Category Archives: Front

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.”

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court three-judge panel in San Antonio ruled today 2-1 against Texas’ 2011 redistricting Texas House maps, which were superseded by new maps in 2013.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

Lawsuit Filed Charitable Feeding Ban Violates Religious Freedom

On April 12, last Wednesday night, Phillip Paul Bryant, a devote Christian, filed a lawsuit (Cause #2017-25049) contesting that Houston’s Charitable Feeding Ban violates his exercise of religious freedom. Bryant keeps cans of tuna and bottled water in his car and spontaneously gives food to the poor when Christ compels him to do so. The City of Houston, requires good Samaritans to get a permit to share food and water when they share it with more than five people. Bryant cannot get a permit because there is no specific location where he will share food. He cannot ask the City of Houston for a permit because he does not know in advance when Christ will compel him to share food and water.

Phillip Paul Bryant is represented by Eric Dick and Randall Kallinen.


Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee applauds the groundbreaking at the MLK, Jr. Plaza for the addition of iconic leaders Nelson Mandela, ROSA PARKS, and Barbara Jordan

“April 4th is the 49th Commemoration of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – a man who lived his entire life for peace and justice. And now we add more of those who fought for justice”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, and the new Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation released the following statement:

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has been an instrumental part of building the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza and statue beginning with the securing of funding through Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood who saw the vast amount of support throughout the Houston community which caused him to push for submission of funding in President Obama’s 2010 federal budget for almost a billion dollars for Houston Metro. This was the first time in Houston’s history to be placed into the President’s budget for transportation dollars for light rail.  “We witnessed the implementation and construction on the northeast and southeast lines which included construction along Martin Luther King Street that impacted a tree planted by Daddy Martin King in 1983 to honor his son Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to advocate for the naming of MLK Street. The tree became the nexus between Houston Metro and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza,” stated Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

“The voice and leadership behind the historical planting of the tree was the Black Heritage Society and one of the leading Civil Right advocates in Houston, Ovide Duncantel.  Most people did not know the history behind the tree, but it was Ovide Duncantel that brought Daddy King to Houston to ensure Houston was a part of the national story and a part of history.  It was around this time that it was determined the tree would have to be moved in order to build the light rail on the prescribed path.  After discussions with the city and Metro, it was finally agreed to move the tree to a new site in McGregor Park where the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza and statue were eventually built.  The tree was successfully moved and saved even after experiencing a severe drought, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza and statue were constructed with donations from all walks of life, including seventy-five thousand dollars secured from a major corporation.”

“Now we will add three more iconic figures who believed in Justice.  The ‘Icon Benches and Wall of Honor’saluting civil and human rights icons President Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and Barbara Jordan will further showcase their revolutionary lives and works.”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee will forever be associated with this remarkable project and memorial honoring some of our world’s greatest leaders.  “We look forward to bringing Nelson Mandela’s son Ndaba Mandela to Houston to celebrate the unveiling of these pioneers.”

Out of Resistance – A Powerful New Movement

“To mark and build upon the first 100 days of resistance to the Donald Trump presidency, People’s Action will be in the nation’s capital, convening more than 1,000 activist leaders from around the country. The People’s Action Founding Convention is where we will unveil a new political force comprised of people united against the Trump-Ryan-McConnell agenda and for a bold vision of an economy and democracy that work for everyone, not just the rich and powerful, big corporations, or purveyors of hate.”

CHEJ merged with People’s Action this year. Rise Up 2017 is the Founding Convention, as well as our collective Action of Resistance. Come join the movement! We need you there to take action, plan actions, and resist together!

At Rise Up 2017: April 23-25th in Washington, D.C. We will…

• Build a Long-Term Agenda that points the way to transformative change and guides our campaigns now
• Go on the offense at every level – from cities to statehouses to the halls of Congress
• Commit to stopping the attacks on people of color, immigrants, women, Muslims and others.
• Gather with friends and allies to celebrate what we have won and the movement we are building together
• Visit Congressional Reps. from your area and let them know you’re there – you’re part of a larger resistance movement – watching and ready to take action.

