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hymns in a Baptist church, holding my partner’s hand as we walk down the beach or playing ball with my nephew, casting a ballot, or reading a good book. For me, the freedom to choose my own destiny means the freedom to explore new ideas without fear of reprisal or retribution and to use those ideas to build my life. As Congresswoman Jordan so eloquently put it, that is what our revolutions were about. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Why are you proud to be an American? JUDGE STEVEN KIRKLAND: If you listen to the talking heads on TV, you’d find it hard to believe, but America is a place where people come together and work hard to solve problems together. I’ve been part of many successful community driven solutions, from the housing organization I founded in 1991 and watched build more than 350 units of affordable housing in Houston’s inner city, to the City’s Homeless Court which has graduated more than 1000 folks. I am proud of the successes, I am even more proud that this son of a truckdriver was able to work with such a diverse community to make these things happen.

INTERVIEW: HD-126 State Representative Patricia Harless discusses Freedom and Why she's Proud to be an American AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What does freedom mean to you? STATE REP. PATRICIA HARLESS: Freedom is a gift I have been given by the men and women that gave their lives serving our country. Their gift has given me the ability to worship in public, speak my mind (even though it may not be what is popular or wanted), to work, raise a family, get an education, start a business, and to be as rich or as poor as I want. Freedom also means I have a responsibility to participate in government to ensure that my freedom is passed on to my kids and grandkids. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Why are you proud to be an American? STATE REP. PATRICIA HARLESS: I am proud to be an American because America is a country of people that under-

stand "to whom much is given, much is required". We have everyday citizens that give their time, talent and treasures to help others, not because they are required to by the government, but because they choose to. We are a country founded, though at time it seems weak, on faith in God and the Bible. We give, help, and sacrifice for others. It is just the American way. Every time I see a disaster in some part of the United States, though my heart grieves for the loss, it also rejoices when I see complete strangers standing shoulder to shoulder to help those in need. You don't see that in other countries, unless it is Americans that are there helping.

INTERVIEW: Farrah Martinez is the Democratic Candidate running for District Judge, 190th District Court in Harris County AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What does freedom mean to you? FARRAH MARTINEZ: Freedom is living without restraint or hindrance from others. It is the right we have in this great country to make choices for ourselves and for our family. Freedom reminds me of the sacrificial work that other people do to keep me free; freedom keeps me humble and allows me to appreciate the immeasurable gift that is invaluable and it reminds me of how expensive of a gift it truly is. Freedom reminds me to cherish life and not to take this life we have here in American for 17

ONE AMERICA "Leaders Celebrating Freedom Together Series" in Houston Business Connections Magazine  

Our ONE AMERICA "Leaders Celebrating Freedom Together" series is currently underway inside Houston Business Connections Magazine, published...

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