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VOL 6 ISSUE 35 MAY 19, 2017

MAY 19, 2017

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DONALD HILL remembered

Photograph by Brian Guilliaux.

AT LAST!

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace 1  unless he has his freedom. -- Malcolm X May 19, 1925 - February 21, 1965

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FINALLY!

It’s over. Exactly three weeks after a jury came back with a not guilty verdict on seven charges and a hung jury on four for Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, U.S. Attorney John R. Parker said it’s over. There will not be another trial because the government is abandoning any idea of retrying the Commissioner on the four charges surrounding filing fraudulent tax forms. Since federal agents raided the Commissioner’s home and county office; began questioning friends, foes, co-workers and associates in 2011; there has been much speculation, character assassinations

MAY 19, 2017

VOL 6 ISSUE 35

and finger-pointing. There were even those who anxiously awaited a conviction because surely when the Feds come after you, you’re going down. For those sitting in the courtroom during the nine-week Quit Playin’ crime, a different picture was painted and 11 even journalists began questioning the case. With the announcement earlier today, supporters are anxious to see the Commissioner get on with his life and also, as businessman John ProcMy DAY !VAILABLE AT .EWSSTANDS IN tor said, those Freewho - Take One    Garland,Rowlett supportIN him can help !VAILABLE AT .EWSSTANDS 14    retire legal    fees and Mesquite         Garland,Rowlett    ensure thatMesquite he has a robust         campaignRichardson Richardson account should he have an opponent in & E.Dallas & E.Dallas the future.

Free - Take One

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Ceremony part of National Drug Court Month activities By Cheryl Smith

It was a day of celebration for 27 graduates and their loved ones as they completed the Successful Treatment of Addiction through Collaboration (S.T.A.C.) program at the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts Building, last week. Taking participants from a life of repeated felonies and failed attempts at drug or alcohol rehabilitation, Dallas County Courts’ S.T.A.C. Program seeks to transform lives and help defendants Judge Lela Mays re-enter society as productive citizens, ultimately saving county House it was the greatest gift that taxpayers millions, and possibly could have been given to me.” saving their own lives. Today she is president and According to Judge Lela D. CEO of CNA Associates, an enMays, the 12-18 month program rolled agent and certified tax is about accountability and was resolution specialist, and she said developed to transition defen- 80% of the workforce is from the dants back into the community program. after treatment. In addition to onKaren Green, Founder and Digoing meetings with probation rector of Haven of Love, did not officers and court officials, defen- come through the program but dants take intensive outpatient many graduates could identify treatment classes, attend Narcotics and/or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Jamie Wolfand are tested fre- Kelly said quently for drugs and smoking dope was alcohol use. more Graduates admit important the program is not “than raising easy. They are required the four to maintain employ- children ment, complete pro- God blessed bation requirements me with.” and work community service hours as well as with her journey. “I went to nine pay back any related court fines treatments,” she said, adding that and fees. she was called the “relapse queen.” But the graduates also say Ms. Green said she was a survivor the program is rewarding and for of childhood sexual abuse which many, saved their lives. led her down a negative path of During the graduation pro- self-destruction. She now visits gram, Dionne Cheshier, a 2012 jails and prisons mentoring to the S.T.A.C. graduate, told graduates “broken and lost.” about her life before she entered Another speaker at the prothe program. “I know the hard gram was Jamie Wolf-Kelly, who work it takes to get here. When described Judge Mays as what a I was sentenced to Phoenix

