Category Archives: Community

Ruth Simmons, Ph.D. Named Interim President of Prairie View A&M University

Dr. Ruth Simmons, an accomplished university president with administrative experience in Ivy League schools, a women’s university and a historically black college, has been named interim President of Prairie View A&M University.

Dr. Simmons, who retired as president of Brown University in 2012, will assume her duties July 1, following the June 12 announcement by Prairie View A&M President George Wright that he is stepping down after 14 years to return to teaching history.

“We are fortunate to have such a high-caliber scholar and administrator who can step in without missing a beat,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “Dr. Simmons has been an important figure on the national stage for decades. She has the credentials to be the president of any university in America. I am so excited to have her join us.”

Dr. Simmons was President of Brown University from 2001 to 2012. When she retired from Brown University, she returned to her hometown of Houston where her family still lives. Prior to her time at Brown, she was President of Smith College, the nation’s largest women’s university; a Vice Provost at Princeton University; and a Provost at Spelman College, a historically black college.

Dr. Simmons, who attended the Houston public schools, attributed her education at Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans, as the pivotal opportunity in her life. She later got her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University.

“I was from a very poor family with 12 children, at a time when colleges were just desegregating,” Dr. Simmons said. “I know how important historically black colleges and universities are for kids like I was.”

Since retiring, Dr. Simmons said she had turned down other offers, but Prairie View A&M University appealed to her because of its history, its significance and its mission as well as the fact that her brother attended the university.

“I have deep roots in Texas, and I was looking for a way to do something helpful for my community,” she said.

It was important, Dr. Simmons said, to start before the fall semester. Her first order of business will be to meet with the university leadership and learn the issues facing the campus community.

“My task is to listen, and to learn as quickly as I can and get started as quickly as I can,” she said.


Passage of Sanctuary Cities by Texas House is A declaration of Racism toward Latinos and a disaster for Texas economy

“It is incredible that Governor Abbott and Texas legislators Are trying to eliminate the ability of elected officials’ to decide what are the best policies for their respective communities. This is an encroachment on the local control of elected officials who campaigned and were elected on their policy ideas and agenda.

The idea of the governor to take away funds that are used to go after drug traffickers, gun runners, money launders, human traffickers, etc. from local law enforcement leaders will actually make Texas and the USA less safe! Especially when independent study after independent study has proven that the increased deportation efforts did not reduce the crime rate!

Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a pathway to citizenship remains the true solution to our illegal immigration problems.”

The ‘anti-sanctuary city’ bill passed on a party-line vote of 93-54.


Austin, Texas – Today, Senate Bill 4 passed to engrossment on a vote of 93-54 after close to 16 hours of impassioned testimony.

Members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and Texas Legislative Black Caucus proposed numerous improving amendments and raised multiple points of order against the bill, but the course of the debate was largely steered by the Republican Caucus and its overwhelming majority.

State Representative Eddie Rodriguez issued the following statement regarding the debate and vote:

“The young children who testified in opposition to SB 4 before the House Committee on State Affairs returned for today’s floor debate.

“They arrived in the early morning to share their heartfelt stories with members who support SB 4, trying to appeal to their humanity. The children were blatantly ignored.

“I understand that many Republican members face pressure to cast votes in violation of their consciences. Speaking with those children, though, you get a sense of the awesome responsibility that we have as elected members of the Texas House of Representatives.

“Placing one’s selfish interest in reelection ahead of doing the right thing is worse than a good-faith vote for SB 4.

“I feel scared, sad, confused and angry along with all immigrant children tonight. My colleagues voted to condemn them to a life of fear and uncertainty, to hiding in the shadows and dreading the day their parents don’t come home from work. Worse, my colleagues wouldn’t even give them the time of day.

“I’ve opposed SB 4 from the beginning, using my voice to advocate for local control over policing policy from my district in Austin to the national stage. I refuse to be civil or ‘agree to disagree’ on SB 4 because the stakes are much too high.”

Houston black realtors sponsor community housing expo

HOUSTON –  Black real estate professionals are geared up to focus the nation’s attention on building Black wealth through homeownership. Realtist Week, April 22-29, 2017, established by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) in the early 1970s spotlights the important role Black homeownership plays in strengthening and stabilizing communities with a particular focus on the revitalization and desirability of the nation’s urban neighborhoods.

Throughout the country, NAREB’s local chapters are scheduling community events and activities that engage social, civic and business organizations, as well as the Black church community as part of NAREB’s focused effort to Build Black Wealth through Homeownership.  See attached Realtist Week agenda and Operations Red Day for Houston.

“NAREB has taken on the charge to encourage Black Americans to purchase homes as the first step toward building wealth. We have always aspired to be homeowners and live the American Dream.  Now is the time for us to turn that aspiration into reality; for ourselves, our families and for our future generations,” said Ron Cooper, NAREB president.

Black homeownership has been on a steady decline since 2004 when it reached its peak of nearly 50%.  Today, the Black homeownership rate hovers nationally, just below 42% compared to the non-Hispanic white homeownership rate of just above 72%.

