Category Archives: Community

Houston’s Unions and Congressional Leaders Rally for Jobs Not Cuts

The Service Employees International Union Local 1, Harris County AFL-CIO Council, Texas Organizing Project and Good Jobs Great Houston coalition banded together with Congressmen Al Green, Gene Green and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee to bring attention back to the issue of jobs not cuts when Congress meets in Washington next week for the “lame duck” session.

Congress has a task on its hands as the problem of sequestration is looming over the country. Politicians are not making light of the situation and neither is the people of America. Trillions of dollars are at risk and the Jobs Act has yet to pass the House of Representatives in a time where many domestic programs are on the verge of being slashed.

Americans all over the country are still in limbo in the job sector and with a Congressional stupor in full effect the continuing effort to stay hopeful is becoming more of a challenge. A compilation of unions in Houston called upon their Congressional heads to speak out for and to them about the challenges that lie ahead in this upcoming “lame duck” session.

The Jobs Act
Congressman Al Green challenged his colleagues in Congress to help out President Obama and the constituents when it comes to the Jobs bill. He assured the public that if the bill is passed there will be money for infrastructure, job creation for peace officers, firefighters and teachers and help for veterans.

“Jobs are here to be created if we only do some of the things the President has proposed. There was a lot of talk about the President not having a Jobs Bill,” said Congressman Al Green. “The President submitted his jobs bill to Congress and it has not been acted on. The Jobs Bill should be acted on.”

Inside the Job Bill there is room for infrastructure improvement. An infrastructure bank can be created and the bank will help with the transportation issues, help rebuild bridges, refurbish the airports and other projects, according to Congressman Al Green.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee also called for help from her colleagues on Capitol Hill as she emphatically spoke about the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who offered a hand of friendship to the newly re-elected President Obama. As a gesture of good faith and a better working relationship this can be seen as a sign of peace that may help elected officials get the results needed in Congress.

“I’m excited about the Senate Majority Leader, who said he’s ready to work, but he has to be able to want to work on the behalf of all of you, the voices of America, which means we should go back and pass the Jobs Act and our number one priority should be jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Congresswoman Lee.

Congressman Al Green also spoke on how Veteran’s deserve to come home to the job opportunities they left behind for service. Green charged forward saying that if we can spend unlimited money to put soldiers in harm’s way we ought to be able spend an equal amount of money to make sure they have good jobs when they come home.

Medicare/Medicaid/ Veterans Health
Medicare and Medicaid served as a big topic that could not be ignored by the Congressional leaders. Congressman Gene Green did not mince any words when declaring he would fight not to cut Medicare, but he did make a provision by saying he would cut the doctor’s reimbursement which caused him the concern of how doctors would react. He explained that the problem with Medicaid was not on the federal level but on the state level because the State won’t pick up the cost. G.Green also opposes the idea of the government tampering with Veteran’s benefits.

“We don’t want Veteran Qualified Health Centers cut off. We have money for expansion under the expansion stimulus dollars through the Recovery Act of ’09,” said Congressman Gene Green. “We don’t want to cut that now when we are just gearing up to help people who don’t have access to a doctor.”

Congressman Al Green is a known advocate for Senior Citizen rights. He started in firmly on behalf of the senior community voicing he is not a fan of senior Medicare warfare. A.Green continued to rally that all seniors should have the opportunity to have Medicare and it should be protected for unborn generations. He also protested against minimizing Medicaid stating that we have to maximize our dollars that we get, we have to protect Medicaid because it helps people who are poor and without Medicaid would not get medical services.

Live In America Wage Act / Housing
Americans living below the poverty line while working a full-time job is a burden that many live with daily yet never find any relief from; Congressman Al Green introduced the Live In America Wage Act to Congress in order to help any person who works full- time in America to live above the poverty line. He proposes to index the minimum wage to the poverty line so when the poverty level goes up so does the minimum wage. Congressman Gene Green concurred that constituents need help and the government should kick in to help in times of need. He rallied that the government should do what a second job would do and find more revenue so there won’t be a need to make drastic cuts that will hurt the people that are the most defenseless.

