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Volume 81 | Number 46 WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 | FREE

LOCAL TERRY GRIER asks students to return

P3 ENTERTAINMENT OPINION

TERRY CREWS stays busy in TV, film

A fresh start for ex-offenders

P8 BUSINESS

CARLECIA WRIGHT pleased with city contracts

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Al Green

reflects on music Soul singer Al Green has been in the music business more than 40 years. He has produced numerous hits and won 11 Grammy Awards. Find out what Green, who is also a bishop, has to say about music and his ministry. Learn what he really thinks about President Barack Obama’s rendition of “Let’s Stay Together.” H Page 7

Michael Strahan co-hosts show Native Houstonian and TSU graduate Michael Strahan found great success as a defensive standout with the New York Giants. After leaving the NFL he branched out into TV, and recently landed a new daytime gig. How did Strahan end up replacing another legend? And what does he have to say about his new role? H Page 18

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Charles Washington and Wanda Milian at Smithsonian reception

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Are Blacks better off? Are Black people better off than they were four years ago before President Obama was elected? See the figures at defendernetwork.com

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The first family enjoyed victory on election night.

Behind the scenes It’s a movie that changed the film game. But there are some interesting things you might not know about the making of the movie “Do the Right Thing.” Read more at defendernetwork.com.

Book TALK Princes Shall Come Out of Egypt by Aswad Walker celebrates the incredible contributions to Black people in America and the world over by two leaders who have yet to receive their full due. Find out more at www.defendernetwork.com.

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HISD encourages

newstalk

teens to return to school Defender News Services

Hundreds of volunteers spent a recent Saturday morning knocking on more than 1,300 doors across the city, encouraging students who have not returned to school this academic year to re-enroll. The outreach effort was part of the ninth annual Grads Within Reach Walk which led to 45 HISD students deciding to return to school immediately and many more promising to give school another try. HISD Superintendent Terry Grier kicked off the walk at Austin High School by motivating dozens of volunteers and administrators. “We know the factors that drive these students to make the difficult decision of dropping out of school vary,” Grier said. “That’s why we’re here today – to let them know about the programs HISD offers to help them graduate. But more importantly we want them to know HISD cares about them and wants to help them get back in school.” Grier later led the volunteers as they knocked on the homes of various students at Austin High School. HISD Board of Education Trustee Juliet Stipeche and Austin High School Principal Jorge Arredondo were among those volunteers encouraging students to re-enroll. “I’m excited we have the opportunity to reach out to these students to help them get their diploma,” Stipeche said. “We want them to know HISD is going to do whatever it can to help them succeed.” Arredondo said he is invested in this effort, and it’s his privilege to be involved with the Grads Within Reach Walk.

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Houston named one of most diverse cities Defender News Services

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier (left) Austin High School Principal Jorge Arredondo (second from right) and Chief High Schools Officer Orlando Riddick (right) visit a former student.

“We know this community. We are from this community, and we deeply understand its challenges,” he said. “We also realize as adults who work with the youth of Houston, we are very often these students’ last best chance.” Among their successful visits was Imelda, 18, who only needs credit for one course to graduate and says she is now going to re-enroll. “My dad has been encouraging me to finish high school,” said Imelda. “I do want to complete my course work so I can get my diploma, especially since I’m only one credit shy of graduation.” Moises, 19, has also taken and passed all sections of the state-required TAKS test and only needs a few credits to graduate. His mother says for a while he hung

out with the wrong crowd, but Moises said he would re-enroll in Austin High. “Last year I wasn’t motivated, and I didn’t want to go class, but my mom has encouraged me to come back to school,” said Moises. “So I’m going to put a little extra work into my studies and try to get my diploma.” HISD board members Harvin C. Moore and Greg Meyers participated in similar walks with Lee and Sharpstown high school students. HISD currently boasts its lowest dropout rate ever of 11.8 percent for the 2011-2012 academic year. Additionally, the number of graduates has risen from 7,645 in 2007 to more than 9,000 graduates in the class of 2012.

A new study released by the US2012 Project at Brown University shows that the United States has become much more diverse at the metropolitan level. The study lists the 10 most diverse areas and those that are the least diverse. Houston-SugarlandBaytown is No. 8 on the list of the most diverse metropolitan areas. The results are based on how evenly an area’s population is spread across five racial groups: Whites, Hispanics, AfricanAmericans, Asians and “other,” a category largely comprised of Native Americans, Alaska natives and Americans of two or more races. In the Houston area, the breakdown is whites, 39.7 percent; Hispanics, 35.3 percent; African-Americans, 16.8 percent; Asians, 6.5 percent, and other, 1.7 percent. Laredo, Texas, on the other hand, is the nation’s least diverse area, with a population that is 95.7 percent Hispanic. The Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., area north of San Francisco is the most diverse part of the country.

localbriefs THE ANNUAL PROSTATE HEALTH CONFERENCE sponsored by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is Saturday, Sept. 22 at the South Campus Research Building, 7435 Fannin Street. The public is invited to attend the free event. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. Attendees will receive insight on PSA screening and learn how to minimize harm from prostate cancer treatment, comanage lower urinary tract symptoms and learn about prostate cancer drugs. A continental breakfast will be served. Free parking is available. Advance registration is required. Register by Sept. 20 by contacting 713792-8924 or programcenter-gu@mdanderson.org........

THE 150th ANNIVERSARY of the Emancipation Proclamation will be marked by a two-day event at Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren. It opens with a reception and keynote address by Rev. William A. Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, on Friday, Sept. 21, from 6 to 9 p.m.  Events on Saturday, Sept. 22, are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For cost and other information visit www.hbu.edu/EmancipationProclamation........ CRIMINAL TRESPASSING CHARGES were dismissed against three activists arrested while protesting the acquittal of former HPD officer Andrew Blomberg in the videotaped beating of Chad Holley.

The three are Kofi Taharka of the National Black United Front, Krystal Muhammad of the New Black Panther Party and attorney Maria Elena Castellanos. They were arrested after refusing to leave the office of Harris County District Attorney Pay Lykos ……... TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY has seen a gradual increase in the quality of freshman students as a result of new admission standards and other efforts. As part of its strategic plan to attract students who are better prepared for college-level work, TSU initially set a 2.0 grade point average for fiscal year 2009, and a 2.5 GPA for fiscal year 2010. The 2012 freshman class of 1,364 students has an average GPA of 2.9.

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DEFENDER | WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012

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national

U.S.briefs

Black schools

underfunded, segregated By FREDDIE ALLEN NNPA Washington Correspondent

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early 60 years after the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision declared “separate but equal” schools unconstitutional, researchers from the Center for American Progress have found that the nation’s classrooms are still “very segregated.” The study, titled “Unequal Education: Federal Loophole Enables Lower Spending on Students of Color,” analyzed district school spending disparities. Ary Spatig-Amerikaner authored the paper and found that school districts spend $733 more on white students at 90 percent white schools than on students of color that attend schools where the student body is 90 percent non-white. “The United States has the most inequitable system for funding its schools of any advanced country, and as this report shows, students of color bear the brunt of that inequity,” said Cynthia Brown, vice president for education policy at the Center for American Progress. “Our top priority must be ensuring students of color, and all students, receive their fair share of resources.” Brown said that across the country, 40 percent of public school funding is generated at the local level, mostly by property taxes. Wealthier districts use this revenue to fuel school spending, a revenue stream that’s cut off to poorer districts. “This leads to unequal spending between districts,” said Brown.

