By Omowale Lithuli Allen

Sadly, too late for Houston frontline activist…

Recently, 45 and POTUS (President of the United States) signed into law a criminal justice bill that provided relief for thousands of low-level offenders in the federal penal system. There are only 2.2 million people in jails and prisons in the United States.

In 1968, Lee Otis Johnson was sold 1 marijuana cigarette by an undercover Houston Police Officer and sentenced to 30 years in prison.  Before he was incarcerated, Lee Otis Johnson flew to issues of injustice and inequality and quickly became a gadfly and nemesis to the power structure.

At this time, our local police department was led by a “Bull Connor” styled police chief who had vowed to crush any disorder or rebellion by communities that went too far.  

Too far for Chief Hermann Short meant vigorous civil disobedience against Jim Crow attitudes and policies.  Police Chief Short was the third leg of an old corrupt order that encompassed Mayor Louie Welch and District Attorney Carol Vance.  The stool that they supported was the “good old boy” rulers, who were dedicated to maintain the Houston status quo, despite the winds of change sweeping America.

Lee Otis deteriorated in prison, but the same system that unjustly incarcerated him released him after four years.  A judge ruled that he should not have been tried in Houston.  While in prison, diabetes wrecked havoc on his personal health and he deceased after being released.

During his incarceration a few Free Lee Otis Committees multiplied around college campuses in Texas, most notably Texas Southern University.  Lee Otis was an activist leader with Friends of SNCC-Student Non-violent Coordination Committee.

There is a mountain of folklore and near ironclad evidence that Lee Otis was far from being a choir boy. Most of the insider activists were aware that he had a “Jones”.  Jones was a 60’s slang for a habit.  America lost 70,000 citizens in 2018 who over dosed because of a narcotic jones. National karma can be unforgiving. History is full of ironies. Referendums have passed nationwide to decriminalize marijuana.  Mega profits are being made for a new class of opportunistic entrepreneurs. 

 If you didn’t live through the 1960’s, it is not possible to wrap your mind around one solitary black man being sentenced to 30 years in prison because of one marijuana cigarette.  So much for the color-blindness and a level playing field. For a moment, The War on Drugs became the War on Lee Otis Johnson.


October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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