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Houston’s Leading Black Information Source HISD

Volume 88 | Number 42 AUGUST 15, 2019 |FREE

NEWSTALK HISD board members respond to TEA takeover allegations


case still sparks unrest 5 years later



things to do before you die

FEATURE MICKEY LELAND honored on anniversary


Simone Biles

Aldis Hodge channels injustice

changes the game

The actor talks about his pivotal role in the true story of Brian Banks, a 17-yearold football star who was wrongfully accused of rape and kidnapping. Instead of fighting those charges in court, which could have resulted in a sentence of 41 years to life, he took a plea deal….only to have the victim recant her story later. H PAGE 5

The gymnast has solidified her place in history – this time with an amazing back somersault called the triple-double. But what many may not realize is that her greatness goes beyond her medal count and margins of victory. Get the story.

H PAGE 10 • Serving the Houston area for over 88 years


Marc Newsome and DJ Elevated at the Project Row Houses opening reception





HISD under fire, threatened by takeover Defender News Services

Board members of HISD are fighting back against allegations from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) of wrongdoing in the district. Based on what the TEA calls a “demonstrated inability to appropriately govern, the agency is recommending to the commissioner of education that the accreditation status of the district be lowered, a conservator appointed and a board of managers be installed to replace the current board of trustees. Diana Davila, board president Trustee Diana Davila and District 8 trustee, called the TEA report “one-sided.” “The report issued by TEA is a onesided preliminary. The district will have the opportunity to respond to each allegation. Once this process is completed, the public will have access to both sides of the story, not just TEA’s,” Davila said. “In the meantime, Houston ISD is working hard to ensure the start of the new school year is a great one for all our students, teachers and parents. Proper documents and responses to all allegations will be submitted to TEA’s one-sided report to prove those incidents/allegations did not happen. It’s a shame some people will go to extremes to discredit the HISD School Board.” While District 4 Trustee Jolanda Jones

Trustee Jolanda Jones

doesn’t agree with a TEA takeover, she said it comes as no surprise based on the actions of the board. “I already knew my colleagues were pulling shenanigans. The preliminary report just confirmed for everybody else what I already knew was going on,” she said. “Clearly, HISD business was being done outside of HISD without full knowledge of the board or the public and they were executing their plans at the board meetings. “It is not my fault the board is getting taken over, it’s their fault,” Jones said. “I followed the rules but because of their bad behavior, we’re gonna be taken over. There is no mechanism to individually remove the wrongdoers of us so it’s either all of us or none of us. It’s sad, but I think the

alternative is worse.” The other two African-American board members, Wanda Adams and Rhonda Skillern Jones, said based on advice from legal counsel they will wait to reply to the allegations. TEA has the power to replace locallyelected school boards with its own appointed trustees, although it rarely does so. Such a step is typically reserved for extreme financial mismanagement or substandard student achievement. But in Houston, TEA officials are now considering replacing the local school board for a different reason: dysfunction. The investigation identified three main areas of mismanagement: • The board allegedly violated the Texas Open Meetings Act when a majority of its members met in October 2018 without publicly announcing the meeting. The group convened to discuss deposing Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan. • Board members often overstepped their authority, intervening in day-to-day management of the district that fell under the superintendent’s purview. • The board violated contract procurement rules, and then failed to adequately oversee contractors. HISD has been looking for a new, permanent superintendent since March 2018, when Richard Carranza left the post to become chancellor of New York City Schools. Many believe Carranza left in part out of frustration with Houston’s school board. Despite the recent recommendation, it’s unclear whether or when the board will be replaced. The decision is up to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, who reportedly will make a decision after the “finalization of [school] ratings, so that’s sometime between September and November.”

localbriefs THE FAMILY OF MALEAH DAVIS IS FRUSTRATED that the sole suspect in the case still hasn’t been charged with murder. Prosecutors have announced new charges against Derion Vence, 28, charging him with causing injury to a child/serious bodily injury. Court documents show that Vence, the ex-fiancé of Davis’ mother, Brittany Bowens, struck the 4-year-old girl with his hand and a blunt object before her death. Maleah’s relatives, on her biological father’s side, showed up at a recent court appearance hoping to see Vence in court facing murder charges. Authorities said more charges are possible as they continue investigating. Maleah was

reported missing last May 4 and her remains were found in Arkansas on May 31…….NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP has filed an open records request for Galveston police to produce body camera footage from officers who led a Black, mentally ill man by a rope through downtown Galveston on horseback on Aug. 3. Crump said he will organize a “Great March on Galveston” in September to command action by officials if they fail to comply. “The images and bystander video of Mr. Donald Neely being dragged by police conjure up painful memories of slave hunters dragging slaves with rope in 1800s America,” Crump said. “The world is

watching, and it knows this behavior by police is not acceptable; the best path forward for the Galveston Police Department is transparency and accountability, which is the only way to rebuild trust.” The department has 20 days to comply……..CASE FOR KIDS CITY CONNECTIONS is looking for nonprofit organizations that address the need for after school care for youth in various communities. The program will take place in each Houston City Council district in a variety of locations such as community centers, schools and churches. Organizations interested in receiving funding can apply at • Serving the Houston area for over 88 years