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Lewis preside over the Court and the S.T.A.C. program serves as a problem-solving court, known as a “drug treatment court,” with intensive supervision for defendants on felony probation returning from inpatient treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Since inception more than 1,600 defendants have graduated. Based on an innovative program first developed in Miami, Florida in 1989, the drug court concept received widespread atJudge Gracie Lewis tention as an effective treatment “healthy, functioning, caring strategy for drug-involved criminal offenders. The term "drug woman looks like.” “She helped me to realize that treatment court" refers to a speI could be something other than cialized docket designated to hana drug-addicted prostitute,” said dle cases involving non-violent Ms. Wolf-Kelly. “I learned how drug-abusing offenders through to be accountable, be on time, an intensive, judicially monitored always have a plan, right my program of drug treatment and wrongs and stick my hand back rehabilitation services. The State and reach out for the person of Texas offers numerous specialized courts that focus on addiction, mental health Judge Jennifer Bennett attend- issues, juvenile and famed the ceremony ily issues and those that to share import- have been commercially ant news for exploited. graduates who These programs save had satisfied all taxpayers money – parrequirements ticipants are not in the and were being overcrowded jails and can released from begin paying restitution, probation. fines, and court costs that otherwise might not have been paid.  coming after me.” In addition, participants beFor Ms. Wolf-Kelly, there was a lot more she had to learn and af- gin to pay child support, not to ter dropping out of high school in mention reduce the number of the 11th grade, she now has mul- drug-addicted babies born to this tiple college degrees and is proud population. At the close of the program, to say her that today she “gets up, suits up and shows up so that six of the graduates were released not one more woman has to go from probation by Judges Mays, through” what she went through. Lewis and Jennifer Bennett, who The S.T.A.C. Court in Dallas also attended the program along County was established in Janu- with several other judges, elected officials, sponsors and family ary 2007 by Judge Lela D. Mays. Judge Mays and Judge Gracie members.

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See YOUTH, page 5

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MAY 19, 2017

VOTE EARLY: May 30 to June 6 WWW.MYIMESSENGER.COM

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ELECTION DAY: Saturday, June 10 5 


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MAY 19, 2017

Cheryl Smith’s USA BOWL

10920 Composite Drive, Dallas 6-10p.m.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Don’t Believe the HYPE

Brought to you by Evans Engraving Williams Chicken McDonald’s

Celebrity Bowl-a-thon Register your team today! Celebrities include:

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Community Calendar

2017 AFRICAN CHAMBER WEEKLY LUNCHEON SPEAKERS LIST 1705 Martin Luther King Blvd, Dallas May 24 TO BE DETERMINED May 31 NO MEETING DUE TO MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY June 7 INNOVATIVE STRATEGIESMARIO TREVINO June 14 TO BE DETERMINED June 21 TO BE DETERMINED June 28 DFW AIRPORT- LILLIE WEST & GUY TOLIVER (LUNCHEON BEING HELD AT DFW AIRPORT) July 5 NO LUNCHEON DUE TO HOLIDAY July 12 TO BE DETERMINED July 19 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE- JESSICA GORDON July 26 TO BE DETERMINED

May 19 One of the largest youth employment events, Opportunity Youth, is happening at the Dallas Convention Center. The Opportunity Youth program, created by Starbucks, is geared towards 16 to 24 year olds who are unemployed and not in school.

May 20 Redefine the Game with Dr. Randal Pinkett, hosted by The Empower Series at 10a.m., Dallas Public Library- Highland Hills Branch, 6200 Bonnie View Rd, Dallas, Texas 75241 ****** 9th Annual Founders Day Scholarship & Awards Luncheon Hosted by Greater North Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club 11 AM - 1:30 PM Hilton Garden Inn Dallas/Allen, 705 Central Expy S, Allen, Texas 75013 theme is “Moving Forward With A Purpose: Believing in the Audacity of Hope.” ·Keynote speaker is Beverly Fells Jones - International Speaker and Author. The Woman of the Year Honoree is Delores Elder Jones

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MAY 19, 2017

Man of the Year Honoree is Dr. Harry Robinson - Dallas African American Museum Community Service Honoree is Eleanore Evens - Community Activist Ombudsman of the Year Honoree is in memory of Lebaron Kinard