However, little was known about within-district disparities because of a reporting loophole created by the No Child Left Behind Act. Under Title I of NCLB, school officials were required to use districtwide average teacher salaries when reporting school-level expenditures. “This federal policy has allowed districts to cover up or at has least failed to expose these within-district differences in school spending,” Brown said. Currently, districts send re-

sources to schools according to the number of teachers at each school, assuming an average cost per teacher. “But in reality, not all teachers cost the same,” she added. Veteran teachers often command higher salaries than new teachers. Teachers with 11-20 years of experience make $47,380 compared to novice teachers who make $36,780. “This means that two schools can have the same number of teacher positions, but a school with mostly veteran teachers would receive much more money per pupil than one with predominantly novice teachers,” Brown said. President Barack Obama

changed that NCLB policy and closed the reporting loophole with an add-on to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 that required districts to report the actual school-by-school budget numbers, not just the district-wide averages. Using new data made available through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, Spatig-Amerikaner uncovered alarming disparities in what schools within the same district were spending on students. The CAP report found that in 24 states, when the number of minority students increased by 10 percent, the perpupil the money spent per student decreased. Sixty-three percent of all minority students attend schools in those states. Another study, the Schott Foundation’s “Lost Opportunity” report, revealed that only 19 percent of Black students attend “well-resourced, high performing schools” while 42 percent languish in “poorly-resourced, low-performing” schools. White students are twice as likely to attend well-resourced, high-performing schools than they are to attend poorly-resourced, lowperforming schools. It’s no surprise that poorlyresourced, low-performing schools produce adults that are ill-equipped to contribute to society and the growth of the American economy. According to the Schott Foundation, this inequity cost tax payers a staggering $59.2 billion annually due to crime, healthcare costs, and the economic drag from a low-earning labor force.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA spent Sept. 11 observing the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. He and First Lady Michelle Obama joined staff on the White House lawn to observe a moment of silence. He also spoke at the Pentagon Memorial Service. “Eleven times we have marked another September 11th come and gone,” he said. “Eleven times we have paused in remembrance, in reflection, in unity and in purpose. This is never an easy day.  But it is especially difficult for all of you – the families of nearly 3,000 innocents who lost their lives – your mothers and fathers, your husbands and wives, your sons and your daughters. They were taken from us suddenly and far too soon,” Obama said……..U.S. REP. JESSE JACKSON JR. has been released from the Mayo Clinic but it’s unknown when he will return to work. His father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, told reporters that he didn’t expect his son to rush back. “I hope he does not move quickly, because he’s so anxious to function; so anxious to work. He’s programmed in that direction. He wants to serve. I think his people have been quite generous to him in terms of giving him time,” Jackson said. “But my concern is that of a father. I have no interest in the political timetable.” The Chicago congressman was treated for bipolar II……..ANOTHER CONGRESSMAN, Republican Allen West of Florida, is critical of President Obama’s “Forward” campaign slogan. Speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition, West said: “We are now $16 trillion in debt. We have 47 million Americans on food stamps. We have close to 9.5 million more Americans in threeand-a-half years on the poverty rolls. “But yet, they want to bring out an old Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist theme for their campaign called ‘Forward.’ ”

VOLUME 81 • NUMBER 46 WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13, 2012

Publisher Sonceria Messiah-Jiles Advertising/Client Relations Selma Dodson Tyler Print Editor Marilyn Marshall Online Editor ReShonda Billingsley

Art Director Tony Fernandez-Davila People Editor Yvette Chargois Sports Editors Max Edison Darrell K. Ardison Contributing Writer Aswad Walker

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

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DEFENDER | WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012

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More New Orleans residents ‘asset’ poor By MASON HARRISON Special to NNPA from Louisiana Weekly

Most Americans are familiar with measuring poverty in terms of dollars and cents, believing that the dividing line between rich and poor is one that separates high incomes from medium – and low-range earnings. But a new study on poverty in New Orleans by local researchers released this month digs deeper and examines – not only incomes – but the relationship between asset wealth and being able to live above the poverty line. Commissioned by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the study, titled “Assets & Opportunity Profile: New Orleans,” is aimed at fueling “a local conversation about wealth, poverty and opportunity,” and presents “a snapshot of the financial security and opportunities for New Orleans residents.” Key findings in the document include research indicating that 37 percent of New Orleanians live in what is known as asset poverty, a category met when the liquidation of a person’s assets is not enough to provide a higher-than-impoverished standard of living for a three-month period in the absence of a regular income. Dr. Albert Ruesga, who heads the New Orleans foundation, calls that figure “staggering” and points out that New Orleans outpaces Louisiana and the rest of the country in the number of people who lack sufficient assets. But while Black households in New Orleans are hardest hit by the figures – half of all Black residents live in asset poverty – the impact of having limited hard assets is felt across racial, educational and even economic lines.

Poverty is a major problem in New Orleans, which outpaces the rest of the country in the number of people who lack sufficient assets.

“Twenty-two percent of people who have a bachelor’s degree in New Orleans live in asset poverty,” Ruesga says. “Thirteen percent of residents who have advanced degrees live in asset poverty. That means there are people with master’s degrees and doctorates who are living without adequate resources.” Forty percent of area Latinos live in asset poverty and more than 20 percent of whites and Asians join them. Ruesga

points out that nearly 30 percent of New Orleanians with annual incomes between $45,000 and $70,000 also face challenges with surviving on their existing assets in lieu of a regular paycheck. “This underscores just how many people are only one or two paychecks away from being homeless,” Ruesga says. “This type of research is important because simply looking at poverty from an income standpoint is not enough; this helps to present a Continued on Page 16


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WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012 | DEFENDER

entertainment

Green still spreads love, happiness O Special to NNPA from the Tennessee Tribune

ver four decades as a performer, multi-millions in record sales, 11 Grammy Awards and he’s 66 years old. Added all together those numbers, and then some, equal the sum total of R &B/soul singing legend Al Green. Now also known as Bishop Al Green, for over three decades he has been the pastor of Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis. Being a pastor has only enhanced his popularity more than ever. Just two weeks ago he performed before a sold-out crowd in the Washington, D.C. area. Whenever he performs in Las Vegas tickets are priced in the triple digits and are usually sold out in matter of minutes. Green comes to Music City on Sept. 17 as he performs with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra at the Schermerhorn Center. Green will, of course, delight the crowd with some of his classic hits: “Love and Happiness,” “Tired of Being Alone,” “For the Good Times” and so many more. He will also introduce fans to music from his current CD “Lay it down.” The music is a collaboration between the soul legend and several of today’s top young performers from the worlds of contemporary music. Performers such as John Legend, Anthony Hamilton and Corinne Bailey Rae and others are featured. Here, Al Green chats about charisma, music, movies, presidents and the church. Tribune: You’ve been a pastor for over three decades. How do you balance Rev. Al Green the pastor with Al Green the stage performer? Green: I’m just one person. I can’t be two or three different people. That’s why I had so many people trying to divide me up, so I had to go talk to the Master about it. He said, “Al I gave you the songs ‘cause they’re beautiful songs.” I said, “Well yeah, that’s true.” So He then said, “If people got a problem with what you sing, such as songs like ‘Love and Happiness’ and ‘For the Good Times,’ then how did they get