“Our Realtist Week events in over 30 cities and more than 21 states demonstrates NAREB is at the forefront of Building Black Wealth Through Homeownership in the country,” stated Antoine M. Thompson, national executive director for NAREB.  Realtist Week also serves as a showcase for NAREB’s new 2 Million New Black Homeowners in 5 Years program initiated to reverse the wealth drain among Black Americans.

In Houston, Realtist Week activities heighten the community’s and policymakers’ awareness about the importance of affordable homeownership. Events started on last Saturday with “Walk The Talk” and Sunday with special church worship services and continue events at local schools, meetings with local officials, community service projects, and concluding on Saturday, April 29 with “Operation Red Day”, a community housing expo, being held at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Consumers can talk with financial education specialists; mortgage lenders; housing counselors; insurance experts, and representatives from local government to learn about first-time homebuyer and available down payment assistance programs.

For more detailed information about Realtist Week activities in Houston, call 713-551-2092 or . For more information on the Houston Black Real Estate Association contact the president, Kim Barnes-Henson at 713-742-2424 or We thank you in advance for your support and participation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Make Houston Affordable for All


 Jeffery S. Lowe, Ph.D.  Associate Professor (Left) Tom McCasland Director City of Houston Housing and Development Department (Right) Photo Credit: Tee Smith of  

By Tanuke smith

Midtown is a realtor’s playground. South of S.H. 288 all the way to Leland street, developers have purchased land in poor neighborhoods and gave the right away for builders to build. In Houston’s Third Ward; A three story townhome or Brownstone list in the low $300.000.00 per unit. A White-Collar Job, excellent credit and a hefty down payment would be the first three things the realtor would request upon completing the buyer’s contract.

Housing and Community Development of the City of Houston, Director, Tom McCasland stepped to the podium addressing Affordable Housing, and other housing concerns the audience had on their minds, on a March Thursday night At Texas Southern University’s McCoy Auditorium.

McCasland spoke on various topics that would benefit mothers with children between the ages of four through eight.  The Choice voucher program is an affordable housing voucher, which allows mothers to select housing in zip codes with excellent schools (none were given). Children between the ages of four and eight are at the critical stages of learning and should be educated in a stable learning environment, he said.

McCasland also spoke on tenets living in deplorable conditions. Landlords rent to low-income tenets earning millions of dollars in profits and are slow in reinvesting profits back into the homes of the tenets. The proof was provided via pictures cataloging backed up sewer lines in the restrooms, corroded pipes in kitchens and exposed electrical wires in bedrooms where children or senior citizens sleep.

Tom McCasland challenged the audience to called 311 if they are still living the effects of hurricane Ike, meaning if your home still has the blue tarp covering the roof.

“There is no time frame in when the city will no longer take applications.”  Said McCasland.

McCasland believes if the City of Houston invests $7,000.00 dollars in purchasing a new roof for your home, and fixing the roof is the only problem that’s causing a family to live in a deplorable condition, the city will fix that property, and would have saved a family from looking for another place to live.

For more information on Affordable Housing and any other housing, concerns contact: 311.






THS African American History Parade 2017

Left to right; top row:   President Austin Lane, Texas Southern University is the Grand Marshall, sitting on the top.  Mrs. Lane, passenger, and the Houston National Association of Corvette Association is the driver,  Deloyd Parker, Ex. Dir. Shape Community Center

Below: Parade participants are: Houston Southwest Can Academy and Dr. Ruth Hoffman-Lach

Photo Credit Tanuke Smith

Honoring History through the Streets of 3rd Ward

By Tanuke Smith

The Houston Sun foundation held its 2nd annual Black History parade, near the newly renovated and historic Emancipation park. On Saturday morning at approximately 10:30 am, parade participants formed a line on Tuam street facing Dowling.  Texas Southern University’s president Dr. Austin A. Lane, was the Grand Marshall. Mr. And Mrs. Lane greeted bystanders with smiles in an alluringly bright red convertible corvette.

Dozens of people flocked to the streets when they heard the music coming from the loudspeakers of the float, presented by the Houston Southwest Can Academy’s drill team.


Dressed in Pan African attire, community leader Deloyd Parker proudly raised his left fist and smiled as he optimistically greeted the crowd; members of the community clapped and whistled and cheered him on as he walked by.

“I lived in this community for over 25 years, and I am proud to say that brother Deloyd is a good man,” said Brenda Williams.

Bystanders near Dowling and Alabama removed their caps, hats, and other headgear as the grayish white van, pulling the trailer representing the Buffalo SoldiersMmuseum slowly rolled by. Douglass Johnson, and Calvin Woods high-fived one another as they spoke to the crowd saying” it’s been years’ scene we saw a real parade coming down Dowling.” Douglass shifted his eyes to the ground as he pondered on the last time he saw a parade routed down Dowling St.






Breaking News: Federal District Court rules redistricting map illegal

Today a federal court three-judge panel in San Antonio ruled today 2-1 against Texas’ 2011 redistricting Texas House maps, which were superseded by new maps in 2013.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office issued the following statement saying, “We respectfully disagree with the redistricting panel’s 2-1 decision. As Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith observed in his dissent, the challenge to the old 2011 maps are not only moot but ‘a finding that racial considerations were dominant and controlling defies everything about this record.’ Accordingly, we are confident we will ultimately prevail in this case.”