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Houston’s Leading Black Information Source Volume 80 | Number 39

WEEK OF JULY 28, 2011 | FREE


Helping MWBEs do city business

Lesa Spivey

Carlecia Wright

New PR, media director at HCC


Michelle Obama Joins food initiative


NFL lockout over, let’s play football

Marc Morial talks to Obama National Urban League President Marc Morial talked about pressing issues with President Barack Obama at the White House. Another leader of a civil rights group, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, joined Morial and Obama. They discussed unemployment, and how the debt crisis and budget cuts could impact people of color.

H Page 4

Derek Luke cherishes role Actor Derek Luke currently plays the role of young surgeon Dr. Miles Bourdet on the TNT medical drama “HawthoRNe.” He considers the role a great opportunity, and likes the fact that he’s portraying a character with morals and integrity. Luke can also be seen in this summer’s blockbuster movie “Captain America.” H Page 8 • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years

P11 chag’S PLACE

Janes Jones and Sharon Owens - Ensemble Theatre Play, Blues in the Night.





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In The Book Corner


Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate

Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

Pets add a lot of love and personality to a home – but they also add plenty that needs cleaning up. From slobbered-on chew toys to pet hair on the sofa, they definitely leave their mark on the home.

by Juan Williams “Is it possible to talk about Muslims and terrorism without being called a bigot?… What happened to me was not about me alone. It was an assault on journalism.”

Question of the Week

Automotive highlight

Do you think red light cameras are good for


safety purposes?

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Discover the New Look, New Size, New Content, New Attitude Designed for your convenience, the new Defender is packaged in an easy to handle tabloid size, with a colorful contemporary flair featuring more content as we celebrate 80 years of service to the African-American community. The new Defender logo with the large star reflects that “You Are the STAR.” Each week you are invited to share your opinions and comments on our stories and the issues confronting our city on the defendernetwork. com. Let your voice be heard and invite others to join you. Look for the Defender at community locations, Krogers, Fiesta, Gerlands and soon CVS pharmacies.

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School discipline linked to academics, juvenile justice mandated suspensions and expulsions. The overwhelming majority of disciplinary actions were made at the discretion of school officials primarily in response to violations A groundbreaking study of nearly of local conduct codes. 1 million Texas public secondary school It is these discretionary discipline students followed for more than six years actions that have caused concern; espesuggests a strong link between repeated cially since African-American students and school discipline incidents and lower those with particular educational academic performance and higher disabilities were disproportionparticipation in the juvenile ately disciplined for discretionary justice system. actions. The study, conducted by Norma J. Thomas, a veteran the Council of State Governeducator with 29 years ments (CSG) Justice of experience in public, Center in partnership private, and university setwith the Public Policy tings, views the discipline Research Institute of discretion as positive and Texas A&M University, negative. revealed that nearly 60 “Some schools will percent of participants receive a population of were suspended or students that others will expelled. not, and such schools Additionally, must be empowered to about 15 percent of the deal with that populastudents observed were tion,” said Thomas. “The suspended or expelled problem is that school 11 times or more, administrators assigned at and nearly half of the Norma J. Thomas the principal’s discretion students with 11 or more to discipline, are often disciplinary actions were inept and inconsistent, and have no idea involved in the juvenile justice system. how to handle their particular population of A point of concern for some education students. reform advocates is that only 3 percent of “Faculty popularity contests, and lack the disciplinary actions documented by the of insight and organizational skills often study were for conduct in which state law prohibit administrators from developing and By ASWAD WALKER Defender

“Some schools will receive a population of students that others will not, and such schools must be empowered to deal with that population.”

instituting effective management plans that might minimize expulsions.” Thomas believes that educators have been stripped of the power to control discipline in their classrooms, and that the classroom management techniques of the past no longer work, forcing individual schools to develop their own management plans. Thus, Thomas contends, what may appear to be minor infractions that don’t warrant removal from the classroom are often repeated infractions that then warrant administrative action.

Academic impact

According to the study, only 40 percent of students disciplined 11 times or more graduated from high school during the study period. Additionally, 31 percent of students disciplined one or more times repeated their grade at least once. Schools that had similar characteristics, including the racial composition and economic status of the student body, varied greatly in how frequently they suspended or expelled students, suggesting to some that race is not the main factor in student suspensions. However, Thomas contends that much of the student discipline actions complained about by parents and community activists are often justified. “It sounds harsh and unjust when the statistics are written in black and white. In reality, guilt is more than likely the case. The Continued on Page 5

Spivey named new HCC media director Lesa Spivey has been named the director of public and media relations for Houston Community College. Spivey comes to HCC from San Antonio, where she was a project manager and public affairs lead for Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. She recently retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel and public affairs director after 25 years of service. She was reared in Houston and graduated from Jack Yates Senior High Magnet School of Communications. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of

Houston and graduated with a master’s degree from Texas Southern University in the field of Public administration. “As an alumna of HCC, I am especially honored to have the opportunity to serve in my new role,” Spivey said. HCC is one of the country’s largest singly-accredited, openadmission, community colleges offering associate degrees, certificates, workforce training and lifelong learning opportunities for 75,000 students each semester. It is comprised of six colleges that serve the greater Houston area’s diverse communities.