here?” Tribune: Earlier this year President Obama sang a few lines of your classic hit song “Let’s Stay Together.” On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate the President’s singing? Green: Well hell, he sounded a whole lot better than me. (He laughs) My voice is a little raspy today. When it first happened with President Obama singing a piece of my song, I said, “Wow, I didn’t even know he knew our little song was in the world, and the next thing is I didn’t know the President could even sing!” Tribune: The YouTube video of President Obama singing a portion of your song has now received over 1.2 million views and digital sales for your version of the song jumped 490%. Al Green remains a popular soul singer. Green: Yes, that’s what some of my staff members told me. I don’t That’s not my expertise. I wish I could know too much about all of that make the money off of some of these Internet stuff but they know how to blockbuster films but no, I don’t have any count it. When it first happened back interest in making movies. in January, they just told me the PresiTribune: If a movie is made about dent sung one line of your song and it your life story, which actor would you got all of these thousands of downGreen recorded “Let’s Stay Together” in 1972. like to see star as Al Green? loads. So I told somebody that was Green: Anybody that would be playgreat news and I wished next time he ing the role of me would definitely be doing just that – playing would sing the whole song. a role. I’m an eccentric guy. You never know what I might say Tribune: It’s election season. Maybe he should consider or do in the next five seconds. So the actor would definitely doing an entire album of yours if it means getting re-elected. have to be “playing.” Any actor who tries to play as Al Green Green: That’s right. If that’s what it takes to get the votes. would be a fool and a fake. He would for sure have all of the women voters (he laughs). Tribune: Denzel Washington would probably be a good Yeah, he’s a handsome devil. candidate for the role. Tribune: There seems to be a lot of ministers who are Green: Yeah, he would be good in the role after the year becoming filmmakers. Do you have any plans on going into 1971…I think Jamie Foxx did a great job in the Ray Charles the film business? role. He played Ray better than the real Ray Charles. But JaGreen: No, not me. I’m a minister and because I’m a mie doesn’t have the facial structure and facial feel to play me. minister I don’t want to be trying to direct films or make them.

What’sup RANDY JACKSON is returning to “American Idol” as a judge for the show’s 12th season. After weeks of reports that Jackson was being relegated to a mentor role, former judge Simon Cowell tweeted that the rumors were premature. “Just heard Randy is back on Idol. Right decision,” he wrote. Jackson remained quiet about his role. During an interview on the “Today Show,” Jackson was asked if would be returning to the singing competition as a judge. “Listen, ‘Idol’ is an amazing show. My friend Mariah Carey is there, I think she’s going to bring a lot of excitement to it, and you know, let’s see what happens,” he said……..CEE LO GREEN is already getting ready for the holidays. He’s working on a Christmas album titled, “Cee Lo’s

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Magic Moment,” and said it’s a “soulful” take on holiday classics. The album will be released on Oct. 30. In the meantime, Green is busy serving as a coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” which has started its new season…….. SEAN “DIDDY” COMBS was spotted at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena attending his son Justin’s first home football game. Justin, however, is a redshirted freshman, and will only play if an emergency requires him to suit up. Controversy arose when it was announced that Justin was attending UCLA on a scholarship. Some critics said the scholarship should have gone to an athlete from a family with less wealth. The Combs family maintained that Justin won the scholarship fair and square……… RIHANNA and JAY-Z helped wrap up the Paralympic

Games in London. Some 80,000 fans packed the Olympic Stadium to celebrate 11 days of competition that have helped shatter stereotypes about the disabled. Rihanna entered the arena on a swing to sing “We Found Love” as volunteers and disabled dancers performed. “Being at the Paralympics is the biggest honor. These athletes are gladiators and are a true inspiration to me,” she said……..THE ENSEMBLE THEATRE will debut its 36th season with “The Nacirema Society” by award-winning playwright and author Pearl Cleage. The play is described as a romantic comedy revolving around African-American debutantes in Montgomery, Ala. It is directed by Eileen Morris and runs Sept. 27 through Oct. 21.

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DEFENDER | WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012 | defendernetwork.com

Crews stays busy in TV, movies

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By KAM WILLIAMS Special to the Defender

ormer NFL football player Terry Crews traded in his helmet and cleats in 1997 to pursue an acting career while simultaneously becoming the ultimate family man. He is now known for his natural wit, comedic timing and versatility.

LOOKING

FOR

Crews is currently the spokesman for an Old Spice campaign. And he’s a contestant on the new NBC reality series “Stars Earn Stripes.” He already stars in the TBS series “Are We There Yet?” produced by Ice Cube, which will continue to air this fall. He previously appeared on the TV series “Everybody Hates Chris,” where he played the father of a young Chris Rock.

POSITIVE VOICES

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 The primary responsibility of the Council is to determine what HIV/AIDS services are most needed, design these services and allocate the funds. Contact Georgette Monaghan at 713 572-3724 or visit us on the web at www.rwpchouston.org

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We keep Houston working. enroll today at hccs.edu

He has been seen in such films as “Deliver Us from Eva,” “White Chicks,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Soul Plane,” “Street Kings,” “The Longest Yard,” “The Expendables” and “Bridesmaids.” Crews was born in Flint, Mich., where he attended Flint Southwestern Academy. He earned an arts scholarship to the Interlochen Center for the Arts and then Western Michigan University. While completing his studies as an art major, Crews was a key member of the WMU football team, where he earned all-conference honors as a defensive end. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1991 NFL Draft. He proceeded to carve out a pro career that lasted six seasons, including stints with the San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. He put his artistic talents to use by painting a line of NFL licensed lithographs. Crews lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Rebecca, and their five children. Here, he talks about reprising the role of Hale Caesar in “The Expendables 2.” KW: What interested you in a second round of The Expendables? TC: Well, it’s so much fun just to be a part of something like this. We all know that when a movie gets made it’s a miracle. Here, you have one with some of the biggest stars in the world. We were able to get the first one out. On top of the miracle of getting it done, it was a hit. Then, you get another miracle in a chance to do a sequel, but this time much bigger and better, adding Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth and a female Expendable, Nan Yu, to the mix. I think this is the movie Sly [Stallone] originally wanted to make if he had his wish list. KW: How hard is it to get elbow room in a film when you’re sharing the screen with so many other matinee idols? TC: I liken the whole experience to my time in the NFL. When you’re a rookie, you see all these great names that you’ve admired. But once you put on your uniform, and go from the locker room to the field, you’ve got to be ready to hit your

greatest heroes in the mouth when they blow that whistle. In fact, you have to do more than that. You have to slam ‘em to the turf. And acting is sort of similar. It’s a jousting match where they want you to bring you’re A-game. Timidity has no place in a major action movie…A lot of my colleagues are content to be character actors who are always in the background. I’m not that guy. I’m the guy who wants the limelight. Gimme the ball and I’ll run it through a brick wall for you. I’ll be your biggest soldier. KW: What message do you think people will take away from “The Expendables 2?” TC: It’s just a fun, fun throwback movie with cartoonish violence. It’s almost like Cowboys and Indians in a lot of ways. KW: Which is your favorite genre to work in, reality shows, TV shows or film? TC: Movies. “Expendables 2” is the dream experience of my life. Here I am, a poor kid from Flint, Michigan, and I’m acting next to the biggest stars in the world. Only in America could something like this happen. This is not about luck. This is about hard, hard work. I’m not guaranteeing that if you work hard you’ll be able to duplicate my success. But in America, if you work hard, you just might. I’m a perfect example of that. KW: What was the best business decision you ever made, and what was the worst? TC: I was broke when I first moved to L.A. My best business decision was to humble myself and to take a job mopping floors at a factory. I had left the NFL and we didn’t have any money. That experience let me know that I would hold onto my principles and be willing to do anything that was legal to support my family. I’ll never forget my worst business decision. I bought a Nissan Pathfinder with my first signing bonus. I didn’t even have a place to live, but I bought a car…Not a smart move but, believe me, I learned from that mistake. KW: What excites you? TC: Going to see a great movie. I just watched “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith again, and it still gave me goose bumps.

Terry Crews

The reasons people choose HCC are as diverse as the Houstonians we serve. And no institution does more to get students where they’re going faster than HCC. We keep Houston working with affordable tuition, innovative courses, and convenient locations.