Fat Daddy (Son of R. L. Griffin) “Meatball” Sister Janean (Spoken Word) The Drummer Dancers D.J. LaSone MC Da Wolfman DOORS OPEN AT 1:00 PM CONCERT PERFORMANCE 2-8 PM 4750 E. CLEVELAND RD Southen University Alumni AssoDALLAS, TEXAS 75247 ciation Bayou Bash at the African Purchase tickets @ www.fredsenterAmerican Museum at 6pm tainment.com VENDOR INFORMATION Non Food Vendor fee $50.00 Food Vendor Fee $150.00 Maximum Tent/Table size 10’ x 10’ The Total Deadline for fees May 30, 2017 Package Tour: For more info call Brother Fred: (214) N K O T B 607-6445 with Paula Abdul And Boyz II Men with New Kids On The Retired Police Block and 2 others at 7:30 PM Chief David American Airlines Center, 2500 Victo- O. Brown will ry Ave, Dallas, Texas 75219 kick off his book tour in Dallas on his life and the challenges of 7th Annual Dallas Margarita Melt- modern law down, Dallas West End enforcement at a program presented by the World Affairs Council of D/FW and the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Ten-time Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum-selling Join Dr. Linda artist CeCe Amerson for Winans will ‘Beautifully Insefollow her cure’7:30-9:30pm. recently reat Studio Movie leased numGrill - I-20 & Matber one album lock, Arlington. “Let Them Fall The deadline for In Love,” with a national tour. The ticket purchases is Thursday June Fall In Love Tour presented by Me- 1, 2017 There will also be a 30 mindi-Share is Winans’ first solo tour ute panel discussion after the film to in a decade and brings her to the include these area...image & society Majestic Theater acceptance, self love, dating with alopecia, spiritual differences in relationships, and wigs-the cover up. Panalists include: Gwen Womack, Minister Womack and Marlo Mozee. Purchase your tickets here: https:// Live Tribute To Johnny Taylor www.tugg.com/events/beautifully-inSaturday, June 3rd 2017 secure-wfoy FEATURED ARTISTS: Ernie Johnson

*****

May 23

June 7

May 28 June 2

June 8

Soul Food Festival TX Hosted by The Soul Food Festival 4 PM - 11 PM 5700 Lake Ridge Pkwy, Grand Prairie, TX 75052performances by Cameo, Brick, El DeBarge, Ready For The World, Ruff Endz, Vivian Green and Noel Gourdin! Don’t forget that at 10pm the party gets live with performances by Uncle Luke and The 69 Boyz ******* Jazz On The Trinity at Panther Island Pavilion Hosted by Jazz on the Trinity 5 PM - 10 PM EDT 395 Purcey St, Fort Worth, TX 76102-

June 17 Cheryl Smith’s Don’t Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon at USA Bowl, 10920 Composite Drive, Dallas. featuring Miss Jessie’s Miko Branch, Kiki Shepard, Sen. Royce West, Williams Chicken’s Hiawatha Williams, Dante and Renetta Wesley, Bethel Johnson, Eva Coleman, Dareia Tolbert, Terry Allen and a host of others.

June 18

June 3

June 10

Celebrate Fathers at the annual City Men Cook Affair, 3-6p.m. at Gilley’s

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MAY 19, 2017

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FIRST MINORITY FEMALE-OWNED PR FIRM IN FORT WORTH CELEBRATES 30 YEARS Congresswoman Kay Granger Honors Success of Ware + Associates

Wyntress B. Ware, President & Founder of Ware & Associates and Congresswoman Kay Granger celebrated Ware’s 30th anniversary in business with a flag flown at the State Capitol on May 16th. Ware & Associates is the first, minority-female owned public relations firm based in Fort Worth.

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MAY 19, 2017

QUIT PLAYIN’ By Vincent L. Hall

There’s been a cacophony of cultural commotion around the election of Donald J. Trump. Without fail, the resounding chorus has been simple and sweet: Working class White voters are mad as hell and they won’t take “this” any longer. Don’t get it twisted…Black folks are mad as hell too. The ever-socially relevant “Atlantic” Magazine released a recent study conducted in conjunction with the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). The statistics solidified the notion that Trump voters are uneasy about conditions they consider threatening to their perceived place as the superior race in America and around the world. Here are the major areas that were highlighted. Identification with the Republican Party, Fears about cultural displacement (White working-class voters who say they often feel like a stranger in their own land) and Support for deporting immigrants living in the country illegally rounded out the top of the list. Economic fatalism (White working-class voters who said that college education is a gamble) and Economic

We’re Mad Too!!!

hardship were also in the top five. While I would do nothing to dispel or diminish the feelings of any other race or class of people, in my musings of the aforementioned “American crisis,” I have to ask how the hell do these same Whites think Blacks,

sive Whites are standing with them, where they can. Defiant protests and civil disobedience will be commonplace in the Trump years. This angst will not just subside. America’s young adults are literally watching as the curtains fall on their aspirations. White privilege is eroding.