U.S.briefs A NEW CALIFORNIA LAW MAKES IT THE FIRST STATE TO ban discrimination against Black students and employees over their natural hairstyles. The authors of the new law say women with kinky and curly hair are sometimes subject to unequal treatment, and can even be viewed as inferior. A recent study by Dove says that Black women are 80 percent more likely to change their natural hair to conform to social norms or expectations at work……..MOREHOUSE COLLEGE HAS ESTABLISHED A PROGRAM to eliminate student loan debt for their alumni. Black Enterprise reports that the Morehouse College Student Success program will function as a fundraising initiative and will accept donations to help erase debt for Morehouse men. This program comes at a crucial time where student loan debt is a major burden on college graduates.  In the U.S, student loan debt is at an all-time high with students owing $1.5 trillion. Morehouse grads carry on average $35,000 to $40,000 in student loan debt…….A MICHIGAN POLICE OFFICER IS ON ADMINISTRATIVE leave after a prospective buyer of his home said he found a framed Ku Klux Klan application and several Confederate flags inside the residence. Rob Mathias, who is Black, was touring the home in the Muskegon County town of Holton with his wife and children recently when he said they discovered the racist memorabilia hanging on the walls. Mathias said he would have still considered purchasing the home despite the flags, but the application caused him to gather his family and immediately leave the property. The NAACP is calling for a thorough investigation into the officer, 20-year veteran Charles Anderson, who was previously involved in a fatal police shooting of a Black parolee. Anderson’s wife denied that her husband is a KKK member, saying he’s a collector of memorabilia.

VOLUME 88 • NUMBER 42 AUGUST 15, 2019 Publisher Sonceria Messiah-Jiles Ad/Client Relations Selma Dodson Tyler

Strategic Alliance Manager

Clyde Jiles Art Director Tony Fernandez-Davila Photographers

Ray Carrington III Jimmie Aggison

Editors ReShonda Tate Billingsley Marilyn Marshall Contributing Writer Aswad Walker Sports Jodie B. Jiles Engagement Manager Margo Williams Hubbard

The Defender newspaper is published by the Houston Defender Inc. Company (713-663-6996.. The Defender is audited by Certified Audited Circulation. (CAC). For digital subscriptions, visit subscribe. No paper subscriptions are available. All material covered by 2019 copyright. (No material herein may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher).


Five years after Ferguson, Democrats announce bill Defender News Services

On the five-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen in Ferguson, Mo., Democratic lawmakers announced legislation aimed at reducing police killings by raising the standard for law enforcement’s use of deadly force. The bill would change the federal standard for “use of force” by federal officers, including those with the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and more. It would require that cops only use lethal force when necessary to prevent “imminent and serious” harm or death, and after “exhausting reasonable alternatives.” Notably, it would require officers to use Michael Brown Sr. speaks out about the 2014 death of his son Michael Brown Jr. de-escalation techniques to try to stabilize the situation. Khanna said. The legislation, called the PEACE He pointed to research showing how Black Americans are Act, is also meant to affect officers at the state and local levels disproportionately affected by police violence, accounting for by requiring states to enact similar legislation to be eligible for 25 percent of those who were killed by police in 2017 though continued funding from a they make up only 13 percent of federal grant program. the U.S. population. U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna After Brown’s death, weeks More on why Michael Brown’s father (D-Calif.), who authored the of protests ensued, and the wants case reopened bill, was with U.S. Rep. Lacy episode became a flashpoint in Clay (D-Mo.) in Ferguson wider discussions about systemic recently to announce it. He racism, police brutality and abuse of state power. Five years plans to formally introduce the bill in Congress in September later, the nation is still reckoning with these problems. when lawmakers return from recess. Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., is calling for reopen“It is past time to end a legal standard for use of force that ing the investigation into the white police officer who fatally permits Americans to be killed as a first resort – rather than only shot the Black and unarmed 18-year-old. when absolutely necessary – and with little accountability,”

Action called for after white terrorist attacks NNPA Newswire

The recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton are prompting calls for changing the definition and the language of gun massacres carried out by white males – white nationalist terrorism. “Our country is under attack from white nationalist terrorism, inspiring murder on our soil and abetted by weak gun laws,” wrote presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Twitter. “If we are serious about national security, we must summon the courage to name and defeat this evil.” After 22 people were murdered on Aug. 3 in El Paso by white supremacist Patrick Crusius, the shooting became the

eighth deadliest in modern U.S. history and the 250th gun massacre on the 216th day of 2019. Early the next morning in Dayton, Ohio, a 24-year old white male named Connor Betts shot nine people to death, six of them African-American. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, 73 percent of U.S. extremist-related murders in the past decade were committed by right-wing extremists, including white supremacists. Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the murders in Texas will be prosecuted as a hate crime. Crusius allegedly posted a manifesto in which he mentioned the phrase “Hispanic invasion.” There has been no major gun control legislation passed on the federal level in 25 years. • Serving the Houston area for over 88 years



Texas awarded grant to prevent SNAP fraud

Avenue, Legacy Community Health plan Northside clinic Defender News Services

Defender News Services

Texas Health and Human Services was recently awarded $336,994 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prevent and reduce fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Texas was among 10 states chosen to pilot new strategies in prevention and fraud detection within the food assistance program. The funds will be used to support HHSC’s public benefit integrity initiatives by creating outreach materials, and supplementing staff training and resources to help them better identify fraud. “Food assistance is a lifeline to many families trying to make ends meet,” said Wayne Salter, HHSC deputy executive commissioner for Access and Eligibility Services. “By safeguarding the integrity of the program we’re better able to help people who truly need it.” HHSC’s Public Benefit Integrity Unit

works to prevent inaccurate benefit issuance through professional staff training, recipient education and case review. Essential components of this approach include educating staff on new and emerging trends in fraud and providing recipients the necessary information and tools to use SNAP benefits as intended. SNAP provides food assistance to approximately 1.5 million eligible low-income individuals and families in Texas, with monthly benefits worth nearly $400 million.

