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Vol. 56 No. 8 | $1.00

Black History Special Edition | February 17 - 23, 2016

By Chelsea Lenora White

There was a sense of euphoria, hope and pride in every Black household on November 4, 2008. Hugs, high fives and tears of joy flowed through the community as Senator Barack Obama of Illinois became the 44th president, and the first African American to be elected to that office. President Obama’s victory was overwhelming (two to one in the Electoral College) and more than seven million votes over his Republican challenger. From the very beginning of his term, President Obama has faced circumstances and challenges that no other president has had to endure in the history of these United States. In the midst of those challenges and obstacles, our President has not only persevered; he has prospered. Since his tenure, the President has strengthened the economy by adding 13.7 million new jobs over a 69-month streak of job growth; established the Affordable Care Act, which has granted 17.6 million people and climbing the access to health care coverage; improved U.S.-Cuba relations; struck a landmark nuclear deal with Iran; and we would be remiss not to mention that gas prices, which are under two dollars per gallon are reminiscent of the “good ol’ days”. When considering President Barack Obama’s many successes, it is clear that he will be remembered as the President who elevated his initial slogan from “Yes, We Can” to “Yes, We Did”. President Obama is arguably, the most progressive president in American history. To combat the negative discourse in the media, the Houston Forward Times found it both necessary and imperative that we celebrate President Obama’s professional achievements and global impact during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States of America; because when it comes to moving America forward – YES, HE DID!

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Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


• Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee greets President Obama after his arrival on Air Force One at Ellington Field.

• • •

support their families, and turn their lives around. President Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management to take action where it can to “ban the box” by modifying its rules to delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process and called on Congress to enact legislation “banning the box” on job applications in the private sector. President Obama increased the use of body-worn cameras through $20 million in grants to state and local law enforcement. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and daughter, President Obama issued an Erica Lee Carter with President and Michelle Obama Executive Order to increase the capacity of VA mental-health programs by hiring 1,600 more mental-health professionals and expanding the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line President Obama provided nearly $60 billion in benefit payments under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to over 1.5 million individuals and relaxed the evidence requirements for veterans seeking disability pay for post-traumatic stress disorder with the Department of Veterans Affairs. President Obama acted to reduce gun violence by issuing executive orders requiring background checks for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust or corporation and an overhaul of the background check system to make it more efficient and effective. President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act passed by the Democratic Congress which has provided access to quality, affordable health insurance to nearly 20 million previously uninsured Americans. President Obama launched the “My Brother’s Keeper” (MBK) initiative in 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. In October 2009, Congress passed and the President signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, historic legislation extending coverage of federal hatecrime law to include attacks based on the victim’s race, religion, nationality, or actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Established new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy for young undocumented people who came to the U.S. as children in an effort to better focus enforcement resources. Expanded opportunity for America’s children by strengthening Head Start. Made college more affordable by increasing Pell grants, keeping interest rates on student loans low, and helping students manageably repay their loans Signed the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which made historic investments in improved child nutrition and health for the 31 million children who rely on school meals and updated science-based school meal standards to increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, while reducing fats and sodium. • In December 2010, the Congress passed and President signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 into law, allowing gay men and women to serve openly and with integrity in the U.S. military.

• By: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee • Special to the Forward Times from the desk of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, 18th District Texas The morning of January 20, 2009 was one of the coldest days on record in Washington, DC. • But this was nothing compared to the chill wind blowing through the American economy and body politic. The nation was facing economic challenges unseen since the Great Depression: Americans were losing their jobs at a frightening rate of 800,000 per month; the national unemployment rate had risen to 7.8 percent and would continue to climb until reaching its peak of 10.0 percent in October 2009. For African Americans, the numbers were much grimmer, a jobless rate of 13.5 percent in January 2009 which would grow to 16.5 percent by the end of the year. And on top of this, tens of thousands of American families each month were losing their health insurance and their homes to foreclosure. The United States was still bogged down in the quagmire that was the Iraq President Obama also War and young people by the thousands were being forced to made history by appointing two defer or drop out of college because of lack of financial aid. And women to the U.S. Supreme the average price of gas exceeded $4 per gallon. Court, including the first It was against this backdrop that I watched from the inaugural Hispanic American to serve platform as Barack Obama, surrounded by his radiant and on the Court. He appointed the beautiful wife, Michelle, and their two adorable daughters, rose first African American man and to take the oath of office. After being sworn in as the nation’s woman to serve as Attorney 44th President of the United States, President Obama reassured General and the first woman an anxious but hopeful nation, saying: to Chair the Federal Reserve “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They Board. are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in In the area of foreign a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.” affairs and national security, Watching Barack Obama address the nation that day, President Obama ended the spectators in attendance and viewers across the country and Iraq War, assembled and led around the world understood they were witnessing a historic an international coalition to president, the first African American ever to hold the nation’s impose sanctions so crippling highest office. on Iran that it was forced to the But more than being a historic president, Barack Obama’s A little fun afte President Obama signs Fair Sentencing Act. negotiating table that yielded actions and leadership over the ensuing seven years would the Iran Nuclear Agreement that prevents Iran from ever attaining a nuclear weapon. And of demonstrate his would be a consequential presidency that changed America for the better. His first and most pressing task was to rescue an economy on the brink of collapse. Working course, as the world knows, because of President Obama’s leadership, General Motors is alive and with the Democratic-controlled Congress, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was Osama Bin Laden is dead. For seven years, President Barack Obama has represented our country with grace, integrity, passed, which created 3.7 million jobs and saved the jobs of millions of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and social service providers. The Recovery Act also cut taxes for working honor, and distinction. He has provided consolation, hope, and healing in the face of unspeakable families, extended unemployment insurance, and expanded the Earned Income and Child Credit tragedies such as the massacre of innocent children at Sandy Hook, worshippers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, spectators at the Boston Marathon, and mass shootings in Aurora, Tax Credits, which disproportionately benefit African American families. Seven years later the verdict is in on economic plan put in place by President Obama and the Colorado and Tuscon, Arizona. He expressed and symbolized our joy and pride in the progress Democratic Congress. The Recovery Act ended the Great Recession, transformed the economy made over the last half century – and the distance we still have to travel – when he marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from one hemorrhaging jobs to one that has created over 16 and addressed the multitude million new jobs over a record 71 consecutive months. The from the spot on the steps national unemployment rate has dipped under 5% for the first where the Rev. Martin Luther time since President Clinton left office, the deficit has been cut King, Jr. shared his dream for by 71%, and the Dow Jones stock market index topped 18,000 in America’s future. 2015, an increase of 177% over where it stood the day President So as President Obama Obama took office. serves the final year of his And, as an added benefit, the average price of gasoline has presidency, it is clear beyond been reduced from more than $4.11 per gallon to $1.80, the doubt that he kept the promise lowest price since before the tragedy of September 11. he made to the nation seven The Seven Years of Obama also effected policy change years ago on that cold day in in the areas of criminal justice reform, health and education, January when he said: national security, and foreign affairs. A partial listing of these “Today I say to you achievements includes the following: that the challenges we face • The Fair Sentencing Act signed in August 2010, which are real. . . .  But know this reduces the disparity in the amounts of powder cocaine America: They will be met.” and crack cocaine required for the imposition of mandatory They were more than minimum sentences and eliminates the mandatory minimum just met; they were overcome sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine. under his leadership. And • In July 2015, President Obama became the first president because of President Barack ever to tour a federal prison when he visited the El Reno Obama, today the United Federal Correctional Institution outside of Oklahoma City. States is stronger, more • President Obama launched the Smart on Crime initiative prosperous, and better through which the Department of Justice modified its charging policies certain federal low-level drug-related offenses, improved diversion and re- positioned than ever to win the future. And that is what makes his one of the most consequential presidencies in American history. entry policies, and strengthened protections for the most vulnerable. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat representing Houston in the U.S. House of Representatives, • Established Smart on Juvenile Justice grant program to expand the use of effective communitybased alternatives to youth detention and launched the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program is a senior member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and the Judiciary. She is the for Incarcerated Individuals to test new models to allow incarcerated Americans to receive Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Pell Grants and pursue the postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs, Investigations.