The cuts that may happen in sequestration could possible housing. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), houses many Houstonians and American’s alike and the notion of cutting HUD funds is jeopardizing the stability of millions.

“HUD could be cut and we don’t want that to happen. There is a lot that can be done to balance the budget but we want to do it fairly,” said Congressman Gene Green. “We don’t want to do it on the back of working people and poor people.”

Congresswoman Lee closed the press conference by reassuring the crowd that their elected leaders want them to have jobs, Medicare and for women to have healthcare without the intervention of anyone telling them what their healthcare should be.

Our Congressional leaders go back into session on November 13th and can last into the beginning of January 2013. The whole country will be waiting and watching to see what will happen on Capitol Hill in the next two months. The outcome of the fiscal budget and the passing of the Jobs Bill hold much weight in America’s future.

Emancipation Park Celebrates Juneteenth

Friends of Emancipation Park(FOEP) began celebrating Juneteenth at the historic park last month.

Festivities kicked off with the annual Mr. & Ms. Juneteenth Pageant which was headed by Mildred Johnson and for the first time in the event’s history, incorporated males.

The Beauty and The Beast Tea featured elegantly designed tables that incorporated one essential message the following Sunday, freedom. Catered food, assorted teas and various desserts were provided.

Monday, children that participated in the Emancipation Park Summer Camp learned about the history of Juneteenth along with making arts and crafts that reflected their heritage.

Watermelon and red punch were given to children following Wednesday’s talent show which featured young competitors from various parks around Houston. Children danced, and sung for audiences as well as judges.

More activities for FOEP’s Juneteenth celebration are planned including a parade, a movie night, and more leading up to Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s announcement of a $33 million dollar renovation of Emancipation Park. For more information on all activities or if interested in vending, visit

HCC of C announces 2011 Pinnacle and Upstart Award Finalists

The Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) formally announced the 2011 finalists of the Pinnacle and Upstart Awards.

The 2011 Pinnacle Award Finalists are:

• Arvo Realty Advisors – Ed Ryland, President & CEO

• Arena Children’s Learning Center – Tanisha Green, Owner

• GoGo Business Communications – Joi Beasley, President & CEO

• KT Maintenance Company – Kenny Tims, Sr., President

• P2MG – Michael Nelson, President

• Riles Real Estate & Development – Kevin Riles, President

• RPH Consulting Group – Paul Cannings, Jr., Principal

• Superb Speakers – Joyce Scott, CEO

• The Guess Group, Inc. – John L. Guess, III, President

• The Principal Partnering Group, LLC – Daryl King, CEO

The 2011 Mack H. Hannah Upstart Business Award Finalists are:

• Cs3 Solutions, LLC – Chris Shuler, Owner/CEO

• Global Momentum Construction – John Preston, Chief Marketing Officer

• Jamaica House – Wendi-Ann Walker, Owner/Director

• Poparazzi’s Popcorn – Irwin Daniels, President

The winners in each category will be awarded during the 17th Annual Pinnacle Awards black tie gala on Friday, October 14, 2011, 7:00 p.m. At the Hilton Americas Houston, 1600 Lamar St., Houston, TX 77010. The keynote address will be delivered by Alfred Edmond, Jr., Senior VP/Editor at Large, Black Enterprise. For more information, call 832-.350-4222.

Benefit set for Yates museum

Rutherford B.H. Yates, Inc. is sponsoring its first fundraiser dinner and silent auction, “Honoring Pioneers: A Celebration of the Past and Present” on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel located at 6 Greenway Plaza. This celebration features keynote speaker, Merline Pitre, PhD, TSU professor, author and historian. Pioneers and innovators such as Commissioner El Franco Lee, Willie T. Caldwell, Thomas Meloncon, Bubbha Thomas, and Dr. Thomas Freeman will be honored.

