caught ourselves ‘turning into our mothers,’ taking on their mannerisms and picking up their favorite sayings,” said Defender Publisher Sonny Messiah Jiles. “Now, we get to share with the Houston community how we’ve taken on their genes and look just alike.” As part of the Defender’s Mother’s Day contest you can get together with your mother, shoot a picture and visit www. to submit your photo by Friday, April 21 at noon. Then, encourage family and friends to vote for your photo beginning Friday, April 21 thru Sunday, April 30. Not only will we get to see your uncanny resemblances, but there’s a chance that if your photo receives the most votes you could walk away with a prize in the form of a gift card. “We are excited this year that a national leader in retail, Macy’s, has joined us as the sponsor celebrating mother-daughter and motherson lookalikes by giving away Macy’s gift cards to winners who receive the most votes,” Messiah Jiles said. The top three winners will be announced on Thursday, May 4. The first-place winner will receive a $300 gift card, second place $200 and third place $100.” It’s easy to enter the contest. Go to the and click on the Mother’s Day contest banner. Our readers will vote on the photo they like the best. The photo with the most votes win! Once again…the contest is underway now and the last day to submit photos is Friday, April 21 at noon. Voting will run from Friday, April 21 to Sunday, April 30. The three winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 4 just in time to receive the prizes for Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14.

classifieds The HARRIS CENTER for Mental Health and IDD

(formerly known as MENTAL HEALTH MENTAL RETARDATION AUTHORITY OF HARRIS COUNTY) will be accepting Request for Qualification for the following:

ROOFING CONSULTANT SERVICES Specifications may be secured from The HARRIS CENTER, Purchasing Department located at 9401 SW Freeway, Houston, Texas 77074; telephone (713) 970-7116 and/or via The HARRIS CENTER website or the Electronic State Business Daily Site, beginning Monday, April 17, 2017. A Non-Mandatory Conference is scheduled for, Tuesday, April 25, 2017 @ 10:30 a.m., 9401 Southwest Freeway. Deadline for prospective vendors to submit questions to this RFQ is Thursday, April 27, 2017. Qualification documents must be submitted to Purchasing Services, 9401 SW Freeway, Houston, Texas 77074 by 10:00 a.m., Monday, May 15, 2017 in a sealed envelope marked "RFQ FOR ROOFING CONSULTANT SERVICES” - DO NOT OPEN UNTIL - MONDAY, MAY 15, 2017 AT 10:00 AM. Any questions pertaining to this solicitation should be addressed in writing to James Blunt, Buyer II or E-mail questions to cc:, or via fax at (713) 970-7682. The HARRIS CENTER reserves all rights to reject any and/or all proposals, to waive formalities and reasonable irregularities in submitted documents as it deems to be in its best interests, and is not obligated to accept the lowest proposal.

NOTICE TO PROPOSERS Request for sub-contractor proposals for the Houston Community College (HCC) – North Forest Campus Automotive Technology Building Project “Durotech, Inc., as Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) for Houston Community College System, will receive proposals from subcontractors and vendor trades for the HCC – North Forest Campus Automotive Technology Building Project, based on documents - NORTH FOREST CAMPUS – AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY TRAINING CENTER EABPRJB6819920 - ISSUED FOR BIDDING dated January 23, 2017, issued by PGAL Architects. Proposals and qualification statements will be received by Durotech, Inc., until 2:00 P.M. local time on Thursday, April 20, 2017, in the presence of the Owner and Architect at the offices of Durotech, Inc. at 11931 Wickchester Lane, #205, Houston, TX 77043-4501. Proposals may be emailed to or faxed to 281-496-5637. Prevailing wage rates in conformance with Texas law will be paid on this project. All proposals shall remain valid for sixty (60) days. Durotech, Inc. is committed to meeting the SBE goals set for this project and encourages all SBE firms to submit a proposal for this project. Drawings and Specifications will be available for review at the offices of Durotech, Inc., and at the plan rooms of AGC, Dodge Data & Analytics, Virtual Builders Exchange, Brazos Valley Contractors Association, Construction Data and CMD Group. Contact Alan Montgomery ( at 281-558-6892 for information on this project. The Owner, Architect/Engineer and Construction Manager reserve the right to reject any and all proposals, to waive any informalities and irregularities in the proposal process, and to make the awards in the best interest of HCC. By submitting a proposal, each proposer agrees to waive any claim it has or may have against the Owner, the Architect/Engineer, Construction Manager and their respective employees arising out of or in connection with the administration, evaluation, or recommendation of any proposal; waiver of any requirements under the Proposal Documents, or the Contract Documents; acceptance or rejection of any proposals; and award of a Contract.”