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016

The Final Kick

By: Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

Unashamedly, I am a fan of most sporting events. I find competitive tests of strength and skill compelling. Most fans focus on events which hold the greatest popularity. Football, basketball, soccer, and baseball all get fan and media attention. I enjoy those, but find Track and Field uniquely impressive. There’s purity of effort in events that test skills unencumbered with devices (i.e., balls, bats, hoops, goal posts), time limits or referees that interrupt the flow of action. Events may be as short as 9.58 seconds for the 100 meters or a marathon longer than two hours. Runners have no “breathers” and require full dedication, focus, determination, and endurance during their race. They finish with all of the strength they can muster - applying it to “THE FINAL KICK.” Watching President Obama deliver his final State of the Union Address, I envisioned the analogy between his Presidency and the distance runner’s challenges. He started his race in 2009 with an intent to win for America. The goals of his final SOTU show that he plans to run without


slowing down for the duration of his term. I’ve written much of this before, but, President Obama’s detractors muddy the waters so much, his supporters must respond to balance the public discourse. In his first term, President Obama: • Signed The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act • Orchestrated passage of Health Care Reform resulting in fewer Americans without health insurance than ever before • Orchestrated passage of The Stimulus Package leading to 70 consecutive months of employment growth - longest in the nation’s history • Ended the War in Iraq • Killed Osama Bin Laden • Turned around the Auto Industry leading to 2015 as the best sales year in history • Increased support for Veterans health issues and increased tuition assistance programs And, these were a fraction of his first term accomplishments. In a more ambitious second term, President Obama has: • Negotiated a deal with Iran preventing development of nuclear weapons • Overseen a two-thirds reduction in the Budget Deficit from 9.8% GDP to 2.9% in 2014 • Re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba • Ordered Federal contractors to pay workers a minimum of $10.10 per hour • Negotiated a 200 country deal to reverse global warming And though 3/4ths of his second term is complete, President Obama concedes nothing and refuses to “coast to the finish line.” In the SOTU, President Obama outlined his “Kick to the Finish.” He remains dedicated to leveling the playing field for all Americans. He’s committed to: • Criminal justice reform • The elimination of prescription drug abuse • Growing an economy that affords greater promise to all citizens • Development and use of clean energy sources • Modern transportation systems construction • Greater educational opportunities, including making college more affordable • Major research initiatives to eliminate cancer • Rededicating resources for Homeland security/protection and defeat of terrorists • Reformation of the political process including expanded voting opportunities We have benefitted from seven years of enlightened leadership. It’s been leadership of diplomacy rather than conflict. It’s been a focus on universal opportunity and earned, merit-based privilege. I hold faith with the President that unless we all - politician and citizen alike - embrace the idea that we are ill-served by special interests that restrict the full potential and development of us all, our nation cannot realize its full potential. As the President described the State of our Union, I visualized him as the runner moving ever more closely to his own personal finish line. Although he nears the end of his Presidency, he runs in full stride. The race is far from over and I’ve made the commitment to join that race for however long it takes to achieve the goals of justice, equality and “a more perfect union.” For success, we must finish with that strong, Final Kick. (Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women. www. / 202.678.6788)

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016



President Barack Obama will go down in history, as arguably one of the most successful presidents in the history of the United States. What he has been able to accomplish over his nearly eight years in office is remarkable – especially when you consider the level of obstructionism and racism he has had to endure. It is no secret that his Republican counterparts have sought to fight President Obama since the day he was sworn in to office. As a matter of fact, they wanted to make things so difficult for him, that they concocted a strategy and a plan to ensure that he would not make it past his first term. Don’t believe me? Well let me provide you with a little bit of proof. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” This was the bold statement made by U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell on October 23, 2010, prior to the midterm elections, in an interview with the National Journal. Senator McConnell practically informed the world that he and his Republican colleagues had no sincere intentions or desire to work with President Obama to deal with the issues that America was faced with. Senator McConnell let us know that their only focus was seeking to make this newly-elected African American president, a one-term president. It was shameful. Going even further, author Robert Draper released a jawdropping book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives,” where he claims that the Republicans anti-Obama campaign began on the night of his inauguration. Talk about cold-blooded. As President Obama was smiling, waving and dancing with First Lady Michelle Obama at the numerous inauguration balls he had to attend, Draper asserts that top Republican lawmakers and political strategists held a secret meeting where they plotted and devised an elaborate scheme to bring the president down, and make things so difficult for him that the American people would never re-elect him for a second-term. According to Draper’s book, a little over 15 of those lawmakers and strategists met up at a swanky, high-end establishment called the Caucus Room for several hours where they kicked around ways to not only take the White House back,

but also win back political power in the House and Senate. One of the biggest items on their agenda, however, was developing a strategy to do everything in their power to collectively obstruct every single one of President Obama’s legislative agenda items on his platform. In spite of these deliberate and concocted acts of obstructionism, President Obama never wavered. In his first-term as President of the United States, President Obama accomplished a great deal. While having a Democrat-controlled House and Senate during the first two years of his presidency, President Obama was able to sign several pieces of legislation into law and make many executive decisions that have helped move this country forward. In 2009, President Obama: • Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, which prohibits credit card companies from raising rates without advance notification, and also mandates a grace period on interest rate increases, as well as places strict limits on overdrafts and other fees • Signed the Claims Resolution Act in 2009, which provided $4.6 billion in funding for a legal settlement with African American farmers who the government had been found to have cheated out of loans and natural resource royalties for years • Made the decision to inject $62 billion in federal money into two of the three Detroit automakers, which helped stabilize the American automotive industry and helped save and create new jobs • Signed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which was designed to strengthen the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program and provide coverage to significant numbers of uninsured children and to improve the quality of care they receive In 2010, President Obama: • Signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the sentencing disparity between crack-cocaine versus powder cocaine possession from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1 – a disparity that has disproportionately impacted African Americans in this country for decades • Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law in order to re-regulate the financial


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sector after they caused the catastrophic financial crisis Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, which prevents insurance companies from denying anyone insurance because they have a pre-existing condition; allows children to remain covered by their parents’ insurance until the age of 26; and requires health insurance plans to disclose how much of the premium actually goes to patient care Signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or as we affectionately call it, Obamacare, into law, which now allows over 32 million uninsured Americans to get health coverage

• In 2011, President Obama: • Had known terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden, captured and killed by U.S. Special Forces • Ordered all U.S. military forces out of Iraq, where the last troops left in December 2011 • Signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it • Released new fuel standards to increase fuel efficiency for all new cars and trucks sold in the U.S., which will cover cars and light trucks through 2025, and will save consumers money, reduce our dependence on oil, and protect the environment All of this was done during President Obama’s first-term. There are so many other outstanding things that President Obama has done, that it would require more space on the page and more time to discuss. Oh, and don’t forget that President Obama managed to get re-elected a second time, in spite of the elaborate schemes and deliberate attempts by his many detractors, who were hell-bent on destroying his astonishing legacy before it truly even began. I just want to say congratulations to President Obama, who I believe will go down in the history books as the most successful and impactful president America has ever elected. And guess what? His legacy will become stronger and increasingly more relevant as time passes on. Not bad for a guy who had an obstructionist group of legislators in the House and Senate, along with other external forces, wanting to make him a one-term president, huh?