Avenue, a local nonprofit dedicated to developing affordable homes and strengthening communities, is collaborating with Legacy Community Health to bring a much-needed health clinic to Near Northside. The 6,200-square foot facility, which will serve families in the traditionally low-income neighborhood, will open next year in Avenue Center, a new mixed-use community resource center. “We are excited to collaborate with Legacy Community Health to improve healthcare access for working families in Near Northside,” said Mary Lawler, executive director at Avenue. “Like Avenue, Legacy is committed to improving the quality of life for all, including low-income households that are cost-burdened and struggling to accommodate healthcare costs.” Legacy Community Health is a not-for-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that provides comprehensive care to over 150,000 patients at more than 30 clinics in Southeast Texas, regardless of their ability to pay. The United Way of Greater Houston agency will provide primary care and behavioral health services at the clinic. “We are proud to have the opportunity to address the need for quality health care in the Near Northside community,” said Legacy CEO Katy Caldwell. “We look forward to our collaboration with Avenue in the new Avenue Center and hope that it will inspire further investment in healthcare services for underserved communities across Houston and the state.” The Near Northside is home to approximately 25,000 people. Nearly 40 percent of residents lack health insurance and approximately 11 percent have previously reported serious psychological distress. Childhood obesity is also a prominent issue.




‘The Brian Banks Story’ Film highlights life of wrongly accused man Defender News Services

In 2002, Brian Banks was a 17-year-old football star who had verbally committed to play football at the University of Southern California, when he was wrongfully accused of rape and kidnapping. Instead of fighting those charges in court, which could have resulted in a sentence of 41 years to life, Banks accepted a plea deal that included five years in prison, another five years of probation and being registered as a sex offender. Close to a decade after Banks was convicted, the woman who accused him of rape and kidnapping recanted her previous statements and admitted to making up the story. With the help of the CaliAldis Hodge stars in “The Brian Banks Story,” now in theaters fornia Innocence Project (CIP), Banks fought back to clear his name. went through and how he went through it and how he’s able to On May 24, 2012, a judge of the Los Angeles Superior maintain his sense of self and his sense of worth. These conversaCourt reversed Banks’s conviction, removing his designation as tions are needed. And it’s great to give the a sex offender and once again allowing him to pursue his football CIP a platform so people can know dreams. who they are and what they do. I Banks, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2013, is just wanted to be an asset to his having his story brought to life in a new film, “The Brian Banks purpose. Story.” Defender: How did you Actor Aldis Hodge, who plays Banks, talks about the pivotal prepare for the role? role. He is known for his work on the TV series “Leverage” and Hodge: I trained every “Underground” and in such films as “Straight Outta Compton” day before and during filming and “Hidden Figures.” with Brian, who serves as an Defender: What made you decide to take on the role of executive producer on the film. His being Banks? on set helped me understand his mind-set. Hodge: What made me want to do the project was just As far as the mental and emotional [aspects the potential for cultural shift, progressive conversations when of the character], [Brian] was just really availit comes to judicial reform. What this means to Brian, what able, when I asked him questions about what he inspired me about the stories is what I wanted to give to the was going through at the time, given the situation. I audience because he’s so powerful in his presence and what he would talk to him about every scene before we went into

it and talked to him about it afterward. Even though he had to go back to dark areas, he was just willing to give me the tools I needed to do my job. Defender: How do you feel about all the positive attention you’ve been getting around the movie? Hodge: I see it as affirmation that the choices I’m trying to make, the direction I’ve been trying to go into, the sacrifices made along the way, are all worth it. And the right choices have been made, and I see it as a continuance of the work I need to continue doing. This is a really fantastic time – best time of my career, but it’s also a step, a piece of the puzzle for the bigger picture. There’s something grander for why I’m here in this position.

The real Brian Banks played with the Atlanta Falcons after his name was cleared.

what’sup Actress SHARI HEADLEY has been added to “Coming to America 2” as one of the original cast members reprising their role from the 1988 comedy starring EDDIE MURPHY (who will once again star as Prince Akeem). Headley will return as Lisa McDowell, the eventual wife to Murphy’s Prince Akeem. JAMES EARL JONES, ARSENIO HALL, JOHN AMOS and PAUL BATES are also confirmed for the sequel.  A number of other actors are on board as well, including WESLEY SNIPES, LESLIE JONES, KIKI LAYNE, RICK ROSS, TEYANA TAYLOR and comedian MICHAEL BLACKSON. The plot follows Prince Akeem as he is set to become