Lesa Spivey


localbriefs Crime rate drops in Houston though reason is unknown Police Chief Charles McClelland recently announced that crime is on the decline in Houston. Compared to the same time in 2010, robberies are down 20 percent and homicides are down by 37 percent. Burglaries and thefts are also down. Of particular attention is the murder rate. There have been 90 murders in the city so far this year, compared to 143 during the same time period last year. McClelland say if it stays on pace, Houston could see the lowest rate since 1965. The only increase is in rapes, which are up 7.8 percent. It’s unclear why the overall crime rate has dropped.

UH named one of ‘2011 Great Colleges to Work For’ The University of Houston is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The results, which were recently released in the annual report on the Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of nearly 44,000 employees at 310 colleges and universities. UH joins 84 other four-year institutions and 26 two-year institutions on the list, which recognizes the best practices of colleges based on enrollment size. UH received recognition among large universities for its policies in four areas: diversity, collaborative governance, teaching environment and respect and appreciation.

HBCU Paul Quinn opposed to plan for nearby landfill Officials at Paul Quinn College in Dallas are upset about a proposal to require all trash collected in the city to be taken to a landfill less than two miles from the historically Black institution. “No one wants to live close to a great big garbage dump,” Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell said. “If they did, all the folks that are talking about doing it would put it in their neighborhood.” Local leaders believe they can generate a profit by recovering methane from trash at the landfill and convert it into efficient fuel. “I’m incredibly offended by this,” Sorrell added. • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years





Obama, Black leaders discuss major issues

Defender News Services

During a recent White House meeting with President Barack Obama, leaders of the largest and oldest civil rights groups talked about the need Barack Obama for jobs and their opposition to cuts in programs vital to America’s inner cities. National Urban League President Marc Morial and NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said they left the meeting confident that Obama understood how harmful deep budget cuts could be in light of the current debt crisis. “Everybody in this country is prepared to accept some form of compromise. But it cannot be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society,” Jealous said. “We were assured today the president does not intend to let that happen and we are very pleased with that.”

such an agreement must involve shared sacrifice, and said the country could not afford to balance the budget on the back of the most Marc Morial Ben Jealous vulnerable They discussed unemployment, Americans, including the middle which stands at 16.2 percent among class, low-income families, seniors Blacks and 11.6 percent among and students. Hispanics. The overall unemployMorial described the meetment rate is 9.2 percent. ing as “positive” and said Obama Obama noted the efforts his advowed to meet with them again afministration is making to spur job ter the debt crisis is resolved to turn creation and economic growth, and his attention to job creation. Morial reiterated the urgency of moving also encouraged Obama to consider forward on a balanced approach to the Urban League’s 12-point job deficit reduction to avoid defaulting plan. on America’s obligations. The plan includes expanding The deficit is growing by about small business lending, initiating $1 trillion a year and is currently tax reform, creating green empowat $14.3 trillion. The administraerment jobs, restoring the Summer tion and Congress face an Aug. Youth Jobs Program and boosting 2 deadline to negotiate spending minority participation in informareductions. tion and communication technology The President stressed that industries.

Rep. Waters wants ethics charges dropped Special to the NNPA from

Citing “gross misconduct,” the lawyer representing Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) is asking the House Ethics Committee to dismiss all charges against his client. In a letter addressed to the chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Republican Jo Bonner, of Alabama, and the committee’s top Democrat, Linda Sanchez, of California, Waters’ attorney Stanley Brand cited internal documents showing a close relationship between two former committee lawyers in the case and Republican committee members, saying “any

further action by the committee would be “irremediably tainted and without legal foundation.” Waters is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, which alleges she tried to obtain a federal bailout for a minority-owned bank where her husband is an investor. She has repeatedly denied wrong doing, saying she had no role in the Obama administration’s decision to bail out Boston-based OneUnited Bank. The congresswoman’s husband, Sidney Williams, owns stock in the bank, and his investment was in danger of becoming worthless during the nearfinancial collapse of late 2008. Treasury Department officials

have told House investigators that Waters was not involved in the bailout decision. Brand said internal documents showed that the two former lawyers regularly corresponded exclusively last year with Rep. Bonner, then the ranking Republican and now the ethics chairman. The two lawyers, C. Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign, were suspended last year by the previous Democratic chairman, Zoe Lofgren of California. Meanwhile ethics watchdogs are calling on Rep. Bonner to step down as chairman of the House Ethics Committee – at least temporarily – for his role in the ongoing turmoil over Waters’ case.

Famine relief in Somalia poses challenges internationally Now that famine has officially been declared in two regions of Southern Somalia, the United Nations is urging “massive” action by the international community to save millions of people in the drought-stricken area. One challenge is logistical – getting enough food to areas that need it as soon as possible. Across Somalia, more than 3.7 million people are in desperate need of assistance. In some areas, nearly half the population is malnourished. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently announced that the U.S. will provide an additional $28 million in emergency aid for Somalis affected by famine in the drought-stricken, violence-torn East African country.

