Category Archives: Front

TX House Representative Dist.139­ Jarvis Johnson to Confer Community Awards & Speak on Mental Health ­ Saturday, October 8th

TX State Representative Jarvis Johnson candidly speaks saying, “Mental and emotional well­being is an important aspect of everyday living. We need to remove the stigma associated with mental health so intervention can occur at the onset.” The fast and frantic pace of society, sickness, death, unemployment, disability, divorce, break­ups, all has an impact on mental health. Yet, many African Americans find that mental health and mental illness are tough topics to discuss.

The Gulf Coast of Texas African American Family Support Conference will get the conversation started with the theme “Unveiling Masks: Real Conversations to Shatter Stigma, and Myths” on Saturday, October 8, 2016, 9:00 am to 2:30 pm at the United Way of Greater of Houston, 50 Waugh Drive Houston, Texas 77007.

The conference is coordinated by dedicated community stakeholders, one community leader stated, “Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, are real, common and treatable as well as recovery is possible. Another community leader, shared, Good mental health strengthens your ability to cope with everyday hassles and more serious crises and challenges.” Shalone Turner, 2015 conference attendee stated, “If it could be okay in society to talk about mental health, things could be different…” Shalone Turner The mission of GCTAAFSC is to strengthen the knowledge and skills of individuals with mental health, developmental disabilities, families, community members and professionals about available health care services by using culturally sensitive education supports and partnerships.

Conference Day:

The conference day will commence with an open plenary address by Dr. Shirley Price, followed by breakout sessions and will culminate at an Award’s Luncheon with Zina Garrison, former World Tennis, and Olympic Gold Medalist keynote address. Rep. Johnson will confer and extend the Flame of Inspiration Award to Destiny Richardson and Jerome Green. The conference will offer an informative exhibition area, free flu shot clinic sponsored by Walgreens Pharmacy, 12 workshop sessions on mental health, disability awareness and the conference will focus on individuals, families and the community with an emphasis on youth only sessions for ages 15­-24.

Bland family settles civil suit for $2 million

After the Sandra Bland family settled a wrongful death civil lawsuit,  for two million dollars, State Rep. Garnett Colman said, “I will file the Sandra Bland Act this upcoming session. The Sandra Bland Act will include her family’s wishes and recommendations that have been discussed at the House Committee on County Affairs’ oversight hearings that have risen out of the Sandra Bland case.

Additionally, Sandra Bland’s family’s Texas-based attorney Tom Rhodes will be speaking at the upcoming County Affairs hearing on September 20th, 2016.

Furr High Schools selected as super school in Houston

XQ: The Super School Project Announces Furr Institute for Innovative Thinking as One of 10 Winning Super Schools Out of Nearly 700 Proposals 
HOUSTON – Today, after a rigorous 11-month application and evaluation process, XQ Institute has announced winning Super Schools, including Houston-based team Furr Institute for Innovative Thinking (FIIT). Each school will be awarded $10 million over the next 5 years. All 10 schools will serve as catalysts for change, making high school more relevant, engaging and effective for every student, everywhere. 
“The Super School Project was born out of the conviction and commitment that every child from every background has a right to a quality education that prepares them for a future none of us can easily predict,” said Russlynn Ali, Chief Executive Officer of XQ Institute. “We are proud to partner with each of these 10 amazing teams who represent the power of communities coming together to restore the goals and excellence that the founders of our public schools envisioned.”
Furr Institute for Innovative Thinking is focused on relevant learning that addresses issues of social justice that impact students’ lives while empowering them to have a positive impact on their local community, and beyond. 
“We are so thankful and honored by this generous award,” said FIIT Principal and Team Lead Dr. Bertie Simmons. “Here at Furr, we have always been focused on creating greater opportunity for our students. Now, our whole community has come together to push ourselves further and co-create a new model for high school with our students at the helm. We are so excited for the coming year and to build a school that encourages and challenges our students to take ownership of their learning and empowers them to develop local solutions that lift their community and allow them to thrive and succeed.”