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


By: Leanna Commins Howard University News Service

First Lady Michelle Obama said Monday the contributions of African Americans to the United States are far too many and important to be celebrated for only a month, and instead should be studied and commemorated by the nation throughout the year. “Let’s celebrate it for every single day of every single year―forever and ever,” Obama told spectators during a special Black History Month program at the White House. “We have contributed so much to this nation and this planet. “We have to make sure our young people understand where they come from and how valuable they are and how valuable that history is so that they know they have a solid foundation upon which to soar.” Obama’s comments were made after 51 young Washington students performed at a day-long dance workshop held in the White House in honor of Black History Month. The students performed

special dances signifying the history of Black dance after being trained and choreographed for three hours by four of the nation’s top dancers--Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Judith Jamison, dancer, choreographer; “Different World” television director Debbie Allen; the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Virginia Johnson and hip-hop choreographer Fatima Robinson.The girls performed a variety of genres, including African tribal, modern, classical ballet and hip-hop. Obama called the students the “living legacy” of the choreographers who trained them. “Your presence here today is very much the result of the risks they took, because of the sacrifices they made and the grinding hard work they put in hour after hour, year after year, rehearsing until their body ached and their lungs burned and they never wanted to put on that leotard again,” she said. “For nearly 50 years, the women who are gracing us with their presence here today have been a driving force in the cultural life of this nation. From tribal dance, to freedom songs, to modern dance, to hip-hop, their work has stirred our souls and ignited our imagination.” Obama also discussed the hardships Black dancers have faced in the past. “It wasn’t that long ago that many major dance companies wouldn’t hire Black dancers,” she said. “The few dancers who were hired were sometimes asked to wear white pancake makeup to hide their face from the audience. Some of the women who are with us today felt the sting of that discrimination first hand.” As she wrapped up the event, Obama congratulated the young dancers on their performances. “What you all just did today―showing up at the White House, learning from dancing legends, and then coming out in front of the media and performing like that,” she said. “There is absolutely nothing you all cannot do.” T:8.6”

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Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


By: TaShon D. Thomas Contributing Writer With less than a year left in his tenure, President Barack Obama now has to begin to examine his legacy. The best part about being elected at such a young age, President Obama will have many years to ensure the tide of history is positive towards his presidency. Starting January 21, 2017, Citizen Obama will be inundated with offers to write several books about his time in office, speak on different lecture circuits and even campaign for other like-minded candidates. My hope and desire is for Citizen Obama to return to the classroom and educate the minds of America’s young adults. Specifically, he should look towards joining the faculty and staff at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). My favorite episode of the Cosby Show is entitled Hillman. It showcases the traditions of the fictional alma mater of the Huxtable family, Hillman College, as it inaugurates a new College President. Ask anyone who has attended an HBCU about their experiences and the terms pride, sense of community, determination, and pushing through adversity are common themes. When exploring his legacy, Citizen Obama should look towards these themes as ways to impact the American and global landscape. Only a Texas Southern University could have produced a Barbara Jordan or a Mickey Leland. Only a Morehouse College could have produced a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Spike Lee. Only a Spelman College could have produced a Marian Wright Edelman or an Alice Walker. Only a Howard University could have produced a Thurgood Marshall or a Zora Neale Hurston. Each HBCU has provided opportunities to people of color who have been kept out of ivory towers of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. These opportunities have only come about because HBCUs have hired professors, such as a Citizen Obama, who have broken down barriers and have the knowledge and experience to produce better community oriented African Americans. Many of his platforms and reforms, such as the My Brother’s Keeper Program, will only be amplified once Citizen Obama is in the classroom of an HBCU. Can you imagine walking into your classroom and the former President is forcing you to understand criminal justice reform? Can you image getting into a spirited debate about the impacts of education on our community? Can you imagine the new leaders who will be ready to tackle the problems of tomorrow because they received an outstanding education from someone who has been through the fire and survived? This is the legacy President Obama should be looking towards, educating the minds of future leaders of people of color. While he will receive many outstanding offers, he should look past the money and focus on shaping the minds of tomorrow. During the Hillman episode of the Cosby Show, the incoming President Dr. Barbara Bracey made an astounding proclamation, which helped to shape my mind towards attending an HBCU. Dr. Bracey mentioned the different opportunities she was offered but decided to choose to lead Hillman College “simply, because it is Hillman!” President Obama should choose to teach at an HBCU, simply, because it is an HBCU. His legacy will be stronger and his reach will be greater because it is an HBCU. Just in case he does begin to look at an HBCU to serve as a springboard for change, I understand the Presidency of Texas Southern University is now available. #ijs


By: Pastor E. A. Deckard President Barack Obama represents the ultimate dreamer and the 21st century model of the unlimited possibilities of a faithful dreamer in America. Today, across America, because a Black man rules the most powerful nation in the world, a new generation of dreamers are dreaming under an unlimited sky of possibilities. There was a time no one could have imagined an African American in the White House but today, there is a new reality to consider; and that is, children under the age of eight have never lived in an America that did not have a Black President. Before President Barack Obama was sworn in as president on January 20th, 2009, the dreams of the boys in the hood were often limited to sports, entertainment, and illegal activities―but President Barack Obama changed the game forever. President Obama’s life story represents the audacity of hope to every little boy and girl in every hood across America. I would have thought that if America would have ever had SUMMONS IN A CIVIL ACTION the courage to elect a Black man into office as President of the Action No. United States it would have been someone like Colin Powell, a Civil 2:15-cv-01880-DKD Black man that White America could closely relate to. I could IN THE UNITED STATES have seen Colin Powell with his patriotic military background DISTRICT COURT being approved by enough White Americans to have a fighting FOR THE DISTRICT OF chance but I would have never imagined America having the guts ARIZONA to elect a Black man who has actually experienced the trials and FELIX ZIOBERG, a married man, KAREFREE HORIZONA, tribulations of being Black in America. INC., an Arizona corporation, President Barack Obama has impressed me for many different Plaintiffs, reasons, but the biggest impact President Obama has had on me v. is the fact that he became an excuse eliminator. President Barack DUENAS AND SONS, a Texas Obama could have easily ended up in prison, another victim of corporation; JOSE A CRESPO and JANE DOE mass incarceration, because his early years are more reflective of HERNANDEZ HERNANDEZ, husband and the “Pookies” in America than the “Presidents” in America; but wife; JOHN and JANE DOES President Obama, the excuse eliminator, had the audacity of hope I-X; BLACK and WHITE to overcome his dysfunctional beginning and become the most PARTNERSHIPS I-X; ABC CORPORATIONS I-X, CORPOR powerful man in America. President Obama lived with his grandparents in Hawaii. His Defendants. JOSE A CRESPO father Barack Sr. who had moved back to Kenya only came back TO: HERNANDEZ to Hawaii once to visit him when he was around ten years old and A lawsuit has been filed against Obama Sr. would eventually die in an automobile accident while you. President Obama was only twenty-one years old. As a Pastor and Within 21 days after service of Community Activist, most of the men and young men I encounter this summons on you (not counting the day you received with this same negative father-son connection end up spending a it) – or 60 days if you are the great deal of their life in pain and resentment and have difficulties United States or a United maintaining healthy relationships; but President Barack Obama, States agency, or an officer or the excuse eliminator, has not only taken over the White House employee of the United States but he has displayed Black Love and Healthy Family Life for described in Fed. R. Civ. P. all the world to see. When America witnesses the Obamas in the 12(a)(2) or (3) - you must serve on the Plaintiff an answer to the White House, they are forced to rethink everything they have been attached complaint or a motion told about the Black family. under Rule 12 of the Federal To the people that say President Barack Obama did not do Rules of Civil Procedure. The enough for Black people, you are sadly mistaken. President answer or motion must be Obama is the Moses of the 21st century because he released the served on the plaintiffs or attorney, whose name audacity of hope and made all impossibilities possible. President plaintiff's and address are: Obama, the excuse eliminator, has made it possible for every little Matthew L. McClellan boy and girl of color born in America to have hope that they can The McClellan Law Firm, become whatever they have the audacity of hope to dream for. P.L.C. Tools for Schools is bidding on project number15-11-06 for Houston ISD. We are looking for possible M/WBE suppliers to provide the following: Ethnic Food co-packers and manufacturers. If you are interested please contact our office at 760-448-8248 and speak with Tracy Kompaniez

Houston First Corporation requests SOQs from urban design firms, landscape architects or architects capable of creating an inspired, multi-disciplinary approach to the beautification of the U.S. 59 / I-69 Downtown corridor. RFQ documents are available online at Questions should be submitted by e-mail to

361 E. Coronado Road, Suite 101 Phoenix, AZ 85004 If you fail to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint. You also must file your answer or motion with the court. DATE: 3:16 pm, Sep 21, 2015 CLERK OF COURT COU By /s/Brian D. Karth, Clerk Signature of Clerk Deputy Clerk A copy of the Summons, Complaint and Corporate Disclosure may be obtained by contacting Plaintiff's attorney specified above.