Black farmers still face political hurdles to settlement Despite a discrimination settlement and congressional and presidential approval for payment to cover past injustice, Black farmers in the U.S. are still struggling to get money and respect from government officials. The latest attack came from Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her tea party cohorts who blasted the settlement recently saying that it reeks of fraud and that the money should go to flood victims on the Missouri River instead. It is the latest slap in the face to the farmers who’ve been struggling to get money owed to them since the U.S. Department of Agriculture was found to have discriminated against them from 1983 to 1997.

National program wants to get more Black men in church The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is launching a program to bring more African-American men back to church. The group will kick off the campaign in September. Rev. Anthony Evans, president of NBCI, says that it’s time to end the plague of incarceration, drug abuse and unwed fatherhood among Black males. “NBCI has no other greater mission than to reestablish God’s order–the first step being to call our men back to church,” Evans said. Based in Washington, D.C., NBCI is a coalition of 34,000 African-American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in areas such as healthcare and education.

VOLUME 80 • NUMBER • 39 Week of July 28, 2011

Publisher Sonceria Messiah-Jiles Editor Von Jiles Associate Editors Reshonda Billingsley Marilyn Marshall Art Director Tony Fernandez-Davila

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

The Defender newspaper is published by the Houston Defender Inc. Company (713-663-6996.. The Defender audited By Certified Audited Circulation. (CAC). For subscription, send $60-1 year to: Defender, P.O. Box 8005, Houston TX 77288. Payment must accompany subscription request. All material covered by 2011 copyright. (No material herein may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher). • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years | WEEK OF JULY 28 | 2011 | DEFENDER

School discipline... Continued from page 3 real issues are illiteracy, lack of parenting, emotional immaturity, and under-development. “The answer? Accept that we are not all alike; that African-American children are different, and not just because of their socioeconomic background. They are different psychologically. They learn differently. Most of us have adapted to our educational environment,” Thomas said. “However, other factors and dynamics are rendering this generation less ‘adaptive.’ We’ve got to find those people who are educating African-American children ‘en masse’ successfully, ask them what they are doing, and then do it.” Michael Thompson, CSG Justice Center director, spoke of what the findings could mean. “We hope these findings strengthen efforts underway in Texas to improve outcomes for students, and help other states’ policymakers in examining school discipline practices so they can enhance students’ academic performance and reduce juvenile justice system involvement,” he said. State Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano), chair of the Texas Senate Education Committee, said: “One of the most important takeaways from the report is learning that the school a student attends largely influences how, when, or if a student is removed from the classroom for disciplinary reasons.” “The data suggests that individual school campuses often have a pronounced influence over how often students are suspended or expelled.”

Juvenile justice link

The study, made possible in part through funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundations, relied on more than 6 million school and juvenile justice records (for every student in seventh grade in a Texas public school in academic years 2000-2002), even tracking those that moved from one school to another within the state. “The report tells us that more than one in seven Texas middle and high school students have been involved with the juvenile justice system,” said Texas Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson. “We should ask whether teachers and principals, rather than police officers and judges, are best suited to discipline kids who commit minor infractions.” Houston State Sen. John Whitmire (D), chair of the Texas Criminal Justice Committee, also addressed the issue. “We need to maintain realistic expectations of what educators alone can accomplish in today’s challenging classrooms,” he said. “At the same time, this report demonstrates that if we want our kids to do better in school and reduce their involvement in the juvenile justice system, we in the legislature need to continue looking into how teachers can be better supported and how the school discipline system can be improved.” Thomas believes immediate, in-school consequences for student actions would help reduce suspensions. “When a child is allowed to disrupt the learning process multiple times before any action is taken administratively, this sends a message to the student and their cohorts that they are in control, not the teacher,” Thomas said. “Parents respond quicker to administrators than they do to teachers. If a student knows that when he disrupts learning to the extent that the teacher can no longer gain the attention of students, that student should know that his/her parent will be immediately contacted by an administrator and that should be the first warning. “Children don’t see ‘second chances’ to get their acts together; they view that as having ‘gotten over,’ ” Thomas said.








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OBO Director Carlecia Wright

Helping MWBEs take care of business


By Aswad Walker Defender

s director of the City’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO), Carlecia Wright has taken charge of the former Department of Affirmative Action and Contract Compliance. Wright was appointed by Mayor Annise Parker three months ago, and it’s her job to ensure that area small, minority, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises have meaningful participation in the city’s procurement process. A native Chicagoan, Wright made a name for herself with the successes she had with the City of New York’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Program. There she served as executive director of Policy, Planning and Operations, as well as the executive director of Certification and Recruitment. Well aware of the numerous complaints city officials received because of real or perceived bottlenecks and inef-