APRIL 13 | 2017 | DEFENDER



DEFENDER | APRIL 13 | 2017


Texas A&M star

Garrett tops NFL draft By MAX EDISON Defender


he annual NFL draft begins April 27. Across the league, personnel departments from the 32 NFL teams are making their list and checking it twice to determine the players they feel can enhance the future of their franchises. One thing that all 32 teams agree on is Texas A&M University defensive end Myles Garrett is the top player in this year’s draft. There are two constants in the NFL: It’s a quarterback-driven league and there’s a premium placed on good defenders who can put extreme pressure on QBs and reduce them to a pile of rubble. Garrett fits into the latter category. Garrett’s specialty is making quarterbacks uncomfortable. He compiled 32.5 sacks in three seasons at Texas A&M. He’s played through injuries and constantly faces double teams. At 6-foot-4, 272 pounds, Garrett is a physical specimen. He finished in the top five in every drill for defensive linemen at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Most impressive was his 41inch vertical jump, his strength, lifting 225 lbs. 33 times and 4.64-second 40-yard dash at 272 pounds. A native of Arlington, Texas, Garrett grew up a Cowboys fan, but realizes that he doesn’t have a say-so in where he will play professionally. “I have to be prepared for wherever I go,” Garrett said. “If it’s the Browns [holders of the No. 1 pick], I’m going up against one of the best tackles in the league [Joe Thomas] right away. No matter where I go,

Myles Garrett

Garrett, an explosive defensive end, is considered the best prospect in the NFL draft.

I’m going to be facing many other great tackles and great players. I have to be on my toes and keep my sword sharpened, ready to go.” Playing in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Garrett knows a thing or two about playing against top level offensive line competition. Cam Robinson, Alabama’s mammoth All-American offensive tackle, has seen Garrett up close and vouches for his ability. “I played against him for three years. He’s a great player,” Robinson said. “It’s obvious what he can do. His size. His length. His explosion. You put all that into one package, and it just calls for a great defensive end and a great football player. “It never seemed like he took a play off to me,” Robinson said. “He always had a high motor, and that’s another attribute of his skill set that makes him so good. He’s always going 100 mph.” Although some detractors have suggested Garrett could have been even more productive with his talent, Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin set the record straight. “He loves the game,” Sumlin said. As great an athlete as he is, he’s an even better competitor and even better teammate. He wasn’t 100 percent at times, but he was still very effective. “That said a lot to his teammates about who he is,” Sumlin said. “That said a lot to our fans, but I think it also said a lot to GMs and people at the next level. He was really hurt, but to play and not shut it down and say, ‘Hey, I can just wait for the draft,’ says a lot about what type of player he is.” As dominant as Garrett has been on the gridiron, his life away from football is just as interesting. Considered by many who know him as a young man with an old soul, Garrett is an avid fan of old-school music, particularly the group Journey. His interests range from poetry by Maya Angelou to paleontology. Leaving A&M after his junior year, he is 36 hours away from a degree in architecture. He is a superior athlete with equal parts brains and brawn, and even that moniker doesn’t do him justice. “He beats to a different drum… He’s just a different guy,” Sumlin said. • Serving the Houston area for over 85 years Yates softball team reaches for the stars By DARRELL K. ARDISON Defender