8830 Curry Rd. – [.1866 acre tract, more or less, out of the J.T. Harrell Survey, Abstract Number 329, of Harris County, Texas and being more particularly described by metes and bounds in instrument recorded under Clerk’s File Number M111471 of the Real Property Records of Harris County, Texas. Also known as Tract 28A] - An order was issued requiring the owner/lien holder to obtain a permit, secure the property from unauthorized entry, and complete repairs or demolition of this structure within Sixty (60) days in accordance with Dangerous Building Requirements of Chapter 10 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances from the day of this order. The owner shall pay a civil penalty in the amount of $2,550.00 for ordinance violations. 2919 Nagle St. – [The West 57 feet of Lot Five (5), in Block Six (6) of the Wilson Subdivision of the Easterly half of Ten Acre Lot 23 of J. S. Holman Survey, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 1, Page 131 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas. Being more particularly described in instrument recorded under Clerk’s File Number G-044958 of the Real Property Records in Harris County, Texas.] - Reset 5118 Castle Creek Ln. – [Lot Twenty-four (24), in Block Three (3) of Ridgemont, Section One (1), an addition in Fort Bend County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 6, Page 14 of the Plat Records of Fort Bend County, Texas.]- An order was issued requiring the owner/lien holder to obtain a permit, secure the property from unauthorized entry, and complete repairs or demolition of this structure within Ninety (90) days in accordance with Dangerous Building Requirements of Chapter 10 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances from the day of this order. 7117 Saint Louis St. - [Lot Five (5), in Block One (1) of Homestead Addition, Section Two (2), an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 25, Page 69 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.]- An order was issued requiring the owner/lien holder to obtain a permit, and complete repairs or demolition of this structure within Thirty (30) days in accordance with Dangerous Building Requirements of Chapter 10 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances from the day of this order. The owner shall pay a civil penalty in the amount of $1,700.00 for ordinance violations. 2510 Mills St. AKA 2516 - [The East 17 feet of the West 36 feet of Lot Three (3) and the East 17 feet of the West 36 feet of the North ½ of Lot Two (2), in Block Six (6) of Parker Smith Addition, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume “Y”, Page 339 of the Deed Records of Harris County, Texas.] - An order was issued requiring the owner/lien holder to obtain a permit, to secure the structure in accordance to the Building Official’s specifications, and complete repairs or demolition of this structure within Forty-Five (45) days in accordance with Dangerous Building Requirements of Chapter 10 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances from the day of this order. The owner shall pay a civil penalty in the amount of $1,700.00 for ordinance violations. 9009 Pagewood Ln. –Mobile Home- [The West 1/2 of Lot Ninety-five (95), in Block Eleven (11) of Harlem Heights Subdivision, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 32, Page 46 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.]- An order was issued requiring the owner/lien holder to obtain a permit, and complete repairs or demolition of this structure within Forty-five (45) days in accordance with Dangerous Building Requirements of Chapter 10 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances from the day of this order. 68 Lakeview – [Lot 68, in Block 3 of Walden Woods, an unrecorded subdivision in Harris County, Texas according to the generally recognized plat thereof.]- - An order was issued requiring the owner/lien holder to obtain a permit, to secure the structure in accordance to the Building Official’s specifications, and complete repairs or demolition of this structure within Forty-Five (45) days in accordance with Dangerous Building Requirements of Chapter 10 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances from the day of this order. The owner shall pay a civil penalty in the amount of $3,400.00 for ordinance violations. 2408 Persimmon St. Bldg. #1 – [Lots Thirteen (13) and Fourteen (14) in Eastman Place, an unrecorded subdivision in Harris County, Texas and being more particularly described by metes and bounds in instrument recorded in Volume 8294, Page 9 of the Deed Records of Harris County.]- An order was issued requiring the owner/lien holder to obtain a permit, secure the property from unauthorized entry, and complete repairs or demolition of this structure within Sixty (60) days in accordance with Dangerous Building Requirements of Chapter 10 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances from the day of this order.

3923 Aledo St. - Bldg #2 - [Lot 18, in Block I of Sunnyside Courts A - P, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 23, Page 35 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.] 6605 Avenue O. - Bldg #2 - Detached Garage - [Lots “C”, “D” and “E”, in Block One Hundred Forty-five (145) of Central Park, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 5, Page 23 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.] 3438 Nathaniel Brown St. - Detached Garage - [Lot Ten (10), in Block Eighty-five (85) of South Union, Section One (1), an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 29, Page 70 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.] 317 Telephone Rd - Bldg #2 - [Lot Sixteen (16), in Block Thirty-three (33) of Eastwood, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 4, Page 42 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.] 310 Loper Av. - [Lot Thirty-two (32), in Block Thirty-five (35) of Oak Meadows Addition, Section Two (2), an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 38, Page 65 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.] 410 E 31st St. - [Lots 7 and 8, in Block 46 of Independence Heights Annex, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 3, Page 48 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.] 3235 Bremond St. - Duplex - [Lot 9, in Block 11 of William A. Wilson Addition, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 2, Page 2 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.] 4307 Noble St. - [Lot 13, in Block 7 of Weisenbergers Lucky Seven, an addition in Harris County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 22, Page 4 of the Map Records of Harris County, Texas.]

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016

Looking for the next Hero By: Mayor Sylvester Turner

When I was growing up, we had our heroes—people like Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy. We had them in the flesh. We needed them. We could see them and hear them speak their stirring words. “I have a dream.” “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” As a child, I read about historical figures like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman but they were in the distant past. King was alive and talking, it seemed, directly to me. I wanted to live the dream he spoke of; I wanted to be part of the movement he helped inspire. And so we hung his picture on the wall of my home and I grew up with King as one of my role models. I worked hard to get an education. I continued to live in my community. I devoted

my life to public service. If not for him, I may not have become Mayor of the fourth-largest city in America. I honor the inspiration he gave me and thousands of other men and women of my generation. But that was my generation. And even though we rightly pay tribute to King each year with a national holiday with many events and many remembrances, he must seem like distant history to young people now. Today, this generation has another hero to look up to— Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States of America. President Obama is not past history. He is making history every day. He is a living, breathing role model for everyone but especially our young people.


And while King talked about his dream, so Obama talks about his hope. “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.” President Obama speaks to this generation, as I have tried to do, when he preaches equal opportunity for all (‘That’s an essential promise of America--where you start should not determine where you end up.”), the need for a good education (“We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.”) and the belief that you hold your destiny in your own hands (“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”) As King and Rosa Parks and Thurgood Marshall and many others stood on the shoulders of their predecessors, so is Obama standing on their shoulders and the shoulders of many others, known and unknown, who fought for our rights. So the question to ask is: Who will be next? Who will stand on President Obama’s shoulders? Obama is serving his final year in the White House. As he waves good-bye to the biggest stage in the world, there are young men and women out there who are preparing to be the next Obama, the next King. Who will be inspired by Barack Obama to a life of public service as I was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.? My generation and I aren’t done with the world yet; there’s still much left to accomplish. But I’m keeping my eye out for that next Douglass or Tubman or King or Parks or, yes, Obama. I don’t know where our next leaders will come from. I don’t know what they will look like or where they will get their education or how they will rise to take their place guiding us into the future. But I do know that he or she will have big shoulders to stand on, shoulders that will hold them up to see a better tomorrow for all of us. I know that they will bring us along with them to that better future. I know that they will inspire the generation that comes after them. And I know that they will have a dream and they will have hope. As Barack Obama said: “Hope is the bedrock of this nation; the belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have courage to remake the world as it should be.” I’m looking forward to meeting them.

“ Let us remember we are aLL part of one american famiLy.”