ficiencies with the affirmative action department, Wright is determined to lead the OBO’s efforts to provide Houstonians with the same levels of success and increased business opportunities she facilitated in New York. Creating a more transparent and accountable process, identifying new areas of opportunity, changing departmental paradigms and building tools to track successes are some of the tools Wright used in New York that she plans to bring to the Bayou City. Recently, the Defender talked to Wright, a recipient of the Frederick O’Reilly Hayes Prize, which honors aspiring and emerging leaders in NYC government, about her plans to lead the OBO. Defender: Mayor Parker said that the Office of Business Opportunity will operate with a “rising tide lifts all boats philosophy.” What specific OBO programs or actions will give tangible life to this idea? Carlecia Wright: Often, people don’t know what’s happening during the process; it’s like a black hole. I’ve worked to be more accountable to those we serve and make the process more transparent; also, giving customers an update sooner rather than having them learn a month later that their application

is incomplete. And to cut down on the incomplete applications, going forward we will direct customers to our free certification workshops to show them the process for completing an application. We are also expanding the certification period from one year to three years. It takes some time to get all the necessary documents ready, and then to only be certified for a year, if you don’t get a contract; that’s frustrating. Additionally, there’s a disconnect between the certification process and contract compliance. There needs to be something in between that tracks how a prime contractor performed and incorporated MWBEs. We’re also working with partners that certify, like the Houston Minority Supplier Develop- • Serving th

7 ment Council and the Women Business Enterprise Alliance, offering companies that certify with them an expedited application process with us. We will also provide technical assistance on bidding and help navigating the government processes and offices. Looking at how we can help companies gain access to capital in the early stages is something else we seek to do. We know lack of access to capital is a major impediment to MWBEs. The mayor is committed to doing something more. But what that “more” is, is yet to be determined. Defender: How will this office be similar to and different than the old? Wright: The former office did certification and contract compliance. We will do the same. What’s different is what we can do between the certification and contract compliance processes. We’ll be working with departments to see opportunities at every level. We never promoted our companies in that way. We will have an online directory that prime contracting companies can use to search for MWBEs, but now we’re going a step further. Defender: What are your top goals by which you will use to judge your own effectiveness? Wright: First, whether or not we can improve the certification process. When I came on board there was a bad perception of that process. I hope a year from now the complaints to the mayor and to City Council will be less. Second, to add value to certification. At present, a company becomes certified and then frustrated if they don’t win a contract. We must help companies see the value of certification so we can retain them. Right now we stand a chance of losing about 40 percent of our companies. Only a fraction of certified companies are getting contracts. We have to increase their chances of getting those contracts by adding value to their business model. Third, institutionalizing the importance of the program. One thing this administration is

About Carlecia Wright n Hometown Chicago n Education Columbia College (Chicago), bachelors in broadcast journalism New York University, masters in public administration n Mentor Amaziah “Bill” Howell, advisor to current mayor of New York n Previous Employment • Volunteered with AmeriCorps • Executive director of Certification and Recruitment, City of New York • Executive director of Policy, Planning and Operations, Womenowned Business Enterprise Program, City of New York n Philosophy

“I have a servant’s heart. I’m here to serve. My service is infinite. God put me here as a servant, and this [job] is the service I provide. I treat my job like prayer, with daily commitment. You have to constantly reconnect because there’s going to be ups and downs that require constant dedication. I feel as though me coming to Houston, a move my husband supported and facilitated, has been a blessing.” n Goals “Hopefully this administration will be around for the next four and a half years. I’m committed to transforming this program and lasting as long as this administration. After that, a try at entrepreneurship for myself has always been a goal, either as a business opportunity or business development consultant.”

committed to is increasing opportunity. This begins with the departments; that’s where the goods and contracts are. We’ll have a systematic and strategic approach to getting departments to see the value of the program and upping their accountability. Now, the accountability is all with the prime contractors. By making departments share in the accountability it opens up opportunities. The city gets contracts on multiple levels. Greater department accountability will help us focus on contract areas not previously shared with all these companies. Defender: What are the greatest challenges and biggest opportunities in Houston to minority business contract procurement participation? Wright: Institutionalizing what the spirit of this program is. There are opportunities not subject to the law and the program. I’m saying, “Why not try to connect companies at every level?” The smaller procurements happen at the frontline level. The challenge is getting to the level of the P-Card user; those that make those decisions on purchases under $3,000. There are also thousands of purchases under $50,000 where you can invite three or more companies to bid. These are not publicly advertised. It’s important to have resources to reach those decision makers and to have a dual service model providing services to P-Card users and to companies. Defender: How did you arrive at your current career path? Wright: While pursuing my undergraduate degree I did a lot of service work, organizing the first service organization at Columbia College. I knew by my senior year that I was not going to pursue broadcast journalism but rather service, to my parents’ dismay. Immediately after graduating from college I volunteered with AmeriCorps after moving to California.

After Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced her new Office of Business Opportunity director, Carlecia Wright took center stage.

he Houston area for over 80 years

Continued on Page 10




Derek Luke

Actor grateful for ‘HawthoRNe’ role professional. And what he’s discovering is that it’s necessary for him to manage and balance all three roles. KW: Currently, you’re appearing in “Captain America,” a summer blockbuster, and you have this new ongoing role on the TV series. Which type of work do you prefer? DL: I started in movies, and that has given me a license to go into TV. If I have to pick one, I’d have to say movies, since that was my first love. KW: How did you decide to play Gabe Jones? DL: In this case, we didn’t get to see the scripts until well after we’d signed on. But I knew that Gabe Jones was created by the legendary Stan Lee. And that Gabe happens to be one of the few AfricanAmerican characters in the comic world, period. In the very first Marvel Comics issue he appeared in he was white, because the printer assumed that the illus-

trator had made a mistake and changed his color. KW: What does the role of Dr. Miles Bourdet mean to you? DL: It means that there’s an opening for spirituality on television. What I love is that he gets to play a healer beyond basic medicine. He’s actually interested in changing people’s lives. Secondly, he’s a man of color with morals and integrity. I’m very proud of that. KW: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? MSN: All successful people share a determination and a will to refuse limitation. KW: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome on the road to success? DL: Believing that God had a plan for me bigger than my abilities. KW: What business advice do you have for aspiring actors? DL: The first thing I’d tell an actor is to find out what you were destined to do in show business and make it a need that only you can brand.

H Mary J. Blige opens up about her

H Family members planning concert

H Tyra Banks excited about new novel,

During a recent eisode of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” singer Mary J. Blige revealed problems in her past with childhood molestation, alcoholism and addiction. A family friend molested Blige when she was five years old. “I remember feeling, literally, right before it happened, I just could not believe that this person was going to do this to me,” she said. “That thing followed me all my life. The shame of thinking my molestation was my fault. It led me to believe I wasn’t worth anything.” She also talked about problems with alcohol and cocaine in the 1990s. “I really didn’t care about myself,” she said. “...I was like the walking dead, just smoking and drinking and hanging.” Blige said her current husband Kendu Isaacs helped her get her life back on track.

Five of Michael Jackson’s family members are organizing a tribute show in memory of the superstar, who died in 2009. Michael’s mother Katherine is working on the event with his siblings Jackie, Tito, Marlon and LaToya. They made the announcement at a recent press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert” will be held in October at the Millennium Stadium in Wales. Guest performers will be revealed daily until Aug. 4, when tickets go on sale. The concert will benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles and two other charities to be announced. Jermaine and Randy Jackson later criticized the “inappropriate” timing of the concert, which is scheduled to take place less than three weeks after the start of Dr. Conrad Murray’s trial for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael.

TV host Tyra Banks recently stopped by “Good Morning America” to talk about her novel, “Modelland,” a fantasyadventure that follows four young women during their enrollment in an exclusive modeling school. It will be released in September, and the main character is named Tookie De La Crème. Banks, the host of “America’s Next Top Model,” also discussed her involvement in the three-week Owner/ President Management Program at Harvard Business School. The program requires participants to live in student dormitories. “I was freaking out,” she said. “When they told me that I’d have to be in the dorms, I was like, ‘Wait, there’s a hotel two blocks away. Can I stay there?’ ” In addition, the university refused her request to have her own security guards live in the next dorm room over.

By Kam Williams Defender

Independent Spirit Award-winner Derek Luke (for “Antwone Fisher”) has joined the cast of TNT’s “HawthoRNe,” the powerful medical drama starring and executive-produced by Jada Pinkett Smith. In a multi-episode arc that began with the season premiere, Luke is playing the role of Dr. Miles Bourdet, a young surgeon who arrives at James River Hospital to become the protégé of Dr. Tom Wakefield (Michael Vartan). Currently in the midst of a divorce, Miles will attract the attention of Camille Hawthorne (Hannah Hodson), daughter of Jada’s character Christina Hawthorne. In addition to the title role in “Antwone Fisher,” Luke’s feature film credits include “Friday Night Lights,” “Miracle at St. Anna” and “Notorious.” Here, he talks about “HawthoRNe” as well as his new movie, “Captain America: The First Avenger.” KW: So, what interested you in joining the cast of “HawthoRNe?” DL: First, a project has to speak to my heart. When I got the call to do “HawthoRNe” with Jada, I appreciated the fact that they were very open to collaboration and building my character. That was a signal to me loud and clear, as a person who cares about what type of message the show was going to deliver, that this was going to be a great opportunity. KW: How would you describe your character, Dr. Miles Bourdet? DL: As a man juggling a number of different responsibilities. He’s a husband, a father, and a

what’sup struggles with sexual abuse and addiction

honoring Michael Jackson in United Kingdom time spent at Harvard Business School • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years