Hispanics, Muslims and the otherwise others feel? The new demographic kaleidoscope of culture and race are harbingers of substantial social change. As we witness the “Browning” of America, working class Whites who rightly make their social lamentations must be mindful that no matter how bad they have it, Blacks folks are worse off by double or triple. We feel your pain long before you do… feel ours! This “madness” is swelling up in our children as they navigate our present climate of political turmoil. Progres-

Minority Millennials who have been dreamers since MLK was first recited in their presence are living the nightmare that comes with racial profiling and police brutality. Unlike the pre-Baby Boomer generation, Black Millennials have not been raised to fear Whites at all. They have not been taught to feign a smile or a gratuitous nod; to ignore disrespect, nor to accommodate. They won’t give an inch when it comes to demanding their full rights and respect as Americans. The “outbursts of madness” that bolted Betsy DeVos at

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I Messenger Bethune-Cookman University was as much a message to Trumpism as it was to the “Black Establishment.” They sent a warning to older Black professionals who still passively hum verses of “We Shall Overcome.” They challenged the remnants of Black pacifism which wholly believes the best way to handle racism is to avoid the ire of White folks at all costs. Black Millennials have their own “freedom music” and will do battle directly with their oppressors. They have little patience for Black enablers whom they feel have wasted 400 years… waiting. Mexicans Americans and immigrants are angry and dismayed. Word has it that a Latina started the petition to keep Senator John Cornyn out of Texas Southern University. The Thurgood Marshall Law School resides on that campus and Cornyn joined Republicans who attacked Marshall’s legacy during the 2010 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kegan. White folks are mad all over the world. We watched the Alt-Right torchbearers recently praising Russia. Xenophobes see Brexit, Putin and Trump as vehicles to Pan-Europeanism. Everybody is mad and that has set the groundwork for a long hot summer. It’s totally maddening!

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My Friend Wants Me to Hire Her Cousin and I Don’t Want To

Ask Alma:

Now, how do you tell a friend you don’t want to use her cousin, her Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans brother, her husband, etc., for home more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the improvements and not hurt her Washington Post. Email questions to: feelings? alwaysaskalma@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter Let me back up a moment. Don’t @almaaskalma. you hate that? A friend tells you about that great relative who can Dear Alma, get the job done on the cheap. I have a friend who knows I am hir- You’re like, “okay, thanks girl,” but ing people to fix up my house, and then file it way in the back of your she keeps suggesting that I hire her cousin. I have hired workers in the past and prefer to keep using them. There’s one particular project, however, that she’s really pushing her cousin to do. She visits my home often and she knows I didn’t so much as call her cousin for an estimate. It’s likely his price would be lower, but I’m simply not interested. Things like quality of work, hiring contractors, who show up on time, etc., are more important to me than saving a memory. Now every time she spots little money. The people I’ve hired in the handyman at your place with a the past have been licensed, bond- hammer, she brings it up again. And ed and insured. I don’t know if that’s dang, you’re like, “Okay, okay, althe case with her cousin; she’s never ready, I heard you the first time you given me a business card or web- mentioned it. If I wanted to use your site. How do I deal with my friend? I cousin and pay him with a pack of don’t want to hurt her feelings, but cigarettes and a six-pack, I woulda this is my house. told you.” Oh, sorry, that’s my story; Happy Homeowner let’s get back to you. There’s no easy way to deal with Dear Homeowner, this. Bottom line, truth be told, busiCongratulations on owning your ness is business. This could be one own home. Notice I didn’t address of many situations—having your you as renter, borrower, house sitter car repaired, building a new webor relative needing to crash for a few site, planning a wedding. You are weeks. You said it in your email— placed in a difficult position when you’re a homeowner; you go girl! hiring a family member or friend.

Business is busi-

ness, friendships are

friendships, and its best not to blend the two.