Celebrating Black History Month:

Making History

Today We’ve traveled a long way—from the founding of this nation, to the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth, to the inspiration and leadership of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many other great leaders, to moving our country forward under the leadership of President Barack Obama.

Black history is America’s history. Let’s celebrate it together.

Mayor SylveSter turner

P o l . a d v. S y lv e S t e r t u r n e r C a m Pa i g n

— President Barack OBama

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016



the disease never left, America’s relapse on race is indicative of a sickness that never left. And “44” was the catalyst. Obama has been called the greatest gun salesman in America. Gun production has doubled under his administration and some say his presence in the White House gave the industry a 9 billion dollar boost. The hate groups that peppered the landscape of America in the 60’s resurfaced in full force. The number of “hate groups” in America increased by 500 during the Obama era. The racially charged rhetoric of hate that we heard in the 60’s is more acceptable in America now more than ever. Mass shootings “went platinum.” And let’s not even talk about racial profiling, excessive force and state sanctioned murder by police departments nationwide. When angry White officers couldn’t get their hands on Obama, any young Black male would do. White America took their hatred for him and his current residency in the White House out on us. Black America suffered under How the Obama Presidency Exposed America’s Unchanged Ways the Obama administration, because redneck America couldn’t stand to see a seed of Africa governing this nation’s affairs. “Right Wingers” ballyhooed “we have to take our country back.” Obama set a record for having been called the “N” word more times than any other Black man in the history of America. They publicly displayed memes of his wife, the country’s first lady, portrayed as a chimpanzee. Hate crimes increased, Black churches were burned (just like in the 60’s) and Dylann Roof took us way back into America’s dirty past when he murdered 9 innocent Black people in a church in South Carolina. The nationwide street protests against injustice that we saw in the 60’s are back in full effect. The Black Lives Matter movement was created due to this atmosphere. Even Beyoncé put her two cents in with her new single “Formation”; a tribute to decades of protests against injustice in America. We thought that after electing the first Black president that we were a hop, skip and a jump from heaven. Instead, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. During the president’s first term, we heard commentators, pundits and other optimists use the term “Post-Racial America.” Now you hardly hear these words uttered. It is because having named Barack Hussein Obama, was sworn in as Commander in a Black president with a Black First family exposed America By: Deric Muhammad Chief of the nation that our forefathers built with Black hands. for what she really is; not a post racial nation but a most racial Contributing Writer nation. It exposed that America’s adIt was 1964, in the throes of the Civil Rights movement, Change had FINALLY come. I was happy to see it. I was diction to White Supremacist values when Sam Cooke released his classic anthem “A Change Gon’ existed under the surface all along. Come.” Many don’t know that it was inspired by Cooke’s ex- even happier for my 86 year old grandmother who was an activShe was “geeking” to show her truest perience being turned away from a “Whites Only” hotel in ist during the Civil Rights era. “I colors and “44” provided her fix. As Louisiana. He’d been humiliated in front of his wife despite his never thought I’d see it; at least his final term comes to a close, much status as a popular entertainer. The song became pivotal to the is being debated concerning whether soundtrack for the movement towards social change, racial tol- not in my lifetime”, was what my Granny said of seeing a Black man or not the Obama presidency aderance and the dream that Dr. King so eloquently summoned take the oath of office. But as time vanced the cause of Black America. I from the soul of Black America. The hope was that, just as slow passed, I watched that big smile on say, if Obama’s presidency did nothdrops of water have the power to wither a rock over time that ing else for Black America, it showed the stone of White supremacy would ultimately wither away one her face become grim. Not only did she think she’d ever see a Black us where we still stand in this matrix march at a time; one sit-in at a time; one song at a time. (A Change Gon’ Come; 1964) man become president, she probcalled American society. If his presiThe Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted the same year. ably never thought she’d live to see dency did nothing for us, it solidified The Voting Rights Act came on its heels a year later. Over the that this nation still sees us as second class citizens and that the next four-plus decades a cascade of legislation, social programs, the pure, unadulterated hatred of set-asides and mass movements took Black America on socio- White America rise to levels that rivaled that of the Civil Rights hatred of the past still pulsates in the present. I still jam that Sam economic roller coaster ride in this country. For every step we era when police departments would sic trained dogs on elderly Cooke song every now and then, but even Ray Charles can see took forward it seemed like we were pushed two paces back- Black women during demonstrations. America had essentially that change for the masses of our people has not come. So as we close out this chapter of our 461 year sojourn in wards. Every win was followed by two or three losses. Sam was relapsed. I have family members who have struggled with the demon this nation, the question becomes “what do we do?” Now that still sangin’ while Black America was still left hangin.’ Then, it of drug addiction. My mother included. The addiction itself is we are clear on where we stand, how do we respond? Do we happened. Forty four years up from the Civil Rights Act of 1965, hell. When the person hits what is called “rock bottom”, he or she th put our hope in Hillary and waste more precious years trying to the 44 president of the United States of America, a Black man may get help. If the addict gets get apple juice from an orange? Or do we go back to what was too cocky, careless or cavalier working for us before we were sold these legislative lies and poabout their environment they litical pipe dreams? Black Wall Street was built without a Black may “relapse.” Sometimes, president. Let us unite like never before, pool our resources, the relapse is worse than the practice cooperative economics, purchase land, open and supinitial addiction. America’s port Black-owned businesses, empower Black media and funcaddiction to racial discrimina- tion as a nation within a nation. Eight years of Obama showed tion based on the philosophy us that even after 50 years under Civil Rights legislation, we still of White Supremacy is back have not overcome. I appreciate the wake-up call. Now let’s get with a vengeance; like never up and do something for ourselves. Together, we can do what a before. Just as the addict re- Black president couldn’t. lapses, essentially, because


It’s been a looooooong; a long time coming but I know, a change gon’ come.” -Sam Cooke

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


Photo Credit: Public domain. Courtesy of Alabama Tourism Department

Real Possibilities is a trademark of AARP.

Celebrating Black History.

As we celebrate Black History, we remember the long marches,

Honoring Hallowed Grounds.

is still alive in the solid iron of bridges, the creaking wood of

the stirring speeches and silent sit-ins. We may forget that the places where history was made are still here. And that history courtrooms and the sun-dappled dirt of back roads where a dream took root and grew to change a nation. Write the next chapter by embracing your Real Possibilities. Visit us at


Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


Michelle Obama

By: Grace Boateng

Managing Editor The First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama, lives in no one’s shadow. Through her efforts she has made the case to go down as one of the greatest First Ladies that this nation has ever seen. She is smart, effortlessly chic, a leader, an innovator, an attentive mother, a supportive wife, and a proud African American woman. The world has watched her navigate the painful experience of being ridiculed tirelessly, which is in fact a struggle that many African American women can relate to. Yet, she has handled her position with poise and resilience. With that said, she has been an outstanding ambassador for African American women and an inspiration to all women as she continues to shine as a proponent of change and the right hand to the leader of the free world. First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, a Chicago native, made history as the first African American First Lady of the United States of America. During her tenure as First Lady, she has made it her mission to champion education, health, and veteran affairs. The First Lady received her B.A. in sociology from Princeton and law degree from Harvard University, making her one of three First Ladies to have a postgraduate degree. Public service is nothing new for First Lady Michelle who spent a great deal of time working in public service after she left corporate law. Her work experience includes working as an assistant to Mayor Richard Daley, working in the non-profit sector as the executive director for a young adult skill development program, and she also developed the University of Chicago’s first community service program while working as the Associate Dean of student services. First Lady Michelle Obama has been an integral part of her husband’s political career, from Senate to Presidency, having campaigned tirelessly on his behalf. She adopted the nickname “The Closer” after garnering so much success on the campaign trail. In a pivotal moment when President Obama was seeking re-election, First Lady Michelle gave a rousing speech that moved the crowd to tears having said, “If we want to give all of our children a foundation for their dreams, and opportunities worthy of their promise…if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility. That belief that here in America there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it. Then we must work like never before and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward. My husband. Our President, Barack Obama.” The First Lady has led by example, working hard to launch and maintain initiatives near and dear to her heart at home and abroad. She launched the “Let’s Move” campaign which serves to eradicate childhood obesity. In African American and Hispanic communities, childhood obesity rates soar, which is likely due to the lack of access to healthy food options. Recognizing this issue, First Lady Michelle has made it her mission to provide healthy food choices for children and important information for parents in schools. She has traveled around the country (with the help of a few celebrity friends) sharing workout tips, dancing with the youth, and discussing at length the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The First Lady is a proponent of organic foods and instructed the White House cooks to prepare meals for her family and guests from the organic garden she planted. Mrs. Obama’s book, “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America” details her commitment to healthy living and organic food. President Barack Obama inherited a country returning from a decade of war and First Lady Michelle Obama has been committed to supporting veterans as they transition from military life to civilian life. She and Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, launched “Joining Forces”, a campaign that focuses on the incredibly unique needs of veterans which include but are not limited to employment, education, and wellness. Michelle said of these families on the campaign trail that “We have to rally around for these families. We have to be that safety net for them because, they’re leaving to serve us. They’re fighting for the rights and freedoms of all of us. And that’s what’s moved me about this effort.” She has connected with these families and refuses to let go.  In an effort to inspire American students to take charge of their future by pursuing higher education beyond high school, the First Lady launched “Reach Higher,”  “My own education opened doors and windows, opportunities that I could never have imagined. I grew up in a working class family that valued education and there are millions of girls and families like that, they are doing whatever it takes.” Another branch of this program is called “Better Make Room” designed to create and expand educational opportunities for young people between the ages of 14 - 19. Her passion for education has reached an international front having launched a new initiative called “Let Girls Learn.” This campaign was in part inspired by the story of Malala Yousafzai,(the youngest Nobel Prize laureate and Pakistani activist for female education) who suffered a terrible tragedy fighting for the right to an education. Her

goal is to get an estimated 62 million girls worldwide out of circumstances that range from child labor, poverty and forced marriages, out of despair and into classrooms. I would be remiss to not mention First Lady Michelle’s fashion sense and trendsetting power. Even in fashion she has managed to be generous, making careers through her endorsements; Jason Wu, Tracy Reese and Narciso Rodriguez to name a few. From the start, the First Lady has been a big supporter of young fashion designers and has made it a point to give a diverse group of people the opportunity to have their work displayed. These accomplishments are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how impactful First Lady Michelle Obama has been and how impactful she will be upon leaving the White House. She is an inspirational figure for all women having said, “real meaningful change in communities doesn’t happen from the top down, it happens from the ground up.” She is a relatable person who many women can identify with. Her beauty is beyond surface as she spends her days using her platform to shine a light on difficult issues and be a voice for the voiceless. She commands respect and carries herself with confidence. Seeing as how the first African American family inhabiting the White House revealed the tension that still exists in this country, she managed to navigate race and gender, with grace and dignity while still accomplishing her goals and bridging the bi-partisan gap by tackling common human interests. She, along with her husband President Barack Obama, present a fine example of a healthy marriage and supportive relationship. Their beautiful daughters Malia and Sasha have grown up admirably under the guidance of their parents. FLOTUS has described herself as, “first and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha’s mom.”  The First Lady said of her departure, “I will be in my early 50s when I leave here, and I have so much more that I should do. I don’t have the right to just sit on my talents or blessings. I’ve got to keep figuring out ways to have an impact — whether as a mother or as a professional or as a mentor to other kids”. Michelle Obama once said of her husband, “Being President doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are.” The same goes for FLOTUS as her tenure as the First Lady of the United States has revealed what a truly remarkable woman she is. Thank you, First Lady Michelle Obama, for being an inspiration to us all. Yes, She Did. 

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


By Valecia Weeks, LMT, Chair Massage Specialist Health Editor If you will, please allow me to expound on something a little differently than my normal weekly fitness article. This subject matter is far more important to me. I’m having the OPPORTUNITY to speak directly to the First Family of the United States of America – THE OBAMA FAMILY! What an honor and humbling experience. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d have the opportunity for such an experience. I’d first like to thank you, President Obama and Mrs. Obama for the great example that you have set on how to be a parent. My husband and I are parents of 5 children, and it has been a great joy watching you allow Malia and Sasha to be “kids” but yet have directed them to be young women of distinct character and honor. In your letter written in Parade Magazine to your daughters, you indicated to them that you desired for them “to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have.” So many children have experienced new opportunities that no other president of the United States of America has afforded them, including mine…and for that, I THANK YOU! I would also like to thank you so very much for establishing The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). You have truly reformed the health care industry. Because of your care and concerns for underserved citizens in the United States, a very close friend was given the chance to acquire health care insurance to treat her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Prior to attaining proper and affordable insurance, she was on a downward spiral of depression and anxiety which, I feel, would have eventually led to her committing suicide. She now has insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act and is properly medicated and living a normal life. As a Personal Trainer I can’t write this note without acknowledging how “The Mrs. Fitness” herself, Michelle Obama, has truly inspired me. Since my weekly article in the Houston Forward Times Newspaper is on Health and Fitness for the Busy Woman, I am totally impressed with how our FLOTUS stays fit with those toned arms and can still maintain the many hats that she is required to wear on a daily basis as the wife of the President of the United States. Michelle, I really admire the woman that you are; and I want to be just like you when I grow up. One of my fondest dreams has been to be granted the opportunity to have a fitness session with you, Michelle, and to provide corporate chair or table massage in the White House for the Obama family and your guests. As much as I hate to, I must conclude this note; but as I do so, I’d like to leave you with a quote from my 9 year old son, Trenton Weeks: “Even when you’re no longer president, I would like to request that you still continue to make a difference in the world for future African American presidents like myself.” Thank you for taking the time to read this letter from my heart. With Sincere Honor,

Valecia Weeks

Houston City Council Member District D

Council Member

Dwight Boykins

Moving The Masses with a Healthy Legacy By Jade Gold Every now and then life gives us individuals, moments in time, movies, disasters, victories, elections and role models that change the course of history forever. We struggle to find ways to package such people and events to summarize their profound effect on life or history, and at best, we can only muddle through phrases that barely seem to do them justice. One such individual who will surely leave a legacy for many young and old alike to admire is none other than our First Lady Michelle Obama. As a Health Coach and Corporate Trainer, I remember not so long ago not being able to find a single African American woman to look up to who had done anything significant in our state of failing health and wellness. Now, with reality TV, anyone can become a self-proclaimed champion for the people, not only in the fitness industry but in self-help and coaching arenas as well. Everyone is a “guru” to better your life. But in the case of our First Lady Michelle Obama, not only has she proven to be a champion for the people, such as our Veterans; she’s launched national initiatives like “Let’s Move”, fighting childhood obesity and “Joining Forces”, mobilizing support for service members and their families. She’s written two books and even beat Jimmy Fallon in a push up contest with a stellar sense of humor. She is a child wellness advocate, a corporate game changer, an advocate for poverty awareness and most of all, an amazing role model as a mother. She is the first African American woman in the White House to bring forth programs such as Let’s Move, fighting childhood obesity; planted a White House vegetable Garden and bee hive that supported many local and state-wide field trips to educate about the importance of growing your own agriculture and the President’s and First Lady’s own dietary needs. She danced and exercised her way through commercials, the Disney channel, and even Sesame Street so that every child from the youngest to oldest could identify with her message to the masses that we must educate our next generation about the importance of their health through food and exercise. She rapped her way to the top of the YouTube charts and even I posted some of her amazing workout videos from her own training sessions. She never just started initiatives; she was living the movement through her very own lifestyle by example. I remember talking to my nine-year-old son Joshua one day as we were about to play a game of soccer in the front yard and he paused to watch a commercial before heading outside. He said, “Wait Mommy, my President and First Lady are on TV talking about exercise.” He watched intently and as the commercial went off he said, “I wonder what would happen if one day we had a White President and First Lady in office. Would they exercise too?” In that moment, I felt the tears and emotions rise in my spirit as it never dawned on me that in his generation, he only knew an African American President and First Lady and their example to the world was one I could be ever so proud of. Not only from a political stand point, but even a role model family.