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Fresh start for ex-offenders

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n a bold attempt to break the cycle of exoffenders becoming re-offenders – ending up incarcerated again – programs are being offered to this growing population aimed at making their re-entry into society a successful transition. The Barrier Eliminator Re-Entry Program (B.E.) is one such offering. Created by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, B.E., as it is known by participants, focuses on eliminating the barriers that stop male and female ex-offenders from successfully re-entering society. The program serves 48 women and 48 men. “Education, vocation, job skills and employment, family support system, stable housing, and substance abuse; these are the seven barriers we focus on,” said Karlton Harris, B.E.’s chaplain and director of re-entry services. Assistant Director of Re-Entry Services, Vanessa Gardner, serves as the chaplain for the women in B.E. Hailing from Chicago, Harris ran a successful reentry program in the Illinois prison system, but was attracted to Houston for a chance to run a similar program at the local jail level. “The vision of the Harris County Sheriff [Adrian Garcia] and Mike Barber [former NFL player with the Houston Oilers] of doing re-entry in a jail setting is what brought me down,” said Harris, a minister and exoffender who personally made the transition to society successfully. Most re-entry programs focus on the prison level and not the jail system level because of the short time and in and out, added Harris. An inmate’s average length of stay in Harris County is 30 days. “The goal of our program is to reduce jail time and reduce recidivism by connecting ex-offenders with a community mentor rather than allowing them to go back to the same neighborhoods and associations that often produce the same results – more crime,” said Harris, who credits his program’s success to its community approach. “We reach out to community organizations that focus on re-entry and bring them in. Volunteers of America is [conducting] a job readiness workshop for our female inmates, teaching resume writing and interviewing skills,” he said. The Sheriff’s Office also collaborates with Goodwill Houston, recent recipients of a Federal Ex-Offenders (FEXSO) Grant, making it one of the only Goodwills in the country to receive such funding to work with ex-

By ASWAD WALKER Defender

City offers new lease on life The City of Houston has developed the Community Re-Entry Network (CRN) in an effort to assist exoffenders. Led by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS), the CRN was created to help meet the needs of ex-offenders released into the Houston community from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice each year seeking to transition into lives as productive citizens. Twenty-six percent of inmates released from the Texas justice system return to Houston and Harris County. The goal of the city program is to increase successful community re-entry after incarceration. CRN focuses on areas of the city most impacted by re-entry and recidivism, by providing a network of resources for these transitioning individuals offered in close proximity. The program’s goals include reduced recidivism and re-arrests, improved employment and retention rates, stabilized housing for a minimum of one year, and increased familial involvement in service delivery. Mentors and caseworkers are available for clients who take part in the program For additional information, call 832-393-5464 or email hdhhs.reentry@cityofhouston.net.

offenders. Goodwill has multiple programs aimed at working with male and female ex-offenders, one of which focuses on former military personnel. Khafilat Rasaq serves as the program coordinator for Goodwill’s Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program. “We help those recently released through incarceration, working with them by providing life skills and job skills developments,” Rasaq said. The program accepts referrals and conducts outreach at different veteran programs to inform them of their services. According to Rasaq, the veterans’ biggest challenges are homelessness and having no plan for re-entering society after they are released from transitional facilities.

“Another challenge is working with individuals incarcerated for a long time who have no recent employment experience. The hardest part is convincing them that they do have skills and building up their confidence,” she added. Operating their program in the Midtown Terrace transitional facility, Goodwill Houston also partners with the VA Hospital. “We help them with basic skills first,” Rasaq said. “If they have no home, we help them with that. If they have issues with alcoholism, we partner with other agencies to help them with that. We take the holistic approach.” Rasaq’s program has an impressive track record, placing veteran ex-offenders in jobs in the construction, manufacturing and healthcare industries. B.E. has had similar success operating on the philosophy that re-entry begins day-one of incarceration, and taking the holistic service approach. B.E.’s partnership with the non-profit Operation ID allows participants who need a birth certificate and ID to obtain such items, which are critical for securing employment. B.E. also offers marriage and parenting classes, stressing to participants that their choices that landed them in jail affected their significant relationships. Additionally, B.E. provides vocational skills training

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Ex-offenders: Facts & figures In Harris County

Participants in Harris County’s ex-offenders’ program receive preparation for successful re-entry into society as productive citizens. Male participants (above) are joined by chaplains Karlton Harris and Vanessa Gardner (front and center). In bottom photos, female participants receive re-entry instruction as well.

• For the period of Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2011, the total number of ex-offenders released on bond was 37,012. • The average length of stay in jail for those released on bond was five days. • The daily average of inmates released by county jails on bond was 101 inmates. • All other releases of exoffenders to the street was 65,518 (included inmates who completed sentences, probationers, parolees and those dismissed). • These individuals had an average length of stay in Harris County jail of 24 days. • The daily average of inmates released by Harris County jails to the street was 180 inmates.

In the United States…

• More than 10,000 ex-prisoners are released from America’s state and federal prisons each week. • More than 650,000 exoffenders are released from prison each year, and studies show that approximately two-

thirds will likely be re-arrested within three years of release. • African-American ex-prisoners have a recidivism rate about 9% higher than the national average. (African-Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population). • Applicants with criminal records experienced a 50% reduction in job offers for entry level jobs, compared to those without records. AfricanAmerican former inmates experienced a 64% reduction in offers. • In 2007, a total of 1,180,469 persons on parole were at risk of reincarceration. Of these parolees, about 16% were returned to incarceration in 2007. • Released prisoners with the highest arrest rates are robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%). Sources: Harris County, NAACP, Department of Justice

Keeping ex-offenders out of jail For many ex-offenders, life after incarceration is difficult. They are often unable to find employment or housing. In addition, many communities where prisoners go upon release already struggle with poverty, unemployment and other socioeconomic issues. There are, however, steps that can be taken to help reduce ex-offenders’ chances of being locked up again.

at their Crite Street location through a partnership with HCC where participants can learn welding, auto body, upholstery, life skills, and culinary arts. “Participants sign a contract with us to abide by the rules to respect authority, respect one another, and do a daily ‘I am’ affirmation – ‘I am a barrier eliminator, I am employed, I am a great father and husband,’ creating change with their words, speaking it into existence,” Harris said. For information on the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s Barrier Eliminator Re-Entry Program contact 713-755-2410 or karlton.harris@sheriff.hctx.net. For more information on Goodwill Houston’s ex-offender re-entry programs call 713-6996339.

e Houston area for over 80 years

1. Encourage inmates to participate in educational and job training programs. Participation in some type of education and training during incarceration is a critical step for people preparing for release and reintegration into the community, though some inmates don’t take advantage of such programs. Establishing basic skills programs that prepare inmates for more advanced educational and vocational programming can help to engage those individuals who might otherwise not participate. 2. Analyze the area job market. To ensure that the education and training provided to incarcerated individuals corresponds with the current job market, corrections officials should work closely with community-based employment services providers. These partnerships will ensure that program participants are receiving skills and training geared toward available jobs within the communities to which they will return upon release.