Pfizer and the National Newspaper Publishers Association Collaborate to Raise Awareness of Sickle Cell Disease and Need for Improved Patient Care Collaboration Aims to Educate on the IImportance of Clinical Trials in Developing Potential New Sickle Cell Disease Therapies

(BPRW) Pfizer and the National Newspaper Publishers Association Collaborate to Raise Awareness of Sickle Cell Disease and Need for Improved Patient Care Collaboration Aims to Educate on the Importance of Clinical Trials in Developing Potential New Sickle Cell Disease Therapies

(Black PR Wire) NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a trade association of more than 200 African-American–owned community newspapers from around the United States, are collaborating to raise awareness of sickle cell disease, a lifelong and debilitating genetic disorder that affects red blood cells.

People with rare diseases, like sickle cell disease, have unique and complex challenges. The first initiative under the collaboration will be a national poll, conducted in partnership with Howard University’s Interdisciplinary Research Team in Washington, DC. The goal is to assess the awareness of sickle cell disease, the challenges of living with the disease, and the importance of clinical trial participation in helping researchers succeed in developing potential new treatments. In a review of 174 sickle cell disease trials, difficulty enrolling patients was the stated cause in nearly half of the 30% of the trials that were terminated early.1

“This collaboration with Pfizer provides an opportunity for NNPA to inform and educate the readers of our 211-member Black-owned newspapers in more than 70 markets across the country on sickle cell disease, an often misunderstood disease that has a profound impact on the health and well-being of those affected,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., NNPA President. “Together with Pfizer, we look forward to providing sickle cell disease education that can underscore the importance of improving quality of care in the community.”

Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States, affecting nearly 100,000 Americans.2 Although it affects many different ethnic groups, the majority of people with sickle cell disease are of African descent.3 In the United States, sickle cell disease occurs in approximately 1 out of every 365 African-American births.4 Access to care and delivery of innovative treatments prove to be among the most significant challenges faced by people living with sickle cell disease in America.

“At Pfizer, we are committed to delivering life-changing therapies to people living with rare diseases, like sickle cell disease,” said Kevin Williams, Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer’s Rare Disease unit. “Our commitment also goes beyond clinical research to supporting the rare disease community through innovative collaborations. Working together, we hope to improve awareness and ultimately address the unmet medical needs of sickle cell disease patients.”

The poll results and information about sickle cell disease will be shared with the NNPA network and incorporated into educational programs at NNPA events. More information about sickle cell disease can be found at For more information about the NNPA, please visit

Lebensburger JD, Pair L, Hilliard L, et al. Systematic review of interventional sickle cell trials registered in Clin Trials. 2015:12(6);575-583.

Statement: Amended TrumpCare no Better Than Before: Americans Still Pay Much More For a Whole Lot Less  

Jackson Lee:  “This bill is a grab bag of goodies for the very rich, which comes at the expense of stripping health care from 24 million Americans and leaving 52 million Americans uninsured.”

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the House Budget Committee that marked up TrumpCare last Thursday, released the following statement in response to the analysis issued today by CBO finding that under the revised Republican health care repeal bill, Trumpcare 2.0, 24 million Americans will lose their health insurance by 2026 at which time a record 52 million Americans will be uninsured:

“The CBO score confirms what most Democrats already knew.  TrumpCare, even in its amended form, wages an unbridled assault on working and middle class families.  The Congressional Budget Office analysis confirms that TrumpCare raises premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs while pushing 24 million Americans off their health care and leaving a record 52 million Americans uninsured by 2026.  As bad as the original bill was, the Manager’s Amendment is crueler to Medicaid recipients while handing billions more to the richest Americans.

“TrumpCare is not consistent with our values and is beyond immoral.  The time has come to pull the plug on this disastrous bill that gives billions in tax breaks to the rich, while denying working Americans the quality health care they deserve. By an overwhelming 3-1 margin, Americans reject the Republicans #PayMoreForLess health plan ”

Sandra Bland Act discussed at press conference

AUSTIN – In front of the Supreme Court building on the north Capitol groundsThursday, March 2nd, Representative Garnet Coleman (D-147) and others held a press conference to discuss the filing of The Sandra Bland Act. The Sandra Bland Act aims to improve our criminal justice system to make Texas safer for everyone.

The Sandra Bland Act aims to improve our criminal justice system to make Texas safer for everyone. Bland was jailed on a highway in Waller County and later died in jail where the actions surrounding her death called a public outcry for justice.