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Deciding to embark on a home improvement project is a huge decision. You definitely should go with a person or company that’s licensed, bonded and insured. What if the job isn’t completed successfully and you can’t get it resolved to your satisfaction? Then, you gotta sue her cousin. You see where I’m going? One more time, to bring this “home” and release you from your guilt: Business is business, friendships are friendships, and its best not to blend the two. Stick to the decision you’ve made. If she brings up the subject, cheerfully and lightheartedly remind her that you two are good friends and that you want to remain that way. I’m sure she’ll get the picture. Truly good friends, even when they disagree, understand and respect each other’s decisions. Alma

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I Messenger My Day Addressing By Dr. J. Ester Davis

Ester Davis

How do you obtain a mental illness warrant? What are the signs? Where do I go? May is Mental Illness Month. And our national statistic today is that one-in-five Americans have some form of mental illness. We cannot continue to ignore these growing numbers. The good news is that mental illness can be treated. In Dallas County, which encompasses 32 cities, the Mental Illness Court Offices are conveniently located downtown. I ran into Judge Margaret Jones-Johnson, Probate Court #3, who oversees the Dallas County Mental Illness Courts, on the steps of the courthouse some months ago. We chatted for a mo-

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mental illness

ment and she mentioned, “I wish you would write something on mental illness. . . in May.” “Sure,” I replied. On the subject of mental illness, too many suffer in silence. We seriously need a national, broader conversation because we all know someone who has some mental Judge Margaret Jones-Johnson health signs and we still whisper about it. redity. When in reality so That story was written many live in darkness nationally decades ago. day in and day out about The message at that time a disorder with healing was about “families havpossibilities. ing the conversation.” Professionals in this ‘Stepping out of the industry cite anxiety, shadows.’ mood, autism, eating We grew up with the and substance use as pri- greatest stories about mary causes. our family achievements, We use terms like bipo- property, intellect, busilar, post traumatic stress, nesses, dance and piano schizophrenia, depres- lessons, education, but sion, insomnia, anger, the family “secret” was weight gain, frustration, not revealed until I was loss of concentration, an adult with two chiljust to name a few, as dren. long-term causes leadMy grandmother, born ing to and stimulating in 1884, was a manic demental disorders. pressant in today’s lanFrom personal expe- guage. rience, I want to add heTo obtain a mental ill-

ness warrant in Dallas County is a simple-step process. In other areas, contact your county offices first. Warrants may be issued when a mentally ill person is a danger to self, incapable of taking care of self or a danger to others. The applicant must be eighteen (18) years of age or older, have firsthand knowledge of behavior, state specific acts, attempts, threats and willing to sign a statement. If havoc occurs on weekends or holidays, the Magistrate’s Office at Lew Sterrett Jail is available and/or your local Justice of the Peace in your precinct. Just know, you are not alone. It is so important that we all have this information and know how to do this. Please share. I will share on Facebook also. Call the Dallas County Mental Illness Courts first because so much of downtown is under construction or in temporary offices. That number is(214)653-6166. If more is needed . . just call. Thanks, Judge Johnson. Ester Davis can be reached at 214-376-9000 or www.esterday.

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I Messenger Another Pound of Flesh for the Grim Reaper

MAY 19, 2017

Speaking Truth to Power By Charles O’Neal

Don Hill died… Now EVERYONE remembers that he was really a great guy. Smart, witty, incisive, and ultimately, stupidly ensnared in the kind of political chicanery that wrecks lives irreparably and forever. For the record, I still recoil at the description of Hill’s travails in his “bribes for votes” case as the BIGGEST POLITICAL SCANDAL IN DALLAS HISTORY. Remember this is the city that once boasted of mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs, judges and lawyers who were active, virulent members of the Ku Klux Klan.

If that isn’t scanodds with dal on the grandthe perest scale I don’t ceptions of know what qualthose of us ifies. on the othTo this day, er end. Dallas regularly So the and triumphant- Former Dallas Mayor late Don Pro Tem Don Hill ly short-changes Hill will go Black and Brown down in citizens, razing neigh- history as the corrupt borhoods in the name city councilman that of progress, locking up shook the very foundaand/or shooting non- tion of this city. whites, usurping the auNo mention that the thority of duly elected bribers were only conschool trustees in a fash- ducting “business as ion that makes one re- usual” and have gone call the old saw “…until on with their lives to lions learn how to write, corrupt unsuspecting the story of the hunt naïfs, all too susceptible will always be from the to their overtures. hunter’s perspective.” I hate that Don died In other words, the hy- without being able to per-scandalous behav- tell us the truths he ior of Dallas in pursuit found while incarceratof further “Dallasness” ed. as told by the tellers of Without question, the tales will always be at years spent locked away