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


President Obama: The Technology President

Tyrone Willis working diligently for Organizing for America – the grassroots arm of Obama for America. By: Tyrone Willis Society Editor My hero is President Barack Obama, who worked his groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world’s most way through college with the help of scholarships and student dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by loans. He went on to attend law school, where he became putting federal spending online. the first African-American President of the  Harvard Law President Barack Obama was elected the 44th President Review. Upon graduation, Obama returned to Chicago to help of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on lead a voter registration drive, and taught constitutional law January 20, 2009. After being re-elected in 2012, President at the University of Chicago where he remained active in his Obama is currently serving his second and final term, which will community.  In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first end in January 2017. Thank you President Barack Obama for major ethics reform in 25 years; cut taxes for working families; your impeccable leadership; and hopefully, I get to meet you in and expanded health care for children and their parents. As the Oval Office one day. a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass

By: Johnny Taylor MIT, MBA Technologist President Obama recognizes that technology is an essential ingredient of economic growth and job creation. Ensuring America has 21st century digital infrastructure—such as high-speed broadband Internet access, fourth-generation (4G) wireless networks and new health care information technology—is critical to our long-term prosperity and competitiveness. The President is committed to ensuring America has a thriving and growing Internet economy. The Internet has become a global platform for communication, commerce and individual expression, and now promises to support breakthroughs in important national priorities such as health care, education and energy. Additionally, the Internet and information technology can be applied to make government more effective, transparent and accessible to all Americans. Examples of President Obama Progress: 1. Cybersecurity and Internet Policy 2. A Modernized Patent System 3. Bringing Technology from “Lab to Market” 4. 21st Century Digital Infrastructure 5. Creating an Open and Accountable Government 6. Learning Technologies 7. Advanced Manufacturing 8. Robotics 9. Federal Chief Information Officers 10. Open Data Initiatives 11. Presidential Innovation Fellows 12. First U.S. Chief Technology Officer 13. TechHire Initiative Cybersecurity and Internet Policy President Obama has pledged to preserve the free and open nature of the Internet to encourage innovation, protect consumer choice, and defend free speech. The Administration has created an Internet Policy Task Force to bring together industry, consumer groups, and policy experts to identify ways of ensuring that the Internet remains a reliable and trustworthy resource for consumers and businesses. Americans deserve an Internet that is safe and secure, so they can shop, bank, communicate, and learn online without fear their accounts will be hacked or their identity stolen.  President Obama has declared that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and that “America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.” Wireless Infrastructure President Obama has committed to making highspeed wireless services available to at least 98 percent of Americans. The availability of new wireless broadband services will allow more Americans to use the Internet to learn, work and play—regardless of where they live. At the direction of the President, Federal agencies will make more airwaves available for enhanced smartphones and other wireless services within 10 years.   High-speed internet infrastructure  is key to a 21st century information economy. Through $7 billion in targeted investments from the  Recovery Act, the Administration has expanded broadband access nationwide, improved high-speed connectivity in rural areas and public computer centers, and increased Internet capacity in schools, libraries, public safety offices, and other community buildings. Robotics President Obama’s National Robotics Initiative focuses on developing robots that work with or beside people to extend or augment human capabilities, taking advantage of the different strengths of humans and robots.  In addition to investing in the core technology needed for next-generation robotics, the initiative will support applications such as robots that can: • Increase the productivity of workers in the manufacturing sector; • Assist astronauts in dangerous and expensive missions; • Help scientists accelerate the discovery of new, life-saving drugs; and • Improve food safety by rapidly sensing microbial contamination. U.S. Chief Technology Officer President Obama created the position of U.S. Chief Technology Officer on his first day in office, noting that corporate leaders have long recognized the value of having a person responsible for ensuring that technology is being used as effectively as possible to advance key objectives.  The U.S. CTO is responsible for ensuring and advancing the use of innovative technological approaches to support Administration priorities, including job creation, broader access to affordable health care, enhanced energy efficiency, a more open government, and national and homeland security. TechHire Initiative The President and his Administration are focused on promoting middle class economics to ensure that all Americans can contribute to and benefit from our American resurgence. Part of that effort requires empowering every American with the education and training they need to earn higher wages. In March 2015, President Obama announced his TechHire initiative, a new campaign to work with communities to get more Americans rapidly trained for well-paying technology jobs. TechHire is a bold multi-sector initiative and call to action to empower Americans with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also nontraditional approaches like “coding boot camps,” and high-quality online courses that can rapidly train workers for a well-paying job, often in just a few months. Finally, President Obama signed his support with new legislation in late January 2016 called COMPUTER SCIENCE 4 ALL (CS 4 All). I encourage everyone to tap into CS 4 All, which is available on

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


Texas souThern universiTy

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016

The Right Choice


oday, the number of students, alumni and former students with longstanding ties to Texas Southern University (TSU) is a testament to its influence for more than eight decades. Many legacy students readily admit that they chose TSU not just out of family responsibility, but out of a self-imposed responsibility to succeed. They chose TSU for its unique and innovative programs and stellar faculty. They chose TSU because they wanted not only to learn, but to thrive. And although they now have more opportunities than their ancestors ever dreamed of, they chose TSU because there was no place else they would rather be. TSU is firmly positioned as an educational institution fully capable of preparing its students and graduates for successful competition in today’s and tomorrow’s expanding global marketplace. Enhanced admissions standards coupled with expanded academic offerings and improved retention and graduation rates have allowed TSU to continue the rich traditions of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU). In true HBCU fashion, TSU has become ground zero for diversity, the institutional trait most referred to by social forecasters as critical to 21st century success. Graduate schools and employers seeking to diversify their institutions look to HBCUs first. Our legacies and their parents often speak of the high job placement rate of HBCU graduates as evidence by graduates in education, government, aviation, transportation, law, pharmacy and other arenas. TSU is fully committed to improving upon its past successes to ensure continued institutional growth. The university is widely recognized for its excellence in certain key areas. Increasingly, we are finding that one of these areas is research. Zero-gravity nanotechnology is certainly highprofile research – about 32,000 feet high to be precise. Yet it is just one of many important research programs occurring at Texas Southern University. While most universities conduct research, a noteworthy difference here is that our professors don’t get to have all the fun. TSU students at all levels of their college careers are significantly involved. A team of TSU researchers working with the U.S. Air Force made a major breakthrough in nanotube technology. They invented a process that allows instantaneous electrodeposition of metal nanostructures on carbon nanotubes. Translation: their work is dramatically expanding the viability of nanotubes, a miraculous material that has the highest tensile strength in existence as well as superior mechanical, electrical and thermal properties. TSU’s dedication to research is playing a part in shaping the current and future world. TSU was named by Congress as a National Transportation Security Center of Excellence in 2008 and through 2016 will continue to be among six institutions receiving $18 million for research in petroleum transportation security solutions. TSU’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) revealed its new 20,000 square foot Interdisciplinary Health Professions Practice and Simulation Complex in October 2015. The simulation center provides a hospital and clinic environment to evaluate the ability of health professions students to work collaboratively to care for patients as taught in the practice labs and classrooms. This simulation center is very innovative as it goes beyond simulated hospital and clinic rooms that are traditionally offered by health profession academic institutions. It offers practical simulations in the areas of nursing, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, clinical lab, medical records and healthcare administration. The Complex’s practice labs and classrooms are equipped with cutting-edge audiovisual equipment to facilitate instruction and current healthcare automation and informatics utilized in the most progressive institutions. The new practice labs are designed to teach health professions students in an environment that simulates actual healthcare settings with the goal of developing “practice-ready” health professions graduates. The university will continue to add programs and degree plans that prepare students for a global workforce. It will become one of the nation’s preeminent comprehensive, metropolitan universities. Texas Southern University will be recognized by the excellence of our programs, the quality of our instruction, our innovative research, and our desire to be a contributing partner to our community, state, nation, and world.