King of Zamunda but he discovers he has a son he never knew about in America. Akeem and Semmi (Hall) return to America to honor the king’s dying wish to groom Akeem’s son as the crowned prince. It will be release in April 2020…….A Michigan judge has agreed to allow a handwriting expert to examine wills discovered in couch cushions after ARETHA FRANKLIN’S death. The judge also placed administration of the Queen of Soul’s estate under court supervision. The hearing exposed the deepening divide among Franklin’s surviving family members. A handwritten 2014 document shows the singer apparently wanted her son, Kecalf Franklin, to serve

as the representative of her estate. Aretha died on Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer……Fox executives are confirming that there are “no plans” for JUSSIE SMOLLETT to return for the sixth and final season of “Empire.” Smollett’s return to the series was initially unclear, with it being announced that he would not appear in the first half of the final season but an executive recently went on record that Smollett is out. LEE DANIELS, showrunner and series creator, said in June that he was “beyond embarrassed” after Smollett was indicted for allegedly fabricating a racist and homophobic hate crime. The charges were later dropped. • Serving the Houston area for over 88 years

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things to do before you die


It’s a topic few of us want to think about, let alone prepare for – death. However, it’s crucial to manage a few things before you die. Here are 10 vital things to do in order to make the burden on your family as light as possible.


Write your will. A will is essentially a document that says who gets what when you die. After death, you will likely have left behind assets, including money, homes, cars, etc. And your will designates who receives those assets. If you don’t create a will, it could lead to serious family disputes over who thinks they are entitled to those assets. If you don’t have a will, the state gets involved and distributes the assets based on its own laws. Then, after you write it, make sure it stays updated. “Even if you don’t have a lot include little things like who should family photos go to and things like big fancy hanging mirrors. My aunts are still fighting over a mirror my grandmother had when she passed 25 years ago,” said reader Cheritta Smith.


Write a living will. Unfortunately, medical conditions can happen where you may become incapacitated or incapable of expressing your desires regarding medical treatment. A living will lets your family know what you prefer should you be put on life support. It’s important to note that a living will is different from a DNR (do not resuscitate). A DNR is a medical document that must be signed by your doctor; a living will is a legal document and requires no physician approval. “Knowing this made it so much easier to let my grandma go in peace,” said Candy McQueen. “No second guessing if I made the right decision because she made the decision for herself. I have asked all my family members the same question because tragedies can happen in a blink of an eye.”

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Put together an assets/debts list. It’s important to go through the things you own (stocks, 401ks, IRAs, etc.) and list the money you owe to help figure out how much you’re actually worth. Any type of loan, including credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, etc. should be considered when figuring out your debts. Select a power of attorney. The power of attorney is essentially the decision- maker for a person who has become incapable of making serious decisions. It is common for elderly people to make someone their power of attorney when their memory starts to fade or they can’t think as sharply as they used to. The power of attorney then oversees major decisions involving that person’s finances and legal matters. But whomever appoints someone to be their power of attorney can also revoke it, provided they still have a capable mind.


Designate a beneficiary. The beneficiaries are those who receive a percentage of your estate when you die. You may have one or more beneficiary for your estate, which is fine. But you need to designate who gets a piece of your estate when you pass. This keeps things simple when you pass and prevents others from coming forward and claiming they should

get part of your estate (even if it’s a $3,000 policy). You must give names and a percentage when choosing your beneficiaries. It’s important to note that your will cannot override beneficiaries. That’s why you must always make sure your decisions are up to date and align with one another. “I had an employee who forgot to remove his ex-wife from 10 years ago from his beneficiary list. His current wife wasn’t listed,” said reader Crystal Brown-Tatum, who works in human resources. .


Assign a “transfer of death” designation. When you die, your accounts are probated (distributed through a legal process). But if you assign a TOD (transfer of death), then upon your death, your accounts will be immediately transferred to your beneficiaries and won’t need to be involved in the probate. You’ll need to provide an original death certificate of the account holder, but that should be all you need to transfer the It makesWALKER things much easier than having to go Byaccount. ASWAD | Defender through the legal process of distribution. Add names to your bank account that way. If you die and don’t have anyone on the account your loved ones have problems withdrawing money.

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Write it down. Have EVERYTHING written down – bills, account numbers, computer and account passwords, Social Security numbers. It makes it easy for your family to get your affairs in order.

Store items in a safe place. Make sure you have your Social Security card and birth certificate with your life insurance policies. Once you’re dead your family will be unable to get it and it may be necessary if your death certificate has incorrect information. If you are a former member of the military make sure there is a copy of your discharge notice. This will aid in obtaining burial in veterans’ cemetery.

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Designate a confidante. Tell someone where everything is located. From insurance policies to furs to your secret stash of cash to your clothes at the dry cleaners. “I just saw this husband have to cremate his wife because she never told him where her policies were,” said Candy McQueen.

Don’t be afraid to plan your funeral. It’s morbid and no one likes doing it, but write down your wishes on whether you want a funeral (a service before the body is buried or cremated); a memorial service (a service after the body has been buried or cremated); or graveside service (takes place on the gravesite). “My mother even had what songs she wanted sung at her funeral and she had the program done. That was a burden lifted off us that I will be eternally grateful for,” said Jonathan Davis. You can also get a Pre-need from the funeral home, where you pay for and plan your funeral prior to death.


The Defender asked readers about some lessons they’ve learn when it comes to burying their lo ones and the advice they’d give help prepare for death.