Furr has made significant progress in the past 15 years. Once plagued by violence, and seen as a “drop-out” factory by many, Furr has gone from a 57% graduation rate to 95% in 2015. Now, FIIT is taking the next step to ensure students not only graduate from high school but are deeply prepared to succeed in today’s world. FIIT will use highly localized learning—with the environmental issues that affect the local community as a frame—to connect students to their learning on a very personal level. Through this frame, FIIT seeks to engage students to learn core academic subjects by exploring their passions and empowering them to act as changemakers to solve problems affecting their community. A profile of the team can be found on the XQ website.
“Being involved in this process, not just as a student, but as a leader, has shown me that my voice matters,” said Furr High School Senior Jordan Davis. “I’m excited for this year and the chance we now have to actually build this school that we dreamed together—a school that not only excites students, but empowers us to take a stand for ourselves and our community.”
XQ: The Super School Project was born from a commitment made by Emerson Collective in July 2014 to find and develop the best designs for next generation high schools as part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Launched in September 2015, XQ: The Super School Project was an open call to America to meet the challenge of preparing our students for today’s world by dreaming, designing, and creating the next American high school. 
From its beginning, XQ: The Super School Project has asked communities to self-assemble, engage young people and offer ideas on how to create models that challenge students as critical thinkers to take on real world problems and have a positive impact on the world. 
In the coming months, the 10 teams, selected from nearly 700 submitted proposals, will begin building and implementing their Super School Designs.
For additional information about XQ: The Super School Project, or the selected Super School designs, contact Kacey Bonner at or 310-402-3013.


About XQ: The Super School Project:
XQ: The Super School Project launched in September 2015 as an open call to rethink and design the next American high school. Thousands of School Builders, and tens of thousands of supporters from towns and cities across all 50 states have united to take on this important work. Teams of students, teachers, parents, community leaders and many more came together to conceptualize innovative models for 21st century learning.
Since its launch, XQ has proven to be more than a challenge to create innovative high schools. It is a growing movement to reimagine what is possible for public education in America, and a hub for community voices, cutting edge ideas, and expert resources to create new pathways to success for students. For more information, visit, and follow us at @XQAmerica.
About XQ Institute:
XQ Institute is an organization dedicated to rethinking school in America in order to create new learning opportunities for young people and open up the possibilities of the wider world. The Institute’s board of directors is chaired by Laurene Powell Jobs, Chair of the Emerson Collective. The CEO and founder is Russlynn Ali, former Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, and Managing Director of Education at the Emerson Collective. For more information, visit

Keisha N. Brown (KB) named Executive VP, President and Chair of new health and wellness practice


LOS ANGELES — LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS (LC), a multicultural integrated marketing communications agency, announces the promotion of Keisha N. Brown (KB) to executive vice president and chair of the new Health and Wellness Practice. As chair of the practice, KB will drive creative solutions for all of the agency’s healthcare clients.  With more than two decades of healthcare experience working with clients on a local, regional and national level, LC is excited to launch their Health and Wellness Practice with a skilled professional that works across all disciplines and cultures.

“I look forward to leading the new Health and Wellness Practice at the agency and utilizing my experience and passion to make a difference in the lives of African Americans and Latinos,” said KB.  “I have worked on health care accounts for more than 20 years, and understand the challenges that impact behavioral change to make our communities healthier and people live longer.”

KB brings a wealth of experience, insight, and maturity to the Health and Wellness Practice. She has worked with corporate, not-for-profit and government clients, including American Cancer Society, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Novartis and the Office of National Control Drug Policy, to name a few. Relying on her keen understanding of health disparities and cultural nuances amongst African American and Hispanic communities, KB has successfully executed award-winning campaigns with multi-million dollar budgets and led multidisciplinary teams. She now manages the advertising and marketing account for Covered California, educating African American consumers about their services and maximizing the number of Californians enrolled in health insurance coverage. In addition, under KB’s leadership, the team will focus on entities such as hospitals, healthcare plans, not-for-profit, government, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies

“KB is the biggest success story of the agency’s internship program,” said Mr. Kim L. Hunter, President, and CEO of LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS. “She is the epitome of what an IMC specialist is and does. KB is one of the few communicators that has a good understanding of the three disciplines (advertising, marketing, and public relations) and how they intersect with one another to create a truly holistic campaign.”


As a 21-year veteran of the firm, KB is an integrated marketing communications specialist that has successfully executed integrated advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns for clients such as L.A. Care Health Plan, The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Martin Luther King Jr., Community Hospital.

Throughout her career, KB has been recognized for her work and expertise in multicultural communications. Most recently, the firm received the Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Association (HPRMA) Golden Advocate Award for the launch of the L.A. Care Covered

The campaign, a project headed by KB. Johnson Publications, the publishers of Ebony and Jet magazine, also named KB “One of the Most Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications” and PRWeek Magazine featured her in a roundtable discussion regarding diverse viewpoints on multicultural communications.

The Los Angeles native holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in business administration from Howard University in Washington, DC.