he bar has always been set high at Jack Yates High School. Since its doors opened in 1926, the school is noted for producing leaders in fields ranging from academia to politics, oil and gas, the legal system, entertainment, medicine and athletics. So sixth-year head girls’ The Yates girls’ softball team is shown with head coach William Butler (rear center) and softball coach William Butler senior leaders Kenyell Banks (second from left kneeling) and Dejanae Lockett (second saw no reason to deviate from a from left standing). proven track record for success. she’s also a team leader. Those two are going to lead Despite the fact that nine of his 14 players us into the playoffs.” were inexperienced in organized softball coming Banks pitched a complete game for the win into the 2017 season, Butler’s goals for his team while Lockett added a base hit and scored three included not only being competitive but also qualify- times. ing for the postseason. With the second half of district play underway, Following a 20-17 victory over Kashmere at the Yates will close out the regular season against North Barnett Sports Complex, Yates improved to 4-2 in Forest, Scarborough, Booker T. Washington and District 24-4A and is squarely in the playoff chase. Wheatley. The win was good The top four enough for sole possession schools in league of second-place, one-half play will advance game ahead of Wheatley Find out which HISD baseball team into the playoffs beand trailing only front-runis among the state’s elite ginning April 29. ning Scarborough (5-0). “In the first “This was a good win game I ever pitched for us and we’re showing signs of coming together,” for Yates High School, we came back and won folButler said. “Week-by-week we’ve gotten better and lowing a losing streak,” Banks said. “So this year I now we’re in second place with our eyes on first wanted to pick back up where I left off. place and possibly winning district.” “After the injury I came into this season thinkYates jumped in front with a seven-run first ing I needed to pitch and make sure we get into the inning and never trailed against Kashmere, although playoffs,” Banks said. “Right now, we are working the Lady Rams made things interesting by coming very hard as a team. within three runs in the final inning. Banks has seen her team undergo a metamorThe winning Yates battery (pitcher/catcher com- phosis from the season’s early stages. bination) consisted of senior right-hander Kenyell “At the beginning of the season we were a Banks and senior backstop Dejanae Lockett. group of separate individuals,” she said. “We didn’t “Kenyell is the valedictorian of her class, know a lot about each other or about the game itself. captain of the Lionettes and the leader of our team,” “As we continued to practice more and more Butler said. “She got hurt last year so this is really we started to jell together like a true team,” Banks her first year of playing full-time. said. “I feel all of the players’ hard work has been “Dejanae is the stabilizing force on our team,” phenomenal. It’s a satisfying feeling and we believe Butler said. “She’s the best hitter that we have and we’re only going to get better.”

APRIL 13 | 2017 | DEFENDER


sportsbriefs De’Aaron Fox going pro Former Cy-Lakes and Kentucky All-American De’Aaron Fox announced he is taking his game to the NBA after one year in college. Fox averaged 16.7 points and 4.6 assists per game this season as a Wildcat. He exploded for 39 points and was unstoppable in a victory against UCLA in the Sweet 16. “De’Aaron’s speed, length and ability to pick up defensively from 94 feet set him apart from his peers,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “De’Aaron came in here focused from day one, and to see his improvement from the beginning of the season to the end was special. What you saw from De’Aaron over the last month and a half of the season I think is what NBA teams will get for the future.”

Dotson competes at camp Former Yates standout and University of Houston guard Damyean Dotson will compete at the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational NBA pre-draft camp. Dotson was one of 64 seniors invited to participate in the four-day, 12-game tournament in front of NBA scouts. This marks the 66th straight season in which the Portsmouth Invitational has been played. Dotson was named to the All-American Athletic Conference First Team and earned NABC AllDistrict 25 Second Team honors after averaging 17.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Dotson was one of only two players to rank among the American Athletic Conference’s top-10-leaders in both scoring and rebounding.

Washington replaces Wheatley in state soccer The Houston Wheatley High School boys’ soccer team was removed from the Class 4A state soccer tournament due to an ineligible player and replaced by Houston Washington. The University Interscholastic League designated Washington as the qualifying school from Region III-4A after Wheatley and the HISD selfreported the violation. An eligibility check in preparation for the state tournament revealed Wheatley used an ineligible player during the regional final against Washington. Wheatley won the game 6-2 in College Station. A Wheatley player was deemed ineligible based on an attendance boundary requirement set forth by the UIL. The school also notified the team of the incident and will work closely with the HISD Department of Athletics to determine its cause. Washington and Kilgore will now meet in the Class 4A state semifinals.