oday in Houston, a child’s zip code determines his educational destiny. Wide disparities in academic achievement exist between the students growing up in River Oaks and those growing up in the Third Ward. Fourth graders in low-income communities are already three grade levels behind their peers in high-income communities. Half of these students won’t graduate from high school. Those who do graduate will read and perform math, on average, at the level of eighth graders in high-income communities. A study recently released by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center confirms these troubling disparities along racial and socioeconomic lines. The study finds that only 28 percent of African-American men and 16 percent of Hispanic men aged 25 to 34 had obtained an associate’s degree or higher while 70 percent of Asian American men and 44 percent of white men had attained that level of education. Limited educational attainment has led to increasing rates of unemployment and incarceration for men of color between the ages of 15 and 24. These shocking educational disparities limit the life prospects of the thousands of Houston children growing up in poverty. As a man of color, I believe erasing these disparities should be our community’s highest priority. I’m daunted by the challenge before us yet confident that all of our students have the potential to achieve at the highest level. When I taught in the Third Ward, I saw my students persevere to overcome all the extra challenges of poverty. As the executive director of Teach For America-Houston, I see the students of our teachers prove that kids can achieve no matter what neighborhood they call home. Our city and the hundreds of dedicated educators across this city have made great strides to close the achievement gap between students growing up in low-income communities and their more affluent peers. But clearly all of us still have much more to do to ensure an equal opportunity for all of our children. Education is the key that opens the doors to opportunity. As a community we must continue to work towards the day that every student in Houston can dream big and know they’ll have the tools to achieve their dreams.

Terry Bruner Executive Director Teach For America-Houston

Budget debate

baffling, bewildering By Julianne Malveaux NNPA Columnist

Taylor Jones,

Creating opportunity through education


Exactly how long have we known that August 2 is the drop-dead date to increase the debt ceiling? If we don’t do it, our nation will precipitate an international crisis by defaulting on debt that dozens of other countries carry and by signaling that the nation that still sees itself as the biggest and the baddest is nothing more than the shallowest and the weakest. Of course we can avert the crisis; there are still days to go before it all implodes. But why step off on the brink of disaster, except to make a point? Why attempt to diminish our nation, except to be so shortsighted as to think that diminishing a President has no impact on the nation. Does the tearful John Boehner (R-OH), that House Speaker who claims to so love his country, plan to ruin it because he simply cannot compromise with Democrats? What in the world is going on? When Senate Minority

Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he could offer a compromise that would allow President Obama to raise the debt ceiling while reducing the deficit, but in separate actions, I felt that the logjam had broken. And as I write this, I understand that the powers are conferring to make it so. While I embrace Senator McConnell’s plan as a way to broker compromise, I am also amused by a plan that will force President Obama to take responsibility for rising debt in the middle of a recession. Who ever asked President George Bush to

take responsibility for his profligate spending? The forces to suppress democracy here in these United States are thriving. In preparation for the 2012 election, there are deliberate acts of voter suppression. Similarly, there have been attacks on the unemployed, the hungry, and those with health challenges. The unfortunate truth is that slashing entitlements and social programs will not fix our nation’s financial challenges. Investing in the next generation will. Haven’t they gotten it yet? Embarrassing President Obama is embarrassing all of us. This debt ceiling budget brinkmanship simply baffles and bewilders the rest of the world and makes us wonder what happened to a once-great nation. We who once dominated the world are now on the verge of default because we can’t get along, can’t forge a compromise, are strangled by the absences of vision, soul and energy. We have a few days to put a band-aid on the problem. How long will it take for us to get to the root of our dysfunction?

nextweekonlineopinions Healthy Minds in a Sick Economy

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Harry C. Alford

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George Curry

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years

10 DEFENDER | WEEK OF JULY 28 | 2011

Michelle Obama joins food initiative First Lady Michelle Obama recently joined leaders from major retailers, foundations and small businesses to announce commitments that will provide access to healthy, affordable food to millions of people in underserved communities. The commitments will include opening or expanding more than 1,500 stores to serve communities that do not have access to fresh produce and

other healthy foods. The stores estimate that they will add thousands of jobs and serve approximately 9.5 million Americans. Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, committed to expanding its food offering to include whole fruits and vegetables, and other healthy options in at least 1,000 stores. Walmart committed to opening or expanding up to 300 stores by 2016. Currently, 23.5 million Americans – including 6.5 million children – live in low-income

areas that lack stores likely to sell affordable and healthy foods. Studies have shown that limited access to healthy food choices can lead to poor diets, higher levels of obesity and other dietrelated diseases. “The commitments we’re announcing today have the potential to be a game-changer for kids and communities all across this country,” said First Lady Obama. “We can give people all the information and advice in the world about healthy eating and exercise, but if parents


Helping MWBEs... Continued from page 7 & Oversight Committee resurfaced to make sure minority businesses had meaningful participation in contracts and workforce participation. That’s where I met one of my mentors, Amaziah “Bill” Howell, now advisor to the current mayor of New York. He showed me the history of minority participation and levels of commitment by various administrations, and how diversifying business opportunities brings great benefits. Defender: How did your New York experiences grow your appreciation for your position? Wright: When I came on immediately after graduating from NYU,

I understood because of my mentorship, this 1989 Supreme Court (Croson v. City of Richmond Va.) ruling outlawing race and genderbased set aside programs had huge implications, and that the previous administration (Giuliani) did nothing about it. The city didn’t even know the actual number of certified companies existing to do business—in a city of 8 million. Before this 1989 ruling Black businesses were thriving during a time when cities had their one and only Black mayors—Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Houston. It was the first time at a local level we had so much impact as a race to ensure T:4.79” that we

were included. There were billion-dollar Black businesses with real capacity. The 1989 ruling changed the whole game— businesses lost capacity, and many closed. Working for the Housing Department and seeing how it developed the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Program was key. In order to participate you had to show your relevance to that community. From that program evolved dozens of minority and women contractors because they had been working in the community. I saw that there were innovative ways to get more participation without set asides; to see those in the community building community.