City Pursues Strategies for Homeless, Panhandlers

Mayor Sylvester Turner on March 2nd announced what he termed  a more holistic approach to reducing homelessness and invited the community to help implement it.  The mayor’s plan involves expedited efforts to permanently house the homeless, more shelter beds, new public health and safety regulations and an anti-panhandling awareness campaign.

“Houston has achieved significant reductions in homelessness in recent years, but I am committed to doing even more,” said Mayor Turner.  “It is simply not acceptable for people to live on the streets; it is not good for them, and it is not good for the city.  We will tackle this complicated issue, and we will do it humanely with a meaningful approach that balances the needs of the homeless and the concerns of neighborhoods they impact.  We will need everyone’s patience and help to make it work.”

At the center of the mayor’s plan is expansion of The Way Home, the coordinated housing initiative of 100 public and private organizations that has reduced overall homelessness by 57 percent over the last five years.  Another 500 chronically homeless individuals will be placed in permanent supportive housing within six months.  Coupled with this aggressive goal, the community, often with direct city support, is continuing to invest in new permanent supportive housing units, but more apartments are still needed. The mayor is calling upon apartment owners and landlords with vacant units to step forward and be part of the solution.

Another 215 shelter beds will come online in August when the new Star of Hope campus on Reed Road is finished.  In addition, the city is pursuing creation of one or more secure and professionally managed covered outdoor spaces with restroom facilities where up to 75 individuals could stay temporarily.

“In this city, we are not going to abandon our most vulnerable,” said Turner.  “The goal is to get as many people as possible into permanent housing or shelters, but even with all of the assistance being offered, there will still be people who choose to stay on the streets.  It would be wrong to tell these people they cannot be here or there without providing a suitable alternative.  I am inviting the community and City Council to help identify locations in their districts we can use as temporary outdoor shelters and for feeding the hungry.”

The city will continue weekly cleanups of encampments to address health and safety concerns while the homeless are transitioning to shelters and permanent supportive housing. The Houston Police Department Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is expanding so there can be increased interaction and assistance for the homeless. Another component is a new ordinance outlawing tents on public property.  This ordinance will prohibit people from putting up tents but will not make it illegal to sleep outdoors.  There will be a 30-day transition period during which HPD’s HOT team will work to compassionately redirect people in encampments to housing alternatives.

“This is a best practice across the nation and is based on public health and safety concerns,” said Turner.  “We cannot have people setting up tent cities where there are no restrooms or other accommodations to meet basic human needs.  Not only is it unsanitary, but it also deters from the goal of getting people into permanent supportive housing.”

The Texas Department of Transportation is assisting by installing “no camping” signs at freeway underpasses and is working to allow the city to have access to the underpasses for parking and economic development, an idea Mayor Turner has wanted to pursue since seeing something similar during last year’s trade mission to Mexico City.

The mayor’s plan also takes aim at panhandling with a new ordinance prohibiting obstruction of roadways and an anti-panhandling media campaign involving TV, radio, print and social media ads, street signage, billboards and a way to donate to service organizations via text and online giving.  The campaign, which is being funded by 15 management districts, urges residents to help bring about “meaningful change” by donating their “spare change” directly to organizations that provide services.  The public awareness campaign will be coupled with a pilot program to connect panhandlers to employment opportunities.  The signs and ads are expected to be up and running within a month.

The mayor noted that a lot of homeless have mental health issues and have repeatedly fallen through the cracks of the social service system.  He stressed the importance of increased funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs and said that he had directed this issue to be added to the city’s legislative priorities in Austin.

“Our existing programs and the expanded ones I have outlined lead all major cities in dealing with a nationwide problem,” said Turner.  “This is a realistic, holistic approach that provides meaningful solutions.  By offering multiple choices and a little bit of tough love, we hope to convince more of our street population to get off the streets.  This plan also provides strategies for easing the pressure in neighborhoods.  We will never totally eliminate homelessness, but with the entire community’s help, we can reduce it even more.”

Six years ago, Houston had a homeless population of more than 8,500.  Today, that number has dropped to around 3,600.  Less than one-third of these people are living on the streets.  The rest take advantage of shelter beds.