Girls’ basketball on tap The 2017 Houston Choice Select high school girls’ basketball showcase is set for April 22 at Fonde Recreation Center. Located at 110 Sabine Street near downtown Houston, the event will convene from 9 to 11 a.m. Open to juniors and seniors. Registration is from 8:30-9 a.m. For information and details contact Leslie A. Harris at or call 713556-6924. • Serving the Houston area for over 85 years


DEFENDER | APRIL 13 | 2017

Happening in Houston For event coverage email:


DR. ALVIA WARDLAW’S BOOK SIGNING……..The Community Artists the call for donations while founder and CEO Rev. Leslie Smith II provided closing Collective hosted a book signing event for Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, curator for Texas remarks. The many attendees included JaNiece McFarland-Hunt, Sheryl James, Southern University’s museum, member of the Smithsonian National Museum Serwa Omowale, Dr. Dawnia Willis, Andrea Butler, Bennette Davis, and of African American History and Culture’s Scholarly Advisory Committee, and more……..ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS: TOOLS FOR WEALTH BUILDING one of Houston’s most prolific art historians. Wardlaw signed copies of her book LUNCHEON……...The Emancipation Economic Development Council (EEDC) “Charles Alston” and her article in the catalogue “Thornton Dial in the 21st Century.” hosted “Anchor Institutions: Tools for Wealth Building,” a luncheon designed to Attendees included director of the Collective Michelle Barnes, John Guess, Bill inform and empower Third Ward residents and stakeholders with tactics for taking Milligan, Jaison Oliver, Kathleen Evans, Angela Daniel, economic control of their neighborhood. Ted Howard, executive Sarah Trotty, Bettye Harris, Ruth Robbins, Deanna director of the Democracy Collaborative, shared the successes Defender TOP EVENTS his organization had with communities in his native Cleveland, Burrell, Tanya Holden, Marilyn Oshman and many More photos on others……..PLANTING DREAMS & HARVESTING Ohio. The EEDC, led by Rev. Robert McGee (Trinity United HOPE BREAKFAST…….. Change Happens! hosted Methodist Church) and Dr. Assata Richards (Sankofa Research its 10th Annual Spring Breakfast, themed “Planting Dreams Institute) exists to create consensus among community groups & Harvesting Hope,” at the Junior League of Houston. The event served as a for preserving and revitalizing the area. Event coordinators Cleveland Gite and Rev. major fundraiser for the non-profit and its 18 programs that deal with education, John Eigege were joined by Deloyd Parker, Edith Selgary, Blynthia Scott, Bishop advocacy, homelessness and HIV prevention to name a few. KHOU news anchor Frank Rush, JoAnn Vallie Rush, Bianca Mahmood, Imarogbe Stokes, Kofi Len Cannon served as MC. Event chairs Vanessa Reed and Kevin Reed issued Taharka, Munirah Olabisi, Zeinab Bakhiet and more.

Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, Sarah Trotty, Bettye Harris

Michelle Barnes, Kathleen Evans

Lamonica Love, Kira Laws, Kalan Laws, J.J. Simmons

Rev. Leslie Smith II, Pageoan Edwards

Dr. Assata Richards, Eureka Gilkey, Ryan Dennis

Imarogbe Stokes, Rev. John Eigege

Bill Milligan, Jaison Oliver

Miara Shaw, CleRenda McGrady

Kofi Taharka, Previn Jones • Serving the Houston area for over 85 years

Profile for Defender Media Group |DefenderNetwork

Houston Defender: April 13, 2017  

Houston Defender e-Edition. Houston's Leading Black Information Source.

Houston Defender: April 13, 2017  

Houston Defender e-Edition. Houston's Leading Black Information Source.