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These Texas Lottery Commission Scratch-Off games will close on September 28, 2011. You have until March 26, 2012, to redeem any tickets for these games: Game #1307 The Price Is Right® ($5) Overall Odds are 1 in 3.72 Game #1311 Number Safari ($1) Overall Odds are 1 in 4.85 T:3.25”

While there I developed an interest in economic and housing development at the state level, leveraging my communication skills to be assigned to the attorney general’s office as a speech writer. However, I still wasn’t doing the service work desired. While at NYU pursing my masters in public administration, I focused everything on economic development and housing policy. That was my real breakaway from journalism and communications. Defender: What were some of the key experiences during your time in New York? Wright: My first job out of NYU was rezoning downtown Brooklyn, consisting of two very distinct neighborhoods—the very affluent Brooklyn Heights and Ft. Greene, which had public housing, gentrification and numerous unemployed Blacks. That was my introduction to women and minority participation for business contracts. I was able to make a significant economic impact, from contracting to business development. Fighting for minority and women participation in these city contracts had huge implications, with billions of dollars from private investment at stake. From this rezoning effort, the Downtown Brooklyn

can’t buy the food they need to prepare those meals because their only options for groceries are the gas station or the local minimart, then all that is just talk.” Mrs. Obama has been leading a nationwide effort to combat childhood obesity so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. The Let’s Move! Campaign is a comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented initiative to tackle the different factors that lead to childhood obesity.

The odds listed here are the overall odds of winning any prize in a game, including break-even prizes. Lottery retailers are authorized to redeem prizes of up to and including $599. Prizes of $600 or more must be claimed in person at a Lottery Claim Center or by mail with a completed Texas Lottery claim form; however, annuity prizes or prizes over $1,000,000 must be claimed in person at the Commission Headquarters in Austin. Call Customer Service at 1-800-37LOTTO or visit the Lottery Web site at for more information and location of nearest Claim Center. The Texas Lottery is not responsible for lost or stolen tickets, or for tickets lost in the mail. Tickets, transactions, players, and winners are subject to, and players and winners agree to abide by, all applicable laws, Commission rules, regulations, policies, directives, instructions, conditions, procedures, and final decisions of the Executive Director. A Scratch-Off game may continue to be sold even when all the top prizes have been claimed. Must be 18 years of age or older to purchase a Texas Lottery ticket. PLAY RESPONSIBLY. The Texas Lottery Supports Texas Education. © 2011 Texas Lottery Commission. All rights reserved.

            

     


NFL lockout over, let’s play football tary of the way the players union maintained their solidarity and the role that played in achieving an It may be a cliché, but one agreement. has to ask – are you ready for “I know it has been a very some football? After over 130 long process since the day we days of posturing, court appearstood here that night in March,” ances and at times intense negoSmith continued. “But our guys tiations, the stalemate has been stood together when nobody resolved. thought we would. And football is Of course, the NFL owners back because of it” and NFLPA are both Locally, Texan owner claiming a measure of Bob McNair is satisfied victory, but the real with the lockout’s end winners in this entire result. ordeal are the fans of “There were a lot of the NFL game. Why, things we needed adyou might ask? dressed and many of n Salary cap plus benefits of $142.4 million per club in 2011 Because this collecthem did get addressed,” ($120.375 million for salary and bonus) and at least that tively bargained agreeMcNair explained. “We amount in 2012 and 2013. ment (CBA) is good for didn’t get everything we n Beginning in 2012, salary cap to be set based on a com10 years. You could say wanted and the players bined share of “all revenue,” a new model differentiated we sacrificed the 2011 didn’t get everything they by revenue source with no expense reductions. Players will off season for the next wanted. We got enough receive 55 percent of national media revenue, 45 percent 10 seasons of NFL labor modifications in there so of NFL Ventures revenue, and 40 percent of local club peace. revenue. that we have a business n Beginning in 2012, annual “true up” to reflect revenue “This is a long time model that will work for increases or decreases versus projections. coming, and football’s the next 10 years. n Clubs receive credit for actual stadium investment and back,” NFL CommisIt’s set up so that up to 1.5 percent of revenue each year. sioner Roger Goodell there’s incentive for us n Player share must average at least 47 percent for the said, “and that’s the to go ahead and invest in 10-year term of the agreement. great news for everythe teams, invest in the n League-wide commitment to cash spending of 99 perbody. stadiums and those are the cent of the cap in 2011 and 2012. “This agreement things we have to do to n For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 is going to make our keep an attractive game seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spendgame better. Having a for our fans. They want to ing of at least 95 percent of the cap. 10-year agreement is • Each club committed to cash spending of 89 percent of be in a nice environment; extraordinarily great the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020. they need nice facilities, n Increases to minimum salaries of 10 percent in year one for our game and most nice venues in order to do with continuing increases each year of the agreement. importantly for our fans. that.” By Max Edison Defender