3. Engage community-based agencies. Volunteer and faith-based organizations, as well as other nonprofit service providers, can provide some of the most critical support systems available to individuals upon release. Early contact between these organizations and inmates provides a firm foundation for such relationships, which can encourage participation in programming and ensure that that engagement continues postrelease. 4. Provide inmates with basic life skills. For most people who have been incarcerated, the experience of having their daily schedules and activities closely managed and monitored can diminish independence, self-sufficiency and initiative. Individuals preparing to transition to the community need to learn or re-learn those skills. 5. Identify and address factors that can contribute to committing a crime. An ex-offender’s likelihood of committing a crime can decrease when certain factors are addressed. They include: anti-social attitudes, peers and personality patterns; highconflict family and intimate relationships; substance abuse; low levels of achievement in school and/ or work; and unstructured leisure time. Risk assessments can help identify those factors so that appropriate services can be provided. Source: Council of State Governments Justice Center


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DEFENDER | WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012 | defendernetwork.com

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WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012 | DEFENDER

business

13

City awards contracts to

underutilized firms Defender News Services

Mayor Annise Parker recently announced that $339,651,389 in city contracts has been awarded to certified small, minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprise (S/MWDBE) companies in Houston during the 2012 fiscal year. The figure comes from the recently published Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) Fiscal Year 2012 S/MWDBE Awards Report. “This report shows the changes we have made in creating a competitive and diverse business environment in Carlecia Wright Houston,” said Parker. “I am extremely proud of this report. It is reflective of the great work done in city departments and their commitment to creating jobs and helping our local economy.” The overall percentage of S/MWDBE awards given in FY2012 is 28 percent, the highest percentage of S/MWDBE awards given to certified vendors in the last seven years. According to the

report, in FY2012 the City of Houston awarded $1,321,182,509 overall to firms for construction, professional services and purchasing agreements. Of this amount $339,651,389 were awarded to certified businesses. “One of the initiatives set forth by Mayor Parker was to encourage historically underutilized firms to meaningfully participate in the city’s procurement process; we are proud of the achievements this report highlights.” said Carlecia D. Wright, OBO Director. “We look forward to helping more businesses grow and thrive in the Houston marketplace” OBO produces bi-monthly updates to assist City departments with tracking the progress of the percentage of S/MWDBEs utilized on each of their contracts and non-contracts based on Citywide goals. The reports are published annually to reflect the dollars awarded to S/MWDBEs on City of Houston contracts and non-contract agreements. The FY2012 S/MWDBE Awards Report has new graphics and details the utilization of the awards by gender, ethnicity, contract type and certification type, which are broken down by department.

Mayor Annise Parker

Group formed to increase accounting diversity Defender News Services

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has announced the creation of a National Commission on Diversity to champion diversity within the accounting profession. The formation of the commission reflects a renewed focus on diversity within the profession and the need to increase the retention and advancement of underrepresented minorities to better reflect the clients and communities CPAs serve. The 15-member commission is comprised of representatives from minority professional advocacy groups, CPA firms, state CPA societies, and leaders from business and industry, government, and education. The group will meet quarterly. “The AICPA has done a tremendous amount of work to make the profession more inclusive and we will continue to build upon those efforts,” said Kim Drumgo, vice-chair of the commission and director of diversity and inclusion at the AICPA. “The commission brings together a wide range of stakeholders to address the issue of diversity. This is a critical step towards ensuring the profession’s continued growth and ability to meet the needs of those we serve.”

Recent AICPA research provides a snapshot of the ethnic composition of the profession and establishes a benchmark as the commission begins its work. According to a study of 2011 trends, minorities accounted for 25 percent of the new accounting bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates hired by CPA firms in 2010, an increase from the 17 percent reported in 2001. The increased number of graduates can be viewed as a positive sign, but the survey also found that while minorities make up 20 percent of professional staff positions, only 6 percent of firm partners are ethnically diverse. “The profession has made some encouraging progress recruiting from all races and ethnicities, but we still have work to do – particularly when it comes to retaining and promoting minorities,” said Ken Bouyer, chairman of the commission and Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting at Ernst and Young. “We’ve formed the commission because to continue to move the needle, a lot of people will need to work together. This issue is critical and ultimately our results

will impact the profession for years to come.” According to the U.S. Census, minority-owned businesses increased 45.5 percent from 2002 to 2007, from 4.0 million businesses to 5.8 million, while their receipts increased 55 percent. These minority-owned businesses accounted for 21.3 percent of the nation’s businesses and generated $1 trillion in receipts. “It is imperative that the profession’s makeup evolve to reflect the diversity found in American businesses and society as a whole,” said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO. The commission will work toward proposing AICPA strategies to increase the number of minorities in the accounting profession. The process will involve investigating and understanding the barriers to the long-term success of minorities by analyzing recruitment and retention data within the accounting profession. In addition, the commission will closely monitor population trends and analyze the impact of such trends on both the profession and the clients CPAs serve.

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Music makes the world go around By CHERYL PEARSON-McNEIL Nielsen

When you and I talk about technological leaps and bounds, frequently we’re focused on the way we communicate with each other. And, I write here a lot about what we watch and how we watch it. But, let me ask you this: What are you listening to today, and perhaps, even more interestingly – how are you listening to it? My assumption that you are indeed very likely to listen to music today is an educated one, as results from new Nielsen Entertainment and Nielsen 360 studies show that music is an everyday activity for most people in this country. Those comprehensive results report that 70 percent of people 13 and over actively listen to music at least once a day. Ninety percent of people actively listen at least

several times a week. We love our music and both exposure and consumption continue to increase. So, now, how are you listening to your music? Remember back in the dark ages when AM/FM radio was the way to go, when transistor radios (which went the way of the dinosaur) were considered cool? In addition to your personal stereo or turntable – which played records – came 8-tracks, cassette players, boom boxes, the Walkman, then the Discman. “The accessibility of music has seen tremendous expansion and diversification,” reports Nielsen Entertainment’s David Bakula. His research also confirms that radio still rules as the number one way consumers access music. This is how we listen: • Radio 48% • Computer 44%

• CD player 39% • iPod (other than phone) 27% • Home stereo 23%

Continued on Page 16

SOW_HoustonDefenderPaths.indd 1

PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, TX (METRO) Public Hearing for FY2013 Operating & Capital Budgets The Public Hearing for METRO’s FY2013 Operating & Capital Budgets will be held on Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in the METRO Board Room on the 2nd floor at 1900 Main Street in Houston, TX. METRO’s FY2013 Operating & Capital Budgets will be available for public review beginning September 13, 2012 at METRO headquarters at 1900 Main Street on the 14th floor. Contact Rosa Diaz at 713-739-4840. Also, you are urged to visit METRO’s website www.ridemetro.org to view the documents and make comments.

• TV 21% • MP3 player (other than an iPod or phone) 17% • Android phone 13%

9/12/11 8:37 PM


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Best Black Newspaper in Texas Defender Houston’s Leading Black Information Source

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One of the Top Three Black Newspaper Websites in the nation A. Philip Randolph Messenger Awards

Pulitzer Prize® of the Black Press Sponsored by: MillerCoors

National Newspaper Publishers Association Merit Awards:

Academy Awards® of the Black Press The Voice of the Black Community n Best Original Advertising

First Place for Twelve Taste of Christmas Promotion with KTSU-FM n Circulation Promotion

First Place for Exceptional Distribution System n Best Sports Section

Second Place for Pro/College and High School Sports n Best News Story

Second Place for the story “OUTRAGED” By ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Thank You Defender Staff for outstanding work that reflects your commitment and service to the Houston Area Community.

n Best Feature Story

Third Place for the story “Family Violence” By Marilyn Marshall

Winning more awards than all the Black newspapers in the State of Texas combined.

We share these awards with our readers, advertisers and the community. Thank You.

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Music...Continued from page 14 ....