Proceeds from this event benefit the restoration and preservation of homes in the National register District of Freedmen’s town and provide scholarships to students. Tickets are $100.00 each and for more information about the celebration, “Honoring Pioneers: a Celebration of Past and Present”, please visit http// or call 713-739-0183.

Man found dead on Galveston Beach

THE Houston Sun

Galveston- Standing on the seawall of Galveston beach Thursday morning , September 8th nothing seemed unusual or out of place. The beautiful crashing waves, couples running their dogs and people scattered about just like Sam Burnett and his family, trying to catch a couple of fish. Yet on this morning, Burnett discovered a dead body, not quite the catch he was looking for.

After arriving with his father and brother at the beach around 6:50 a.m., Burnett discovered the body of Luis Tejera , 39, of Houston, face down in the sand.

“ When I realized it was a body I called the police immediately,” Burnett said.

“At first no one believed me because it was hard to see him at first. His face was sunk down up to his ears.”

Paramedics arrived within five minutes of the 911 call according to Burnett and began efforts of resuscitation, even using the defibrillator.

The cause of death is ruled a drowning and is not being handled as a homicide. Officials are looking at it as a possible suicide.

Burnett observed a wedding band on Tejera’s hand when paramedics rolled him over. We have no comment from the family to verify if indeed Tejera was married or if he had any mental illness to prompt suicide.

Children Matter Empowering Youth Initiative

Children Matter! The World Youth Foundation (WYF) recently celebrated 20 years of service to Houston area youth. WYF is hosting the Empowering Youth Initiative-Seeds of Gratitude, Appreciation Brunch, The Empowering Youth Initiate program series educates participants to make better decisions and equip them with additional resources, such as critical thinking tools, skill building, and the ability to do strategic planning for life. Families interested in registering their youth for (2011-2012) the eight-month free leadership series may do so at the Seeds of Gratitude, Appreciation Brunch.

This year WYF will honor eight Houston area trailblazers for their contributions, volunteerism, and dedication to helping youth. The honorees are: Willie Iles, Boys Scout of America, Darryl King, principal, Principle Partnering Group, Jean Gabriel, founder Push to Win, June Deadrick, director for government affairs, CenterPoint Energy, Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Harris County, James Harris, director, supplier diversity, HEB, Debra Lathan, assistant director wellness, parks recreation department of the City of Houston, and Dr. Deavra Daughtry, founder of Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation.

The Empowering Youth Initiate program exposes students to opportunities in the various professions as well as the educational opportunities that can help them realize their goals. The program’s principles informs, enlightens and motivates young people and their families to learn more about the choices and opportunities available in choosing a higher education school, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). In addition, by registering for the 2011 – 2012 leadership series new students are eligible for selection to represent Houston at the Annual Legislative Conference – Congressional Black Caucus, September 21 – 24, 2011, in Washington, D.C.

The World Youth Foundation is a national, nonprofit organization headquartered in Houston, Texas. The mission of the WYF is to enhance the growth and character of all youth, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental handicap, or economic background. The foundation provides young men and women with experiences and resources that equip them to function as proactive citizens in their communities.

For more information on how to become part of a solution with Empowering Youth Initiative-Seeds of Gratitude Appreciation Brunch, please call 713 453-7833 or 713 523-8484 or visit