“Start cleaning up. There is n ing like having to go through all their stuff. If you have mail that’s important don’t let it collect spac Get rid of it. Having to sort throu your loved ones’ belongings is em tionally draining and you feel gui throwing away anything of theirs good amount of people end up ho ing out of guilt.” – Nakecia Bowe

“Know the costs. Understand expenses associated with transpo ing a body to a different state. It sounds good that you may want t buried where you were raised, bu you know how much that will co your family?” – Tamika McRae

“If you know your loved on know you’re passing, take lots of • Servin


ons learned: Final arrangements sonal pictures.” – Nicole Bird Lester

ned oved to

“If you are in a Greek organization or other organization with certain rituals, pins, clothing, etc. that you do not want donated, make sure you have written down either a designated person to receive these items or the local chapter. Also, if you have a secret collection of some ‘thangs’ you don’t want anybody to stumble upon after you are gone, make sure you tell that one really good friend to look under the third rock on the side of the house to find that key to the box under the fourth tile in the guest bathroom. You don’t want that stuff to end up ‘out there in the world!’ Also, let people know what each key on a keyring is for.” – Cynthia F. Gibbs

nothof s not ce. ugh moilty s so a oarders

the ort-

to be ut do ost

ne is passing or if you f pictures. Record

video of your favorite things. Leave messages. Take pictures together. Maybe open an email account for the ones you leave behind with stories, messages or per-

ng the Houston area for over 88 years

“Don’t buy everything the funeral home offers in the emotional moment of planning the funeral (clocks and key chains with your loved one’s face on it, extra videos, frills for the coffin, etc.) It can eat up your money with trinkets you probably don’t need.” – Lewis Washington




A Defender and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic Alliance

Inflammatory bowel disease explained BY ANGELA MCGEE, M.D.


nflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affects more than 3 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive system but most ANGELA MCGEE, M.D. often affects the large and small intestine. Inflammation in Crohn’s disease often happens in patches in intestines. With Crohn’s, there is normal tissue next to an inflamed area, or patches of damage, while with ulcerative colitis the inflammation is more continuous in nature. If you have IBD, part of your digestive system is inflamed, which can be debilitating. The symptoms of IBD are often similar for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Symptoms may include: • Diarrhea • Severe or chronic cramping pain in the abdomen

• • • •

Loss of appetite, leading to weight loss Fever and fatigue Rectal bleeding Skin problems, such as rashes Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can sometimes go away for months or even years (called remission) before coming back (called a flare-up).

Common risk factors

The exact cause of IBD is unknown, but there are certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood of IBD. These include: • Family history: You’re at increased risk if you have a close relative with the disease. • Age: Most people with IBD are diagnosed before they’re 30 years old, although some don’t develop the disease until their 50s and 60s. • NSAIDs: Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. • Ethnicity: Though IBD is present in all populations, certain ethnic groups have a higher risk. • Gender: Generally, IBD affects both genders equally. However, ulcerative colitis is more common among men, while Crohn’s disease is more common among women.

It’s important to note that IBD isn’t the same as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although those with IBS may experience symptoms similar to those of IBD, the two conditions are different. For example, IBS isn’t caused by inflammation and treatment is different.

Diagnosis and treatment

IBD is diagnosed using a combination of endoscopy or colonoscopy and imaging studies, such as contrast radiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT). Once diagnosed, IBD is treated with several types of medications. Changes in diet and lifestyle may also help control symptoms and lengthen the time between flare-ups. In severe cases, surgery may be required to removed damaged portions of the gastrointestinal tract. See your doctor if you experience a recurring change in bowel habits or have any of the signs and symptoms of IBD. Although IBD usually isn’t fatal, it’s a serious disease. Dr. McGee is a board-certified physician specializing in Gastroenterology at Kelsey-Seybold’s Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center in Sugar Land. For appointments, call 713-442-0000.

Get KelseyConnected


Healthcare that Revolves Around You. KelseyConnected is a smarter approach to your healthcare – because it revolves around you. As a Kelsey-Seybold patient, you have an entire healthcare team that can share your medical history through one electronic medical record and collaborate on medical care that’s right for you. Being KelseyConnected makes your experience with us easy and convenient with: n


Locations close to home and work. Choose the location most convenient for you at 24-Hour Nurse Hotline. Speak with a Kelsey-Seybold nurse after 5 p.m. and on holidays and weekends.


MyKelseyOnline. Email your doctor’s office, make appointments, refill prescriptions, view test results, and more.


Appointments today! Book a Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, or Pediatrics appointment online at

24-Hour Appointment Scheduling: 713-442-0000 |




30 years after his death

Late Congressman Mickey Leland remembered By RODNEY ELLIS Harris County Commissioner