led him to valuable insights that would be useful to officeholders and office seekers alike. As I said, he was a very smart man. The ultimate fault/ failing of Don, I believe, was being too trusting. Too willing to believe that everyone around him had his best interests at heart. Sadly, tragically, we know with certainty that was not the case. And this is not to absolve Don of responsibility for his part in this sad episode, rather is just a reminder that Don was simply human. Don Hill died…. He was my friend. I’m sad. Charles O’Neal is President of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce, a statewide network of Texas’ 22 Black chambers of commerce.

Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill passed away last Saturday night. His funeral will be Saturday, May 20, 2017, 2 pm at Concord Church, 6808 Pastor Bailey Drive. The wake will be Friday at 7pm. WWW.MYIMESSENGER.COM

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MAY 19, 2017

TSU Alumni Association to honor area alumni

Judge Valencia Nash

The Texas Southern University National Alumni Association (TSUNAA) Dallas Chapter, will host its 16h Annual Scholarship and Awards Luncheon on Saturday, June 3, 2017, at 12:30 PM at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, Wedgewood Room, 2201 N Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207. Texas Southern University (TSU) is a historically black university established in 1927. The university is located in the heart of Houston’s Third Ward. Austin Lane is the twelfth president of the university. The Dallas TSU Chapter will honor three alumni: Elwaine Johnson, TSU Class of 1977, will receive the Professional Excellence Award, Rhetta Bowers, TSU Class of

District Attorney Faith Johnson

Rhetta Bowers

Willard Stimpson

1991, will receive the Rising Star for Community Service Award, and Faith Johnson, TSU Thurgood Marshall School of Law 1980, will receive the Attorney of the Year Award.

positive march that drew thousands of participants. She has been engaged with a number of volunteer positions with Garland ISD, on advisory boards in Rowlett, and other civic organizations in the Metroplex.

Elwaine Johnson served in many engineering positions at Texas Instruments, and subsequently at Raytheon, supervising industrial, electrical, mechanical, and software engineers prior to retiring in 2015. He currently serves as senior minister at Throckmorton Street Church of Christ.

Faith Johnson, TSU Thurgood Marshall School of Law 1980, is the first African-American female to serve as the District Attorney of Dallas County. Ms. Johnson has the distinction of being the first African-American female district criminal judge elected in Texas, serving as a presiding judge for seventeen years, and was also the first African-American female to attain the highly regarded status of Chief Felony Prosecutor in the Dallas County

District Attorney’s Office. In addition to the awardees, Pharmacist Willard Stimpson, TSU College of Pharmacy 1967, will receive a special recognition for50 years in this profession. The luncheon speaker is the Honorable Valencia Nash, Dallas County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 2. Judge Nash received her Juris Doctorate degree from TSU, Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1999. The donation to attend the luncheon is $60.00 per person. For more information please call Yolanda Jones, chapter president at, 832.656.6355 or via email at: yolanda_2906@yahoo. com Not pictured: Rev. Elwaine Johnson.

Rhetta Bowers, in January 2017, chaired the Dallas Women’s March, an empowering and

DFW-ABJ

college students. For more information or to apply, log on to www. dfwabj.com

URBAN JOURNALISM WORKSHOP APPLICATIONS

Applications must be returned to: DFW/ABJ c/o Cheryl Smith 320 South RL Thornton Freeway, Suite 220 Dallas, TX 75203

The Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists (formerly the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators) will present its 28th annual Urban Journalism Workshop for high school and

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MAY 19, 2017 I Messenger Buick Hosts Intimate Conversation on “The Journey Through the African American Experience”