Obama administration to narrow US deportation policy

“In an unstable economic environment, we must seek to retain our most vital assets of human capital, who strive to promote and contribute to our country’s improvement and success.
Immigrants are an important part of American human resources”
Washington, DC – “I commend President Obama for doing what is right for American immigrant families. It’s a step in the right direction and within the parameters of existing law. It’s the least we can do to recognize the hard working immigrants that contribute so much to our nation’s economy and culture, as Congress continues to debate ways to address immigration reform,” commented Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Yesterday, the Obama Administration declared that it would “grant an indefinite reprieve to estimated thousands of immigrants facing deportation.” Federal officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, which both oversee the immigration courts, will examine each immigrant’s status on a case by case basis in determination of whether they will be deported. This decision will launch an approximate review of nearly 300,000 cases in the nation’s immigration courts – requiring judicial officials to assess the priorities to detain and deport criminals and threats to public safety. The policy shift will affect less than 3 percent of more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, approximately 1.4 million which are located between the Dallas and Houston areas of Texas.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Ranking Member of the Transportation Security Subcommittee on the House Homeland Security Committee and a senior member on the Immigration Subcommittee on the House Judiciary Committee stated, “This sweeping legislation will provide unification of immigrant families, which would include uniting immigrants with spouses, children or other close family members who are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States who have proven employment records.” Out of the nearly 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States, several million are composed of blended families (including both legal and illegal immigrants and U.S. born citizens).
Past immigration policy has caused spouses to be separated and millions of children to be separated from their parents – leaving others to help care for the orphaned children. For example, in 2007, an immigrant couple was pulled over for having expired tags on their car and subsequently deported after the police discovered they were illegal immigrants – forcing the couple to leave their 11 year old child in the custody and care of an alternative family member. This new policy is one small victory for proponents of comprehensive immigration reform in the United States Congress.
Congresswoman Jackson Lee is the author of the “Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2009,” a bill that falls directly in line with the goals of the DREAM Act. “This Act seeks to increase our national interest by retaining our young people who may be children of illegal immigrants, in order to become educated and “want only to contribute to this country’s success,” commented Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
“Yesterday’s decision to review each immigrant status on a case by case basis – deporting only those illegal immigrants who pose a threat to our National Security – aide in the retention of our country’s most valuable and scarce resources,” stated Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

The Jim Crow lifestyle revealed

The Help is a riveting story about the social and responsibly conscious awakening of eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan in the early 1960s to the ugly world of racism that has been around her, her whole life. As an awkward white college graduate, single Southern woman who is looking for love and a way to jump start a literary career, Skeeter, forms an unusual friendship with a maid by the name of Abileen, who gives the impression of being subservient, and works for Skeeter’s friends, the Leefolt family.
Attempting to find a clever way to write a column in the local newspaper about domestic work, Skeeter, enlists the help of Abileen, for she has no experience in such matters. With questions about what happened to her own nurse and maid, Constantine, Skeeter, begins to dig into the world of the colored women who fix their meals, wash their clothes, clean their houses and raise the children of all the white families in their Mississippi town.
After realizing the cruelty of the Jim Crow South is front row center in her circle of friends, in their homes, at their bridge parties and at their civic club, Skeeter begins to question her friends and her attitude towards Negroes, especially their maids. With the drive to still write professionally, Skeeter, writes a publisher in New York pitching an idea for a book, that examines the feelings of the maids who take care and raise the families of white Southerns. Not realizing how dangerous this can become, Skeeter sets out to uncover the real truth about the women that is considered just the help.
This book, is full of story lines as the lives of the Holbrooks, the Leefolts, the Phelans and their maids all intertwine not leaving a single person untouched. It also, shows how helping someone can change the life of another just by sitting down and taking the time to talk and listen. The Help, draws the reader into the Jim Crow South and gives insight of the mindset of whites and blacks during that era. It also tells a story of how a black maid raised a young white girl to be a little less racist than her counterparts and how it affects her actions as an adult. Characters such as a Minny and Holly Holbrook and Celia, give the book so much color and depth as their personalities are extreme and complete opposites.
Fearful at times but determined, Skeeter and Abileen with the help of Minny, who is far more sassy than Abileen who had lost a son, and several other maids eventually after much prodding tell a powerful story of love, ownership, struggle, cruelty, and the families of Mississippi and the Help that’s behind it.
The Houston Sun gives this book 5 Suns and places it in the Sun’s Book