Thirty years ago. That’s how long it’s been since the world lost Mickey Leland. And it truly was a loss for the world. Mickey had a deep, radical love of humanity and an unwavering commitment to justice that resided deep within his soul. He saw injustice with great clarity and recognized the dehumanizing forces of oppression at work in Africa were the same ones at work down the street from where he grew up in Fifth Ward and in communities Commissioner Rodney Ellis began his public service across the country and globe. He saw career as Leland’s chief of staff. the world for what it was but also for what it could be. He saw possibilities thoughts...let us be guided by some of the inspirathat stretched the limitations of most tion of love, dignity and respect that characterized people’s imagination and shared that this man.” vision with all of us. Let us say the same for Mickey Leland. In During his all too brief time on the “potent urgency of our challenge” today, he this earth, he dedicated his life as a As a Houston congressman and humanitarian, Leland traveled to Africa to assess hunger conditions and relief requirements. is still an inspiration and a guide. In these dark, public servant – serving in both the troubling times, he is a beacon of hope that shines If you knew Mickey and the Texas House of Representatives a light on the path forward and illuminates a truly just and fair pure force of life that he was, no one and the United States Congress – to world that is still possible and within reach. Let us continue on his • Born Nov. 27, 1944 in Lubbock, Texas to Alice and could have imagined that the threads fighting to defend the rights, lives journey, together. of destiny were going to weave this George Thomas Leland II and dignity of the poor, oppressed fate for him. Thirty years later, it still and marginalized in our country and • Graduated from Houston’s Phillis Wheatley doesn’t seem possible. I miss him as across the world. He worked tireHigh School if he has just left us. One of the great lessly to end poverty, expand health • Graduated from Texas Southern University School privileges of my life was to call him care, transform our justice system, of Pharmacy in 1970 friend and mentor. defend our voting rights, and so much • Elected to Texas House of Representatives in 1972 He is on my mind often. We more. He was always of the people, • Elected to U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 live in troubling times, where we are for the people and with the people. • Chosen as freshman majority whip his first term seeing a raw resurgence of racism He was especially troubled by and served twice as at-large majority whip and violent, dehumanizing ideologies. hunger and starvation; he understood • Married the former Alison Clark Walton in 1983 Where racial injustice still thrives. how the gnawing ache of hunger Where refugees seeking asylum consumed a person’s mind, body and • Named chair of House Select Committee on Hunger in 1984 in our country are held in filthy, soul. He once shared that his drive to inhumane conditions and denied their • Served as Congressional Black Caucus chair end world hunger came after watchbasic needs and rights. Where famiing a young child draw her last breath 1985-1986 lies are torn apart by cruel policies before his eyes in Sudan in 1984. He • Died in plane crash at age 44 on Aug. 7, 1989 durenacted by our government. Where said he saw her face every day after ing relief mission to Ethiopia too many people struggle to make that. That a child, that anyone, can die ends meet amidst growing inequality. of starvation in a world of abundance And where people still go hungry. But in Mickey is where I still and plenty was and is a terrible injustice, an injustice that Mickey find hope. could not abide or ignore. I find purpose and a mission that he left to all of us to carry It was on a humanitarian mission to end hunger that his life out. In a speech he once gave before the Texas House of Repreended alongside 15 other people, including other dear friends of mine, from Ethiopia and the United States in a plane crash while en sentatives in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mickey said, “In the potent urgency of our challenge, in the stillness of our greatest route to a refugee camp in a remote region of Ethiopia.

About Leland

George Thomas “Mickey” Leland • Serving the Houston area for over 88 years




Simone Biles

Makes history, changes gymnastics forever Defender News Services

There is no denying it: Simone Biles is among the greatest gymnasts of all time. Not just because she made history – again – this time with the triple-double, but what many may not realize is that her greatness goes beyond her medal count and margins of victory. Biles’ only competition is herself, and so even though she had an off night on the opening night of the U.S. women’s gymnastics championships, she still ended in first place by almost two full points. Biles ended up winning the whole competition by 4.95, meaning that she could have counted four more falls and still claimed her sixth national title. “I still get really frustrated because I know how good I am and how well I can do,” she said. “So I just want to do the best routine for the audience and for myself out here.” For Biles, that means packing her sets with an unparalleled level of difficulty, a choice she makes not out of ego but respect for her immense talent. She didn’t have to add the tripledouble (a double back somersault with three twists spread out over the two flips) to the end of her first tumbling pass. She just wanted to see if she could do it. She didn’t have to throw in a double-twisting double-flip dismount on beam. But after toying with it in practice for the last five years just for kicks, she figured it was time to see if she could do it when it mattered. And not only did she do it, she destroyed it and set the gymnastics world ablaze. When she competes this skill at the 2019 World Championships in Germany this October, it will be named after her – the third such skill in the sport’s Code of Points. When she finally does hang up the grips for good, Biles will have changed the gymnastics alphabet, which ranks all skills in the Women’s Code of Points on a letter scale beginning with A (easy elements such as cartwheels), and going all the way up to I (which there are only a handful of). She will have also changed how other gymnasts approach the floor exercise, both in and out of the U.S. And finally, there’s the small matter of the fearless humanity Biles displays as not just a gymnast, but a celebrity. In short, she’s changed the standard for how gymnasts are “supposed” to act off the mat. Whether she’s displaying open disappointment on television (even, gasp, cursing!) or calling out USA Gymnastics to remind us, through defiant tears, that the organization “had one

Olympic gold medalist and Spring resident Simone Biles proved her dominance by winning the U.S. women’s gymnastics championships. In addition to making sports history, she has changed how other gymnasts approach the floor exercise.