• iPhone 12% • Satellite radio 10% When we refer to listening via computer, iPods, MP3 players or phones, we’re often referring to Internet radio, digital downloads of singles and albums and ondemand streaming. These days, of course, albums don’t necessarily mean vinyl – although data shows there is resurgence in interest in vinyl albums – it typically means CDs and digital albums. For young people,

though, the numbers are a little different. YouTube is the way most listen to music. As the mom of a music-loving teenage son, I can testify to this. Take a look: • 64% of teens listen to music through YouTube • 56% of teens listen to music on the radio • 53% listen through iTunes • 50% listen on CDs It’s interesting to note, too, that new hot artists aren’t always the most listened to or biggest selling. Because of her

classified PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING NOTICE

NORTH HOUSTON HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will hold a second public scoping meeting regarding the North Houston Highway Improvement Project. The project limits are from the interchange of US 59 and SH 288 to the interchange of IH 45 and Beltway 8 North, a distance of approximately 16 miles. The study area includes portions of IH 10, US 59, and SH 288 near downtown Houston; Hardy Toll Road from north of downtown Houston to Beltway 8 North; and IH 610 and Beltway 8 North between IH 45 and Hardy Toll Road. TxDOT is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, to analyze potential direct, indirect, and cumulative effects to the human and natural environment that may occur from the construction and operation of proposed transportation improvements in the project area. Two identical public scoping meetings will be held in the project area. An open house meeting format will allow the public to come and go at their convenience. Project team members will be available to discuss issues and answer questions regarding the proposed improvements and the EIS process. A short video regarding the project will be presented throughout the meeting. Maps of the study area and exhibits of the preliminary alternatives will be on display. The same information will be presented at both meetings. The public is encouraged to attend anytime between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the most convenient meeting location. Tuesday, October 9, 2012 Jefferson Davis High School 1101 Quitman Street Houston, TX 77009

Thursday, October 11, 2012 Aldine Ninth Grade School 10650 North Freeway Houston, TX 77037

The purpose of this public scoping meeting is to present information about, and receive public feedback on, preliminary alternatives for highway improvements in the North Houston corridor, the process being used to evaluate these alternatives, and how community feedback has been incorporated to date in the planning process. The revised Need and Purpose Statement and Project Coordination Plan documents will be available for review. After the scoping meetings, the information presented at the meetings will be available for review and reproduction on the project website www.IH45NorthandMore.com, and at the TxDOT Houston District Office, 7600 Washington Avenue, Houston, Texas 77007. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding state holidays. The public will have the opportunity to provide written comments during and after the meeting. If you are unable to attend one of the public scoping meetings, you may view project information and submit comments on the project website www.IH45NorthandMore.com, or you can mail comments to: Director of Project Development, Texas Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 1386, Houston, Texas 772511386. You may also email comments to the address: HOU-piowebmail@txdot.gov. Comments received by email or postmarked by Friday, October 26, 2012, will be included in the public meeting record. Your participation is encouraged in this important step of the EIS process. We appreciate your interest in the proposed project and hope you will attend this second public scoping meeting. Meeting materials will be presented in English, with some materials also in Spanish. Spanish-speaking project team members will be available to assist with translation of other materials. Persons interested in attending the public meeting who have special communication or accommodation needs are encouraged to contact TxDOT’s District Public Information Office at (713) 802-5072 by Friday October 5, 2012. TxDOT will make every reasonable effort to accommodate special needs. For more information regarding the North Houston Highway Improvement Project, please visit the project website www.IH45NorthandMore.com.

heavy exposure, Nikki Minaj’s “Super Bass” was the most streamed song in 2011, with over 86 million plays/ views, beating out singles by Adele, LMFAO, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. With all the ways to consume music, a couple of more traditional artists made Nielsen’s top 10 list for the first six months of 2012. Whitney Houston was No. 2 across all platforms, with appreciation and interest likely spiked by her untimely death, which is often the case; Rihanna was number six; and Lionel Richie, who, of course, has been around for decades, came in at No. 8 – outselling all the others in digital tracks and streaming plays. This is probably because of Ritchie’s foray into the country genre. And, that’s interesting because respondents

to Nielsen’s survey typically classified themselves as either country fans or hiphop/R&B fans. The reality is that people who put themselves in either of those categories actually enjoy a much broader spectrum of music. Country music fans also reported preferring rock/classic/ pop/Top 40/oldies and alternative rock. Data shows those who preferred hiphop/R&B also listen to pop/Top 40/rap/classic rock and alternative rock. Of course, there is also taste for jazz, adult contemporary, gospel/religious and others. Another interesting stat is that even though new digital track releases are likely to be purchased by younger consumers immediately after their release, catalog sales are outpacing current sales. Catalog music is at least 18 months old, which includes all

classified HOUSTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NOTICE TO PROPOSERS The Houston Independent School District located in the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center at 4400 West 18th Street Houston, Texas 77092 will accept proposals, until the stated date and time deadlines, in the Board Services Office, Level C1

Project 12-10-03 – Mobile Equipment Insurance with a deadline of Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 2 P.M. The pre-proposal conference for this project will be Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 3 P.M. in Room 2E26 at the above stated address.

Project 12-10-02 – Fleet Catastrophe Insurance with a deadline of Wednesday October 10, 2012 at 2 P.M. The pre-proposal conference for this project will be Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 2 P.M. in Room 2E26 at the above stated address.

Project 12-07-04– Food Service – Kitchen, Production & Warehouse Supplies – with a final submittal date of 10 A.M. October 03, 2012. The pre-proposal conference for this project will be held on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @ 2:00 p.m. in Room 2NE32, located at 4400 West 18th Street, Houston, TX 77092.

Project 12-07-05– Food Service – Kitchen & Production Chemicals and Dispensers – with a final submittal date of 10 A.M. October 03, 2012. The pre-proposal conference for this project will be held on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @ 10:00 a.m. at the HISD Food Service Support Facility in Room 2002, located at 6801 Bennington Street, Houston, TX 77028. A walk- through of the production facility will be held for Suppliers bidding on production cleaning chemicals involving a service agreement. Proposals are available on the HISD web-site at www.houstonisd.org.

The District reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, or, to accept the proposal that is most advantageous to the District. The District sells obsolete assets on-line at www.PublicSurplus.com.

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil

“Glee?” It’s another trend to watch as all genres of music are everywhere more than ever. And, you, the music loving consumer, have far greater control (and power) over how you access yours.

the classics. Nielsen analysts attribute much of this to multimedia integration. Think about it. How many traditional artists have you seen or heard on TV shows like “American Idol,” “The Voice” or

New Orleans...Continued from page 6 ....

more complete picture. “There are people with some pretty high incomes when you look at it on the surface, but who are still living in poverty when it comes to assets.” Solving these issues is a multi-pronged approach, Ruesga says, and the study lays out several recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders to examine like creating neighborhood-based financial centers, establishing a local earned income tax credit, and incorporating financial education into social service and workforce development programs. “Municipalities can also limit the development of check cashing and payday loan centers through zoning restrictions,” Ruesga adds. “These places take advantage of the ‘underbanked’ – people who either don’t have a bank account for various reasons or have one and don’t use it – and charge very high fees for their services.” Because more than 70 percent of New Orleans residents have subprime credit scores, Ruesga notes, affordable lending opportunities can be hard to come by. “They’re not going to get a loan and the check cashing centers then serve as local banks. Second-chance banking for people with credit difficulties should be encouraged.” But “on the positive side,” according to the study, “entrepreneurship has spiked in the New Orleans metro post-Katrina.” New Orleans has more self-employed residents than the national average, many of whom are Black.