We’re grateful for all the work that both parties did.” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was equally pleased that an agreement was reached. “We didn’t get everything that either side wanted ... but we did arrive at a deal that we think is fair and balanced,” Smith said. Smith was very complimen-

Key economic elements of new NFL labor agreement



sportsbriefs PV’s Ellis earns honor as SWAC defensive standout Prairie View A&M senior defensive back Moses Ellis was recently named the SWAC’s preseason Defensive Player of the year. Ellis’ (Fort Worth, Texas/ Everman) selection marks the second straight year the Panthers had an individual named the league’s top player as former quarterback K.J. Black earned the offensive honor in 2010. Last season, Ellis led the nation (FCS) with eight interceptions and broke up 14 passes with two fumble recoveries. Other Panthers recognized as Preseason All-Conference performers are: first team offensive lineman James Dekle (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard). Dekle is a three-year All-SWAC starter and performer at guard and will be looked upon to anchor the offensive line as the Panthers break in a new offense this fall. Earning second team honors were senior offensive lineman Tim Tusey (Houston/Booker T. Washington), senior defensive end Adrian Hamilton (Dallas/ Carter) and sophomore linebacker Marcus White (Houston/Jones).

TSU acknowledged in preseason with SWAC selections The Defending SWAC Champion Texas Southern Tigers have seven players selected for the 2011 preseason All-SWAC team. Running backs Marcus Wright and Martin Gilbert were TSU’s first-team offensive selections. Wright rushed for 1212 yards and eight touchdowns as the SWAC’s second leading rusher. Gilbert carried the ball 107 times for 529 yards and eight touchdowns. Defensive end Marquis Jackson and defensive back Zack Gallow were the defensive firs- team selections. Jackson was 17th in the nation in tackles for loss (18-98 yards) and 51st in the nation in sacks (8-66 yards). Gallow led the team with five interceptions for 63 yards and 10 pass breakups. Wide receiver Joe Anderson, tight end Kirk Fitzhugh and defensive tackle Jonathan Hollins were named to the preseason All-SWAC second team.

Our H.S. Zone Editor Darrell K. Ardison is on vacation • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years



For Event Coverage...visit


NOTHING BUT BLUES…….The Ensemble Theatre Sylvia Ballard, and Henri Ann Turner. Great play!.......... was packed for the last performance of the play, “Blues RETIRING, AGAIN…….Joyce Bethany’s friends recently in the Night.” It was infused with colorful characters and celebrated her latest retirement party. This workaholic retired classic blues that kept you entertained from the City of Houston, principal of with the storytelling that only the blues, a charter school and now Nationwide Join Yvette Chargois the medicine of the soul, can heal. The Insurance. Those joining her for the Events of the Week evening was hosted by the United last retirement celebration included More photos on Way of Houston Women’s Initiative Ramsi Taylor, Audrey Jenkins, Yvonne See Events on KTRK Ch.13’s Crossroads and sponsored by the generosity of and Ron Newman, Peggy Ingram, with Melanie Lawson Sunday Morning @ 11 a.m. CenterPoint Energy. Included in the mix Dolores Rodgers, Linda Brown, and enjoying the afternoon were Sharon Lashaundra Lewis, Lowis Canton, Owens, Janes Jones, Paul and Patriece Martha and Jimmy Branch and Julius Brice, Ray and Shawn Holloway, Phyllis and Leonard and Cheryl White, to name a few. Relax and enjoy!......... Bailey, Ron and Sherry Robertson, Carolyn Oliver, Brenda CONDOLENCES……..Our prayers are with the family of Stewart, Sandra Dodd, Irene and Mitch Allen, Cassandra Booker T. Caldwell who recently celebrated his homegoing. McZeal, Sheila Moore, Michael Ballard, Pat Ewing, Think of it this way, Mr. Caldwell has a new position. He’s

Carolyn Oliver, Brenda Stewart and Sandra Dodd

Debbie Span-Bailey, Danielle Bailey and Wendy Johnson

Dolores Rodgers, Audrey Jenkins, Linda Brown and Peggy Ingram

Janes Jones and Sharon Owens

Mitch and Irene Allen

Ramsi Taylor and Joyce Bethany

now your guardian angel appointed by God to look after you. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His spirit in your inner being. God Bless!.......KUDOS…..Eileen Morris, Ensemble Theatre artistic director, will be honored at the National Black Theatre Festival to be held in Winston Salem, N.C., in August. Also, The Ensemble Theatre will participate in the festival with a performance from its 2010-2011 season, “The Waiting Room” by Samm-Art Williams and directed by Eileen. Congrats!…… HAPPY ANNIVERSARY…..For the past 23 years, Ms. Chag has chronicled Houston’s Black social and professional lifestyles, capturing positive images of our existence and keeping you informed in “Chag’s Place.” It has been my pleasure to attend your events, so keep the invitations coming. Love you all!........From Chag’s Place to your place, have a blessed week!

Ron and Sherry Robertson

Paul and Patriece Brice

Yvonne and Rod Newman • Serving the Houston area for over 80 years

Houston Defender: July 28, 2011  

Houston's Leading Black Information Source

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