job” and failed at it, she’s exposed the lie of the stereotype that pegs gymnasts as meek, obedient princesses. When she’s wearing the GOAT leotard, Instagramming herself at the beach or out on the town, or canoodling with her boyfriend of two years, she’s defying the thought that this elite level of the sport requires a punishing seriousness. She’s a far cry from the frightened, docile, near-silent ghost of gymnasts past, the girls who, no matter what happened or who did what to them, were expected to look blankly into the camera and chirp, “I just want to go out there and hit all my

routines.” Revolutionizing the Code of Points may have changed the way gymnasts train and compete, but in being her unapologetic self, Simone Biles has also blazed the trail for a new generation of gymnasts to speak up for themselves without fear. Even after Biles someday retires, the changed landscape of the sport will remain. Years from now, some little girl just learning a cartwheel somewhere will know, unequivocally, that a triple double is possible, and that so is being a world-class gymnast and a real, complex person at the same time. • Serving the Houston area for over 88 years



Americans protest injustice at Pan Am Games Defender News Services

Two Americans used their medal-winning moments at the Pan American Games to draw attention to social issues back home that they feel are spiraling out of control. During their medals ceremonies at the sports festival in Lima, fencer Race Imboden took a knee and hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised her fist. Both athletes could represent the U.S. less than a year from now at the Tokyo Olympics, where similar protests would be seen by a much wider audience. “Racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list” of America’s problems, Imboden said in a tweet sent after his team’s foil medals ceremony. “I chose to sacrifice my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. “I encourage others to please use your platforms for empow-

erment and change.” Berry raised her fist as America’s national anthem was played to honor her win in the hammer throw. She called out injustice in America “and a president who’s making it worse.” “It’s too important to not say something,” Berry told USA Today. “Something has to be said. If nothing is said, nothing will be done, and nothing will be fixed, and nothing will be changed.” The history of high-profile protests at the Olympics dates to the 1968 Games in Mexico City, when sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists during the medals ceremony for the 200-meter dash. The issues haven’t changed all that much in the ensuing 50 years. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been out of a job since shortly after he started kneeling during the national anthem before 49ers games in 2016 to protest police brutality and social injustice in America.

NCAA amends agent rules to no longer require college degree Associated Press

The NCAA has backtracked on new certification standards and will no longer require a bachelor’s degree for a sports agent to represent Division I men’s basketball players who declare for the NBA draft while maintaining college eligibility. The requirement drew criticism last week when the certification standards were revealed, including a social media blast by NBA star LeBron James. The requirement was quickly dubbed the “Rich Paul Rule” in reference to James’ agent, who does not have a college degree. The NCAA announced it would amend the standards so bachelor’s degrees would not be required for agents currently certified and in good standing with the NBA players union. The NCAA had said last week it modeled its rules after those of the National Basketball Players Association. “We have been made aware of several current agents who have appropriately represented former student-athletes in their professional quest and whom the (NBPA) has granted waivers of its bachelor’s degree requirement,” the NCAA said in a statement. “While specific individuals were not considered when developing our process, we respect the NBPA’s determination of qualification and have amended our certification criteria.” The NCAA rule permitting players to obtain an agent yet still return to school after withdrawing from the draft was part of recommenda-

tions from the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball, which was formed in response to a federal corruption investigation into the sport. The change took place last August, and the first players to take advantage of the rule did so in the spring. They were permitted to sign with an agent certified

by the NBPA — which was the stopgap standard until the NCAA put together its own certification requirements — though they had to terminate the deal if they decided to withdraw from the draft and return to school. The amended policy still requires the agent to be certified by the NBPA for at least three

consecutive years, as well as taking an in-person examination, going through a background check and paying required fees. In its release last week, the NCAA said agents would pay a $250 application fee and an annual $1,250 certification fee separate from NBPA certification requirements.

Since then, athletes representing the U.S. have faced scrutiny about what, if any, signs of protest they might show if they land on the podium at an Olympics or other major event. Among the issues that have been fodder for possible protest have been race relations and disagreements with President Donald Trump. The actions by Berry and Imboden will test the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s resolve to enforce rules that restrict political protests. The USOPC said in a statement that its leadership is reviewing possible consequences. Berry is on the U.S. team that will head to the track and field world championships next month. “Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature,” the statement said. “In these cases, the athletes didn’t adhere to the commitment they made to the organizing committee and the USOPC.”

classifieds Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and Pre-Qualification Submittals to provide Home Repairs NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS August 9, 2019 The Harris County Community Services Department (HCCSD) seeks to pre-qualify responsible contractors for participation in the Harris County Home Repair Program for the following categories: 1) Neighborhood Stabilization Repair; 2) Minor Repair; 3) Major Rehabilitation/ Reconstruction; and 4) Health & Safety Improvements. The mission of the Harris County Home Repair program is to provide assistance to low-to-moderate income homeowners for the purpose of providing decent, safe and sanitary housing conditions as well as improving their quality of life. The Harris County Home Repair Program will provide assistance under the following home repair categories: Neighborhood Stabilization Repair: Provide up to $20,000 to make County acquired vacant foreclosed homes decent, safe and habitable and to prepare the home for sale or occupancy. Goal: 10 units/year Minor Repair: Provide up to $20,000* assistance in the form of a grant for repairs to owner occupied homes, including but not limited to roof repair/replacement, handicap accessibility improvements; mechanical, electrical and plumbing improvements. Goal: 35 units/year. *ProCured in - house and subject to PO approval by the Purchasing Department.