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WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012 | DEFENDER

Now, the real

opinion

17

work begins

T

By JULIANNE MALVEAUX NNPA Columnist

he 2012 Democratic National Convention was an exuberant celebration of President Barack Obama, his accomplishments, and the many ways his presidency has made us better off than we were four years ago. Between a stirring and incandescent speech by First Lady Michelle Obama, and an impassioned charge by former President Bill Clinton, the delegates were roused and the pressure was high for President Obama to deliver an inspiring charge to those who have already spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to participate in the convention. Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News Truly, he delivered with a tone that was alternately exusets in. While the unemployment rate dropped berant, defiant, humorous, and apologetic. Most just a bit, from 8.3 to 8.1 percent, the level of job importantly, he spoke of our country as being at a creation does not meet expectations. fork in the road, with choices to be made. Forward In other words, with only 96,000 jobs crewith Obama, backward with Romney. ated, the Republicans have hay to make about the He challenged the delegates to move forward employment situation. On the other hand, Demoand embrace his accomplishments. Spirits were crats can clearly say that that Obama’s policies are certainly high as thousands of delegates left the holding the line, and that absent cooperation on Time Warner Cable Arena chanting, “Fired up, the American Jobs Act, our president is doing the ready to go.” best that he or anyone else can do. Why are political conventions held, anyway? Is holding the line good enough? Some are convinced they could’ve easily colThe African-American unemployment rate lapsed their three or four-day schedule to just one is 14.1 percent. With the underutilization inor two days, because they are so scripted. Yet, one dex, Black unemployment rates were nearly 26 or two days might not be enough to engender the percent, which means that one in four Africanexcitement that was present – the chanting, the Americans do not have work. Some say this is an hugging, the notion that, despite significant chalunderestimate. lenges, hard work will bring Democrats a victory There are 5 million people who are part of the in November. long term unemployed, people who were out of The convention is a tool to bring delegates, work for half a year or more. These folks reprewho are local leaders, into focused campaign acsent 40 percent of the unemployed. The data can tivity. The convention is a tool to get the delegates be spun either way. Not enough? Holding the out to organize and mobilize people. line? Failure? On the road to progress? After the euphoria, though, reality sets in. In As much as I was fired up by President other words, the reality of unemployment rates Obama’s speech, and the ones that preceded it,

I also listened to it through the lens of “Leroy,” the brother who has been unemployed, or even out of the labor force, for half a year or more. Leroy listened, and Leroy applauded, and maybe Leroy even agreed that we are at a fork in the road. But when Leroy is asked if he is better off than he was four years ago, he is only thinking about his unemployment. He is thinking that he can’t pay his rent. He is thinking that he is worse off, and a great speech won’t make him feel better. The Democratic challenge is to meet Leroy where he lives, to explain to him that his job prospects might be even more restricted under a Romney-Ryan administration than an Obama one. The challenge is to move Leroy past his angst and indifference to the same enthusiasm that delegates felt. The speeches are over and the work now begins. Speeches won’t bring electoral victory. A solid ground operation and lots of elbow grease will. After the speech, as people filed out of the Time Warner Cable Arena, I spent some time with the Pacifica team from Los Angeles, Margaret Prescod, Davey D, and others. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ralph Nader and I talked about the speech and next steps. Nader is most critical, indicating that Obama spoke neither of poverty nor of increasing the minimum wage. While he is right, one wonders if, at a fork in the road, these are appropriate criticisms. Nader is a critic of the two-party political system, but that’s all we have now, so we have to work it. When President Obama wins this election, there will be more euphoria, which is a good thing. Then, reality must set in, with advocacy for the poor, as well as the middle class, with revisions to the tax code that eliminate corporate welfare, and with a greater commitment to quality education. From my perspective, too many people enjoy the

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DEFENDER | WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012

sports

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Michael Strahan enjoyed a successful career with the Giants.

TSU’s Strahan co-hosts ‘Live’ show By Max Edison Defender

H

ow do you replace a man who occupied the seat on a job for 28 years? If you’re the brain trust of the popular daytime show “Live! With Regis & Kelly” that was the million-dollar question. The daunting task of finding just the right person to replace Regis Philbin was tough. After an exhaustive one-year search, 200 shows and some 59 prospective co-hosts, the decision was recently made and the selection is a Houstonian. Former Westbury High standout and Texas Southern University AllAmerican Michael Strahan is the new co-host. Kelly Ripa recently welcomed Strahan as her co-host. Strahan, 40, enjoyed an NFL career that spanned 15 years as a defensive end for the New York Giants. He was NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2001), a two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year (2001, 2003), a seventime time Pro-Bowler and led the Giants to a Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XLII (2008). Strahan has been a member of the awardwinning “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show since 2008. He has appeared in numerous commercials, from ads for Subway to Vaseline for Men. He also co-starred in the ill-fated sitcom “Brothers” in 2009. “You know how you say it’s a dream come true. I truly can’t say that because I didn’t know I could dream this,” Strahan said. With Ripa as a co-host, Strahan feels their chemistry will make them successful. “I think you have two people who can laugh at themselves, who can laugh at each other, who have a good time. We get along and we make sure that anyone who watches the show enjoys it,”

Strahan was a defensive standout with New York.

Strahan said. “I think it’s the same formula.” The show’s executive producer, Michael Gelman, was asked how Strahan emerged as the favorite among all of the competition. “Chemistry isn’t something you can really put your finger on,” he said. “But there was something special with Michael, and the chemistry was there.” Ripa enjoyed the selection process but is more than happy to move forward with Strahan. “I’ve really been very fortunate. I’ve sat next to so many talented people,” Ripa said of the hunt for a new host. “I have enjoyed every single solitary person except for, like, one. Now it is time for a new era of our show to begin.” Ironically enough Strahan, in a 2008 visit to the show following the Super Bowl, told Philbin that his job would be a nice one to have when Philbin inquired about his post-football plans. Little did big No. 92 realize the comment would someday be a reality. “I was joking,” Strahan said, “and I’m glad the joke came true.” Tony Wyllie, senior vice president of communications for the Washington Redskins and a classmate of Strahan’s at Texas Southern, is elated by the success his fellow Tiger alum has experienced off the gridiron. “Words are hard to express how proud I am of Michael’s accomplishments, of course on the field during his playing days and certainly now with the things he’s doing with the ‘Live Show,’ ” Wyllie said. “The one word that comes to mind is pride. I’m yelling at the TV screaming, ‘I went to school with him!’ I’m so proud of him. If there’s a Mount Rushmore for Texas Southern he belongs on it.” Live with Kelly and Michael can be seen daily at 9 a.m. on KTRK Channel 13.