National Youth Commission Advocating for STEM Public Policy in Washington, DC

HOUSTON – September 8, 2016 –  The National C-STEM Youth Commission is traveling to Washington, DC September 14-18 to advocate for STEM Public Policy that impacts minority and female engagement in high-quality STEM programs during/after-school.  The C-STEM Youth Commission has formed ten months ago and consists of a group of (10) high school students from Houston, Texas and Detroit, Michigan.  The Youth Commissioners have been invited to brief The White House on their STEM white paper, “The Case for Implementing a Common Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Definition to Improve Upon Access to High-Quality Enrichment Programs for Minorities and Females”.  
While in Washington, DC, the Youth Commissioners will attend Congressional Black Caucus Foundations Annual Legislative Conference where they will participate in Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s STEM Brain Trust, “The STEM Melting Pot: Addressing the Importance of Diversity”.  Funding to support the Youth Commissioner’s STEM Public Policy Advocacy work is from a State Farm Youth Advisory Board Grant, Women’s Energy Network Houston, and Education Consulting Services, LLC.
STEM roles are growing twice the rate of all other jobs. According to Duke Fuqua School of Business (2016), there are currently 97 defined STEM occupations. Current economic forecasts, projects, that there will be 8.5 million NEW STEM jobs by 2020, however, there is no guarantee the talent will be available domestically to fill those jobs. Currently, only 40% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree within five years. Women now represent the largest percent of college graduates, however, less than 22% choose to pursue degrees in a STEM field.   Further, 60% of job openings now require basic STEM literacy, and 42% require advanced STEM skills. “The largest deficit in filling STEM job openings is the untapped potential and knowledge of minorities and females,” said Dr. Flowers.
Houston area State Farm Agent Tiffany Jones presented C-STEM Youth Commission with the $86,000 Youth Advisory Board grant that launched the program in 2015. Jones said the funds help the organization reach its goals to positively impact local youth; “The C-STEM Youth Commission project helps students gain a better understanding of STEM-focused education and pursue STEM-related careers. We’re proud to continue our support of those efforts through a State Farm Youth Advisory Board grant.”
“I am excited about the STEM public policy advocacy work being led by students on behalf of students. These are high school students who are currently experiencing STEM opportunities being offered at their schools and in their communities. Who better than they to share and advocate for improvements in STEM education on behalf of youth nationally.  The Youth Commissioners are very passionate about their work and I am looking forward to seeing them in action in Washington,” said Dr. Reagan Flowers, Founder, and CEO of C-STEM. 
Communication, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (C-STEM) is a Houston-based education nonprofit 501(c)(3) that provides hands-on, STEM-focused learning opportunities to underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged students in grades Pre-K through 12, professional training in STEM education, and internships for college/university students.
For more information on C-STEM, email us at
Founded in 2002, C-STEM Teacher and Student Support Services, Inc. has impacted more than 200,000 Pre K-12th-grade students nationally. The organization is dedicated to developing STEM talent pipelines, bolstering self-confidence, and fostering a well-rounded mastery of the areas of communication, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. C-STEM is closing the STEM academic achievement gap for students and the STEM skills development gap of teachers. For additional information, visit

2016 BOXTOROW HBCU Football Coaches Top 10 Coaches Poll Week 1

North Carolina A&T unanimous No. 1 with coaches in BOXTOROW Poll

The defending BOXTOROW national champion North Carolina A&T Aggies
received all 20 first-place votes in the BOXTOROW Coaches poll after the
first week of play.

N.C. A&T opened the season with a 62-0 beating of Saint Augustine’s on
Saturday. The Aggies outpace No. 2 Bethune-Cookman by 34 points.

Speaking of Bethune-Cookman, its matchup with Alcorn State in the
MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Sunday was supposed to help define week one and
poll rankings for both teams, but the game was canceled due to severe
weather and will not count for either.

Alcorn State sits at No. 3 in the poll.

Grambling and Prairie View A&M won its opening games and round out the top

Tennessee State is the only team in the bottom half of the poll to win in
week one, defeating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 44-0 and sits at No. 9 after not
being ranked in the preseason poll.

In its eighth season, the BOXTOROW HBCU FCS coaches poll is administered
by FROM THE PRESS BOX TO PRESS ROW and is voted on by the HBCU Football
Championship Subdivision coaches.

2016 BOXTOROW HBCU Football Coaches Top 10 Poll
Week 1
(Records through September 4, 2016)

No. Team W-L Pts. Preseason Poll
1. North Carolina A&T (20) 1-0 200 1
2. Bethune-Cookman 0-0 166 2
3. Alcorn State 0-0 160 3
4. Grambling State 1-0 130 5
5. Prairie View A&M 1-0 114 6
6. North Carolina Central 0-1 95 4
7. Alabama State 0-1 64 8
8. South Carolina State 0-1 60 7
9. Tennessee State 1-0 41 NR
10. Southern 0-1 38 9

Other receiving votes: Hampton (0-1) 15, Norfolk State (1-0) 9, Texas
Southern (0-1) 3, Morgan State (0-1) 2, Jackson State (0-1) 1.
(1st place votes in parentheses)