Together, we’re doing Big Things. ¡ ¡ ¡ ¡

Repairing potholes in a day instead of a month Closing massive budget deficits without layoffs Fixing the pension crisis that was bankrupting our city Coming through Hurricane Harvey stronger than ever

Today, more Houstonians are working and we’re transforming neglected neighborhoods into vibrant communities. I would be deeply honored by your vote. Let’s keep doing the big things, together. M AYO R SY LV E ST E R T U R N E R Pol. adv. Sylvester Turner Campaign

Major Rehabilitation/Reconstruction (target area projects only): Provide up to $80,000* assistance for Major Rehabilitation and provide up to $180,000* assistance in the form of a grant or deferred loan for major home rehabilitation/reconstruction for housing structures deemed unsafe or severely defective. Goal: 10 units/year in targeted geographic areas. *Procured through the Harris County Purchasing Department and subject to Commissioners Court approval. Health & Safety Improvements: Provide up to $40,000* assistance in the form of a grant for the purpose of repairing /replacing water wells and septic systems that are not functioning and/or have received a citation for health and safety violations. Goal: 8 units/year. *Procured in—house (CSD) or through the Harris County Purchasing Department and subject to Commissioners Court approval. The program will operate on a continuous annual basis using multiple contractors. These projects will be federally funded by the US. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through HCCSD. Applicable requirements include, but are not limited to, Section 3 of the HUD Act of 1968, and contracting with small, minority, and disadvantaged firms. All Contractors who are interested in participating in the Program must complete a pre-qualification submittal, provide all documentation requested, and be approved by the Harris County Community Services Department to be placed on the Qualified Contractors List for the Home Repair Program. A meeting to review program rules, requirements and qualifications will be held on Thursday, August 29, 2019 10:00 AM at the Harris County Community Services Department 8410 Lantern Point, Houston, TX, 77054 Filing of Submittals All applications must be filed with the Harris County Community Services Department, Attention: Housing Construction and Inspection Services, 8410 Lantern Point, Houston, Texas, 77054, on or before 4:30 p.m., September 6, 2019. Pre-qualification packages may be obtained by contacting Adriana Villuendas at (832) 927-4815, Via Email at, or may be downloaded from the Harris County Community Services Department’s Website at



Happening in Houston


COMCAST SUPPORTS EIGHT MILLION STORIES……..Comcast hosted Echols-Sampson, Victor Simms, Chanelle Clark and Lawson Howard answered a series of events across Houston designed to shine a spotlight on the urgent need an array of questions before attendees visited with the vendors present. Attendees at to bring more Internet access and training to local families, students, veterans and the lively affair included Doris Thornton, Ricky Brown, Jeeva Brown, London people with disabilities. One of the beneficiaries of the effort was Eight Million Wilson, Carstell Walker Jr., Tara Hurrington, Deandria Arnic, Fatima Lewis, Stories (8MS), a local non-profit seeking to upend the school-to-prison pipeline by Sullivan Thornton, John and Nina Foster, Roselyn Ruth and a host of others…….. supporting previously incarcerated youth as they re-enter their community and curbing PRH SUMMER STUDIOS 2019 OPENING RECEPTION……..Project Row unnecessary referrals from schools to the justice system. Houses (PRH) hosted the opening reception of Summer Studios David L. Cohen, Comcast’s senior executive VP, was on 2019 where attendees took advantage of the opportunity to explore Defender TOP EVENTS hand as his company surprised 90 8MS program participants the highly anticipated round of new art installations. In conjunction More photos on with free laptops. Also present was Mayor Sylvester Turner, with the unveiling, PRH collaborated with the Melanin Yoga Project to facilitate a back-to school drive during the reception, collecting who announced a grant for the City of Houston’s Complete school supplies for Third Ward students of Row House CDC Communities initiative at Eight Million Stories. Attendees and PRH Preservation families. Attendees included Chandra Livingston, Marc included Marvin Pierre (8MS executive director), Skyra Thomas, Misha McClure, Newsome, Eloise Wilson, Davina Davidson, DJ Elevated, Ryan Dennis, Michelle Ray Purser, Ralph Martinez and many more……..BLUEPRINT FOR BETTER Barnes, Cavanaugh Nweze, DJ C. Watts, Chanise Epps, Treasure Haskins, HEALTH FAIR……..Blueridge United Methodist Church hosted the Blueprint William North, Chasity Smith, Jamiah Smith, Nick Simien, Habibah Haugstad for Better Health Fair featuring a panel of medical experts and vendors stretching the gamut of health-related businesses and service providers. Panelists Drs. Sabrina and many more.

David L. Cohen, Marvin Pierre

Eight Million Stories participants

Ben Brown, Roselynn Ruth, Jeeva Brown, Albert Richardson

Dr. Chanelle Clark, Tara Hurrington

Jamiah Smith, Nick Simien, Ashley Tolliver, Tammie Bogany

Marc Newsome, DJ Elevated

Mayor Sylvester Turner, Eight Million Stories member

Ricky Brown, Sullivan Thornton, Jesse Hicks, Carstell Walker Jr.

Sabrina Juarez (center), attendees • Serving the Houston area for over 88 years

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Houston Defender: August 15, 2019  

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

Houston Defender: August 15, 2019  

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