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h.s.zone Harris born to be

Yates Lion

course, you always have to spend time in the weight room.” ates head footAmong his career highball coach Ronlights are defeating Jeff Daald Miller says vis 82-0 as a sophomore and everybody isn’t a memorable hit in a game born to be a Jack Yates against Reagan. He says the Lion. Yet Miller quickly goal of the Yates Lions is the adds that senior offensive same every year – to win the lineman and three-year state championship. starter LaFrance Harris cer“It’s not a successful tainly has the credentials. season unless we compete “LaFrance is what I for the state title,” he said. call a legacy kid,” Miller “One of my responsibilities said. “His father and his as a team captain is to make grandfather played for sure we maintain a commitYates and he’s following in ment to that goal.” their footsteps.” After opening the 2012 Harris wants to take season with a big win over it one step further. “My rival Wheatley, Yates sufgrandfather was Mr. Yates fered a setback to North LaFrance Harris is a senior offensive lineman at Yates High and graduated in 1951. My School. Forest. dad graduated in 1983 and “I’ve been playing then went to Prairie View. football for the past 10 years ers we’ve got,” Miller said. “Our That’s what I’d like to do.” and one thing I’ve learned is that ultimate goal is to put him position A preseason all-state selection on some days, things just don’t go to get a scholarship and play at the at 6-feet and 285 pounds, Harris your way. It doesn’t matter what next level.” was named first-team all-district you do,” Harris said. “Other days One of four team captains and all-Houston Independent you can do no wrong. along with running back Arthur School District the past two years. “We are going to rebound from Lockett, quarterback/receiver He would love to play football on that loss to North Forest and get Joshua Simmons and defensive the collegiate level, but admits the ready to play Madison next. As back Ikeena Ozz, Harris plays odds of playing professionally are a team captain, I have to lead by right guard and coincidently, that’s challenging to say the least. example. It’s not all about leading where the Lions get a lot of their “A lot of high school playthe cheers.” rushing yards. Lockett rushed for ers have the ambition to play in Wouldn’t you know his favor1,634 yards and scored 25 touchthe NFL. But the percentages just ite color is red; the colors for the downs in 2011. aren’t in our favor,” Harris said. Yates Lions are crimson and gold. “You’ll find that Arthur runs “It’s some ridiculously low number. behind LaFrance quite a bit,” His favorite meal is hot wings and I’m going to concentrate on pursuhe was born July 10, 1995 which Miller said. “He’s an excellent run ing a career in science or engineermakes his birth sign Cancer. blocker. When we took the kids to ing and getting a job after that.” Football isn’t the only sport Reliant Stadium for drills, LaFHarris is the youngest of three that he’s good at. rance was one of the best linemen siblings. Both of his older sisters “Because of my size, most there. ” attended Yates. His favorite subject people wouldn’t think of me being While the backs and ends were in school is any kind of science, a good swimmer,” he said. “I’ve working on 7-on-7 drills during the particularly biology. He’d like his been swimming since I was four summer months, Harris says his college major to be either mechaniyears old. I can do just about all the goal was to improve his footwork. cal engineering or marine biology. different strokes. “Whether it was jumping rope If he could solve a world problem, “Swimming is one of my or working on the step ladder, I it would be to get rid of pollution. favorite activities. It’s a lifelong was trying to develop quicker feet,” “He’s one of our team leadsport and I spend a lot of time in Harris said. “That’s what separates ers and one of the hardest workthe pool,” Harris said. good linemen from great ones. Of By DARRELL K. ARDISON Defender

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WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012 DEFENDER

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sportsbriefs Early-season highlight It had all the earmarks of an early-season blowout. Perennial powerhouse Brenham, undefeated at home all but one season since 2004. Underdog Foster, which has had one winning season since 2004. The Foster Falcons won 31-14 in convincing fashion by creating four turnovers. Two-way performer Evan Temple scored on two of the turnovers – an interception return and a fumble return. “Everyone has pride,” said Foster head coach Mark Wiatrek. “Everyone wants to go into a season believing they have a chance to get into the playoffs and advance. The only way you can do that is to play people like Brenham.”

North Shore’s comeback North Shore, the No. 2 ranked Class 5A school in the Houston area, went on the road to No. 9 Manvel and trailed 28-7 in the second quarter. The comeback began near the end of the second quarter when the Mustangs drove 85 yards in just under two minutes. Trailing 28-14 at halftime, North Shore took the second-half kickoff and drove 73 yards to slice the deficit to 28-21. The third and fourth quarters belonged to the Mustangs as they scored the game’s final 49 points and beat Manvel 56-28 at Alvin Memorial Stadium. “It was a heavyweight fight, and they knocked us out about middle of that third quarter,” said Manvel head coach Kirk Martin.

Etcetera Two schools off to roaring starts are North Forest and Mayde Creek. North Forest has defeated Jones and Yates while Mayde Creek has dispensed with Cy Springs and Cy Lakes.

Serena’s dominance Just two short months after winning Wimbledon, Serena Williams has once again made her case as tennis’ most dominant player. Williams recently defeated No. 1 ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 to capture her fourth U.S. Open. Her win makes her the first women’s tennis player to surpass $40 million in earnings. Serena is also the first 30-yearold woman to win the U.S. Open since Martina Navratilova in 1987.

Schaub gets new deal The Texans have shown QB Matt Schaub exactly what they think of him, rewarding the signal caller with a sweet contract extension recently. The deal is reportedly $64 million over four years with $30 million guaranteed. Drafted by Atlanta in 2004 in the third round from the University of Virginia, Schaub is only one of 12 quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for 4,000-yards in back-to-back seasons and one of eight to throw for 9,000 combined yards in consecutive seasons. He enters 2012 following his best winning percentage as a starter at 70 percent last season. His 2011 season was cut short following a Lisfranc injury in Week 10 at Tampa Bay. He finished the year with 2,479 yards, 15 touchdowns and only six interceptions. While at the helm, the Texans offense ranked seventh in the NFL gaining 396.2 yards per game. Schaub’s best year as a pro came in 2009 when he was named to his first Pro Bowl following an NFLbest 4,770 passing yards.

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DEFENDER | WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 13 | 2012 com

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For Event Coverage...visit

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chag’splace

Charlotte Kelly Bryant and Booker Lynne Graves

Living Legends Genevieve Rousseve, Elizabeth Hubbard and Dr. James Burton

Living Legends Birdie Churchwell, Helen Turner and Phillip Turner

Jene Guess Cash, Tracie Momie and Kathrine Hill

Carol Guess and Frandale Johnson

John Guess IV, John Guess III, Richard Chappell and Charles Clemons

Delphia York Duckens and Tandelyn Weaver

Dr. Ronald Johnson

Artist Charles Washington and Wanda Milian

We salute board president Charlotte Bryant, HONORING OUR HISTORY…..The Blue luncheon chair Booker Lynne Graves and the entire Triangle Multi-Cultural Association, Inc. celebrated organization for honoring these deserving individuals. its 2012 Living Legends Luncheon by honoring Congratulations!.....LAUNCH PARTY…..Co-creators 14 individuals whose lives have proven to be both Jene’ Guess-Cash, Kathrine Hill productive and successful. Those and Tracie Momie greeted their honored included Doris Anderson, Join Yvette Chargois Marlise Armstrong, Dr. James guests in the lobby of the Houston Events of the Week Burton, Birdia Churchwell, Museum of African American More photos on defendernetwork.com Elizabeth Hubbard, Louis Ray, Culture for the official launch for See Events on KTRK Ch.13’s Crossroads Genevieve Rousseve, Rita Faye their new marriage and lifestyle with Melanie Lawson Sunday Morning @ 11 a.m. Smith, Emma Steward, Jessie website, Love. Work. Repeat. The Tanner, Helen Turner, Phillip trio discussed their vision and gave Turner, Annis Turney and Dr. a presentation, which included a Amanda Winters. The 2012 Blue Triangle Titanium live demo of the site that is full of information not Award was presented to Gerald Womack of Womack only about marriage and family but also fashion, Development & Investment Realtors. Music was home décor, travel, health and fitness and much provided by Ester Louise Bennett and deejay F. Ryan more. The site has plenty of promise and encourages Ferebee. Sherry Williams, Saturday morning anchor collaboration from the community through the sharing on KHOU 11, served as mistress of ceremony. The of stories that may inspire others. Visit the website Blue Triangle Community Center provides a safe place at www.love.work.repeat.com. Some of the guests for the community to meet, learn and enjoy recreation. included John Guess III, John Guess IV, Richard

Chappell, Charles Clemons, Frandale Johnson and Carol Guess, to name a few. Best of luck!..... THE SMITHSONIAN AND THE KINGDOM BUILDERS’ CENTER……A soulful dessert reception was held recently to launch the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s (NMAAHC) grassroots campaign to reach its national goal of 100,000 charter members. The event gave Houstonians the opportunity to learn more about the nation’s first national African American museum, sign up as charter members and view the artwork of local environmental artist Charles Washington. Delphia York Duckens, associate director for external affairs for NMAAHC, expressed her delight at partnering with the Kingdom Builders Center (the KBC) to share the vision, mission and purpose of the museum. Tandelyn Weaver, executive director of the KBC, was equally thrilled to be part of this history-making endeavor. Over 300 guests attended the event. Continued success!.....From Chag’s Place to your place, have a blessed week!

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September 13, 2012