Students and Instructors going through the clinical and pharmacy simulation labs in the Texas Southern Univerity Health Professions Practice and Simulation Complex. Photo by Earlie Hudnall, Jr.

Texas Southern University’s Mission Texas Southern University is a comprehensive metropolitan university. Building on its legacy as a historically Black institution, the university provides academic and research programs that address critical urban issues and prepare an ethnically diverse student population to become a force for positive change in a global society. In order to achieve this mission, TSU provides: • Quality instruction in a culture of innovative teaching and learning; • Basic and applied research and scholarship that is responsive to community issues; • Opportunities for public service that benefit the community and the world.

To enroll at TSU visit; Join the alumni association at; For information about TSU’s online degree programs, visit; Support Texas Southern University at


Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


“I want to know if my HAIR is just like YOURS…”


President Barack Obama:

A Beacon of Hope for Today’s Youth By: Grace Boateng Managing Editor Hope, Peace and Change are just a few of the words that children across the globe have used to describe President Barack Obama. The fascination and admiration of the 44th President of the United States is a bond that children share globally. President Obama’s peaceful disposition and message of hope permeate barriers of class, race, religion, sex, and age. President Obama’s tenure has had a positive impact on the way young people of color perceive themselves. To see the hope and pride in the eyes of young people at the mention of President Obama’s name is a testament to the importance of visual representation. One of the most powerful images to come out of his tenure as president is a photo of a 5 year old, Jacob Philadelphia, reaching out and touching President Obama’s hair in the oval office. Jacob had one question for the president, “I want to know if my hair is just like yours…” to which President Obama replied, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?” Young Jacob hesitated at first as President Obama bowed his head. President Obama, recognizing Jacob’s hesitancy said, “Touch it, dude!” Jacob proceeded to pat The President on the head and expressed, “Yes, it does feel the same.” What an incredible moment it must have been to have witnessed this exchange between a young brown boy and a man who looked just like him who was, and is, in fact, President of the United States. The historical nature of Barack Obama’s presidency resonates with many children of color. Blackness, for the most part, is often absent from most of American history, outside of the context of slavery. The children who are witnessing this man of color as the leader of the free world now know that regardless of what color they are, they too can do anything. President Barack Obama will go down in history for a great deal of things; none more important than the positive impression he has left with so many young people who will thrive from what he represents visually. For eight years, children of all ages saw these black bodies move gracefully and with dignity about the White House and abroad. They say that “children are the future” so we can only look forward to seeing what effects the diversity of the White House will have on them. Children from MacGregor Elementary school in Houston, Texas grades (K - 4th) expressed their feelings about President Obama and what his presidency has meant to them. President Obama is a beacon of hope and change in the midst of an American history weighted in inequality and injustice. “Yes, We Can” is a phrase that defined President Barack Obama’s campaign, style of leadership, and legacy. The tiny eyes of the world have watched him and clearly see that yes, he did.

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Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


F.L.O.T.U.S. FACTOR Why Black Men Love Michelle Obama By: Deric Muhammad Contributing Writer

As the first Black president makes his historic exit at stage right, the applause (as well as the boos) will be deafening. The writers, commentators, shock jocks, barber shop scholars and everyone else with a political opinion are already busy debating whether or not the Obama presidency was a stumbling block or a stepping stone for Black America. I will be honest; in a lot of ways, I’m torn on the subject. However, if I am “4K clear” on anything in this life, it’s how much I love, admire and respectful First Lady Michelle Obama. I know many Black men who quietly feel the same. And yes, I will probably miss her being in the White House more than I will miss her brilliant husband. No shade. Let’s get something straight. My admiration for Mrs. Obama has nothing to do with her external beauty. You can calm down Brother Barack. As a matter of fact, if we could all be honest, she does not fit the stereotypical mold of what is considered beauty by European standards. As a Black First Lady she has been viciously attacked for not being ashamed of her African features. I’d get more “pi***d off” when they insulted her than when they insulted her husband. But she always bore it with grace, poise, elegance and unwavering commitment to social change. The only time you saw her sweat was when she was deep into one of her epic workouts. Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Eleanor Roosevelt be damned; nobody did it like Michelle Obama. Nobody! She was an activist in the fight against Childhood Obesity. She was a staunch advocate of healthy eating. She encouraged America to exercise regularly; her fit frame setting the powerful example of how a woman over 50 can maintain a youthful figure the natural way. She encouraged the


youth to “Reach Higher” in education beyond high school through vocational training, professional training programs or a four year degree. She wasn’t afraid to link up with Beyoncé and others for a good cause despite what her critics had to say about it. She straight up walked into the White House as “Michelle from the South Side of Chi-town” and it looks like she’s about the walk out just like she walked in. Jay-Z said it best on his epic album “The Blueprint”… “I’ll Neva Change!” Michelle didn’t. Now, let’s get to the main message. I’ve logged in hours of conversation with Black men over the years about what’s so awe inspiring about Mrs. Obama. Again, it’s not just her external beauty or her “strong sista” energy. Her level of intelligence is the stuff of legends. It is no secret that most women are more intelligent than their significant others. So when your husband was smart enough to outsmart the smartest of the smart in America’s political arena, what does that say about the woman who can handle him even when the best minds on Capitol Hill can’t? Michelle Obama could be considered a head of state in her own right. She could run for any office in the country and either win or be very competitive. But she is so low-key you could easily miss the greatness of her greatness. She is the greatest First Lady to ever grace 1600 Pennsylvania and I hope she leaves a flatiron, a few bobby pins, Black Barbie dolls and Maze feat. Frankie Beverly CDs behind for the next First Lady to clean up after her. If anybody painted the White House black, it was FLOTUS. Lastly, but most importantly, the reason we as Black men love Michelle Obama so much is due to her unwavering support of her husband. Despite the fact that her intelligence rivals his, she doesn’t feel the need to become his rival. Unfortunately, we see this too often in relationships. Michelle went from Whitney Young Magnet School to Princeton University to Harvard Law School. She was speaking French in middle school, graduated as salutatorian of her high school class and excelled Barack in many respects academically. While he was smoking weed and reading Frantz Fanon, she was murdering the books. She went on to work at a prestigious law firm, became a power broker at Chicago City Hall and then a decorated dean at University of Chicago as well as other accomplishments. Imagine a woman with this kind of education, intelligence and extensive resumé meeting a scrawny half-White nerdy Negro who is saying he wants to use his law degree to become a community organizer? Many women would have looked at him and said “Negro please.” But Michelle saw in him what others missed. When Michelle met Barack he wasn’t riding in Air Force One. He was probably catching the city bus. He was smart, but not set. He had potential, but it had not been realized. He had big ears and a cigarette habit. Her father may not have seen him as the ideal for his daughter, but it evidently didn’t matter. SHE BELIEVED! If this article could be summed up in two words they would be, “She Believed.” Her husband had a vision and she subordinated her individual aspirations to help him realize that vision and it paid off. Be clear, there is no Barack without Michelle. One of the 4’s in the historic “44” definitely belongs to her. At the end of the day, every man wants a woman who will be by his side whether he’s worth “2 mil” or just enough to buy “2 meals.” Black men love Michelle Obama because she used her intelligence to compliment her man; not to compete with him. I don’t know what the future holds for her, but I’m sure it’s neon bright. Keep inspiring us Sister Michelle. You will always be FLOTUS in my book. Now Mrs. Obama is not the only sister out here supporting her husband’s vision. And the flip side is that if we as men want that support, we must have a vision and be working towards it. A woman can’t support a man who is doing nothing. And we, as men, have to be found being just as supportive. If you have a good man that’s going somewhere, try and stick by him. Who knows? You might end up flat ironing your hair on Air Force One.

Forward Times | February 17 - 23, 2016


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Forward Times Black History Special Edition  

Forward Times Black History Special Edition Forward Times Black History Special Edition pays tribute to President Barack Obama and First Lad...

Forward Times Black History Special Edition  

Forward Times Black History Special Edition Forward Times Black History Special Edition pays tribute to President Barack Obama and First Lad...