Washington, Emil Wilbekin of World of DC—Buick hosted Wilbekin. eight African-Amer“This trip in the Buick ican journalists on a to Philly was amazing. historic road trip in After my father’s work the 2017 Buick Lain the Civil Rights MoveCrosse, where they ment, he moved to Phildrove from Philaadelphia to work with delphia to Washfriends on other issues. ington D.C. for an So for me, it was very Journalists gather for discussion with veteran broadcaster Ed Gorexclusive tour of the don to discuss their participation in an exclusive tour of the National emotional to feel like I National Museum of Museum of African American History and Culture and their historic was traveling in his footAfrican American Hissteps,” said Susan Wright and hosted by Buick. tory and Culture (NMAAHC). of SoulBounce. Together, these journalists In their 2017 Buick LaCrosse, Attendees included: Emil and thought-leaders applied journalists made stops at sevWilbekin of World of Wilbekin; their experience to what it eral historic African-American Susan Wright and Kim Hines of means to be an African Ameripoints of interest along the SoulBounce; Ester Davis of The can in today’s world and lookway, including the Marian Dallas Post Tribune; Brian Jacking ahead to the near future. Andersen House, The African son of NY Magazine; Rushawn “When I left the museum, I American Museum of PhilaWalters of The Hilltop; Cheryl felt taller. I felt stronger. I felt delphia and Mother Bethel Smith of Texas Metro News; resilient. So, when I leave to go A.M.E. and Jarrett Hill of NBC BLK/ back, I’m going back stronger Following the driving tour, The Hollywood Reporter. and more courageous,” said the group was welcomed by award-winning journalist and producer Ed Gordon of Bounce TV for an evening conversation discussing “The Journey Through the African American Experience.” Journalists reflected on the emotional experience during the intimate dinner and conversation, moderated by Ed Gordon

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MAY 19, 2017

Improving, Bridging Gap between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color FROM THE HILL

by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Our communities rely on police departments to “protect and serve”, and the police, in turn, rely on community support and cooperation. Each group has a great responsibility in creating an environment that allows each of us to take advantage of the guiding principles our nation was founded upon “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” While many communities enjoy a strong and productive relationship between police and the community, in some communities profound fractures exist and the relationship is not always harmonious. Members of these communities often feel embattled and victimized and the fractured relationships that develop ultimately endanger the lives of both officers and civilians alike. At this point, for both parties, “safety” becomes rooted in “trust”. Community policing, transparency, and measures of accountability provide an opportunity to build trust and create a safe environment built on mutual respect, partnership and shared interests. Proactive Community Policing and Engagement Law enforcement must properly engage the communities they serve. Their purpose is not to come into the community to manage it, but rather to work with it and engage its members on a daily basis. Synchronously, it is the responsibility of the community to assist in the community policing effort; not by becoming additional police, but instead by becoming proactive members in their communities, and using their skills for the community’s benefit. This relationship is to be more of a partnership, rather than an adversarial one. It is incumbent upon both police and members of the community to interact with a cooperative spirit, to listen and act with respect and fairness, and to un-

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derstand the value of fostering trust day in and day out. Law enforcement organizations must demonstrate to the public they serve—both in word and deed, the fairness and impartiality of their processes. Sustaining these conditions is critical, so that trust does not break down when there is a crisis. Increased Transparency/ Accountability Law enforcement should continue to discuss new training and technologies that help foster a sense of accountability to the communities they are charged with protecting. Accountability is ensured through transparency in all aspects of policing. Information technology has affected the practice of policing in many ways, but, for the public, it has created the potential for new awareness of how departments and their officers are doing their jobs. Technological and societal forces are pushing toward more, rather than less, transparency. As a result, strategies that seek to get in front of the trend, rather than attempt to resist it, would be more sustainable over the long term. Departments moving in the direction of transparency should seek to engage their communities through social media, the release of data on police policies and practices, and even officer-worn video. The fatal shooting of Jordan Edwards, thus far, demonstrates the utility of body cams, which, while not a solution, can drastically affect individual cases. Using body cameras and other technologies to enhance oversight and accountability, establishes legitimacy, and builds public trust. Under these

conditions, law enforcement can police safely and more effectively. As a mother and grandmother to three young black men, I cannot overstate how much this issue is of personal importance to me. Addressing and improving policing in our communities, however, does not exclusively benefit myself, or only those who look like me. It benefits all of us. It builds trust, it mitigates tragedy, and provides a stronger foundation for building relationships between law enforcement and our communities. 1 Corinthians 12:26 teaches us, “If one member suffers, we all suffer together.” As a nation, we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to what appears only to be to the detriment of some and not all. We must acknowledge that there is work to be done and through an open and honest dialogue, we can create and embrace policies that will justly serve all of our communities.

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