By TJ Baker
Photo credit: Earlie Hudnall
It’s more than a family affair, it’s a community involvement, and it’s a cultural on-going movement! Shape’s 50th Homecoming, “Come On Home – Founder’s Day” Celebrates Dr. Bill Lawson, who received the 1st honorable Chief Chairman Award.
Of course, I was surprised as to why Dr. Lawson would receive this award! Well, my surprise was because I didn’t know the beginning history of the SHAPE Community Center. Little did I know that it all started in the home of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, where Dr. Marcus Colby is now the current building pastor of this trailblazing – Holy Ghost – sanctified – angel stomping – phenomenal 3rd ward community corner church!
I was able to finally catch up with Mr. Deloyd T. Parker Jr., before the 50th Anniversary and he set me straight with fire and brimstones in his voice, when I asked him, “How have ‘YOU’ been able to hold this on-going inspired fort down?”
Deloyd Parker’s response was, “The most unique thing about our 50th anniversary, as with all of our anniversaries, it that it’s always in the community. Because we are the community, by no means why would we take our celebration outside of the community and give the money to somebody that does not resemble us over there and not have our best interest at heart? So we keep it in the hood – in the community and we have done that since day one and this celebration will take place on the new ground of the Emancipation Park. But that will just be phase one… SHAPE will be continuing to do their 50th Anniversary celebration all the way up until October/November. Family strengthening and empowerment, that what’s it’s all about. And let me get you straight right now, we are a family – I don’t have an ego to stroke! I don’t do it and I don’t let anyone else do it to me, because again we are a family, a team, just like a functional body. You can have a heart, but you have to have blood pumping into that heart, and the brain can’t do what it’s designed to do without the other functional parts of the body. So it’s not just me; it’s SHAPE’s triumph over – undivided teamwork and donated financial contributions from ten dollars to ten-thousand dollars that have kept SHAPE alive!”
I’m glad that I did attend the 50th Anniversary of the SHAPE Community Center because I mingled with a lot of dignitaries such as Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. She gave me an awesome commentary and shared more light on what had unfolded – along with that Five-Thousand dollar contribution that she brought in with her. “I’m walking among the history of the ancestors – SHAPE Community Center has been one step, based on community organization that has reminded us about connecting it to the continent in the Pan Africanism of African Americans. At the same time, it is installed and instilled in the young community the preciousness of their history, giving them the strength to carry on in the midst of sometimes very difficult issues in our community. This has produced through its strength and investment in young people, more than twenty-five thousand young people across the nation who will feel this indoctrination of positiveness. I am very grateful that SHAPE has produced such wonderful leaders and they were confident in their own history. They started caring and sharing and went willing forwardly to go out and help others who were misfortunate or whose voices can’t be heard. I am one of those leaders from SHAPE and I will continue to manifest my political goodness on helping the injured, those who suffer injustice, and the weak.”
Here’s what State Representative, Ron Reynolds, District 27, had to say on this memorable anniversary event. “I am proud to be here, sharing the celebration of Fifty phenomenal years of The SHAPE Community Center! I’ve always been a big supporter because SHAPE has been so much for the greater Houston community. Community lives have literally been changing and transforming people right there on Live Oak St, where SHAPE has been sitting for over forty years. Deloyd Parker has been responsible for the beautiful instrumental notes in Third-Ward of Houston, Texas. So it’s my pleasure to give personal thanks from Fort-Bend County all the way to the greater area of South-Houston. Without SHAPE a lot of people would not be standing on their own today. Without SHAPE a lot of people would not have hope or a purpose to live. Without SHAPE our community heritage in the State of Texas would be lost! So why not give people their flowers now – while they can still smell the roses. Deloyd Parker, from the bottom of my heart – thank you very much!”
City Council Dwight Boykins is a politician who doesn’t mess around when it comes to his community – not even the outskirts of his community – especially in keeping up with Texas Southern University political affairs. “Of course, I’m here to give my respect for this great and much-needed event and that is speaking of honoring Dr. Lawson. You see, a lot of folks don’t know that Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church started at Texas Southern University and was the strong voice of leading the way when it came to passing a lot of civil right laws back in the day. So Tj that’s another reason why you should be proud of TSU your alma-mater! From there a lot of programs were put in place, which is why SHAPE is humble of the accomplishments it has been able to triumph over.”
Speaking of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. Marcus Cosby shared this with African American News & Issues… “Tonight was very important for all of us to come together as a loving and honored community. We are celebrating not only Fifty years of accomplishments but loyalty also with on-going loving hands such as those belonging to Dr. Reverend Lawson. Fifty long years is a long time and our ancestors and today’s supporters are very proud of SHAPE and SHAPE will continue to embrace our youth to give them a sense of cultural community pride. This is how we as a people of color will not be broken; this is how we can never be shaken. Fostering and Promoting is the way of the longevity of goodness, morality, and success. This is how our legacy will continue!”
Last, but not least, let’s give a shout out to Mayor Turner for the Proclamation that SHAPE received. Deidra Ward, formerly of KTSU was the MC/Mistress of Ceremony for the event. Also, a shout out to the Honorable Judge Zinetta Burney and Playwright Thomas Meloncon with his beautiful wife for over forty years still by his side.