Black Excellence. Black Opulence. Black Royalty. That was the vibe and energy in the room at REIGN. Gentlemen Noire and LaVie beautifully curated the night with precise detail and care which was evident when you walked into the room. Everyone was dressed to the nine in tailored suits and beautiful gowns that would make our ancestors proud.

It was everyone’s time to REIGN. Mission Accomplished. The Houston Caribbean Professionals Association’s (HCPA)Annual Scholarship Fundraiser was a glamourous tribute to grace and class. Henke and Pilot was the perfect venue to create the ambiance of a celebratory night of community achievements, culture, dance, art, and fashion. HCPA’s Education Committee’s goal is to raise $10,000 for their scholarship fund.

HCPA formed in 2016, is a non-profit organization of Caribbean-heritage individuals who look to connect with like-minded persons who are ready to challenge the status quo and commit to supporting, empowering, and celebrating members’ achievements while fostering sincere relationships that impact our Houston and their shared heritage communities abroad.

As an organization, they thrive because of its diverse origins. They represent islands from all over the Caribbean. Whether their stories began by birth “back home” or in the United States as the descendants of Caribbean immigrants, they share a rich and cultured legacy with a moral duty to teach, elevate, and preserve our heritage. They are also a diverse body of professionals and entrepreneurs from all sectors of employment who aim to inspire, leverage, and channel their interests and experience towards opportune areas of Caribbean impact. In response, the fundamental concept of synergy stands that as an organization they collectively grow in knowledge, expertise, and magnanimity because of individual member contributions.

According to one of their founding members, Sledge Leonidas, “Our mission is to support, connect and unite professionals of Caribbean heritage for the advancement of Caribbean communities domestic and abroad informs our trajectory as an organization. To that end, we have and will continue to initiate and champion initiatives across Greater Houston and the Caribbean that achieve meaningful humanitarian impact, positivity, and lasting bonds for years to come. So, in the ethos of one love and unity, we hope you join HCPA to connect and achieve the change you want to see reflected in our Caribbean community!”

Leonidas went on to say, “I founded the organization back in 2016. What started out as an endeavor to connect and network with Caribbean professionals via cultural activities (predominantly art and music) evolved into a non-profit that leverages and channels our diverse professional backgrounds towards creating and championing initiatives across the Greater Houston and international Caribbean communities. To date, we’ve stayed grounded and guided by our mission, which is to advance Caribbean communities both domestic and abroad, all while celebrating members’ achievements and fostering the relationships needed to continue this work. Our focus is largely centered on our Caribbean population; however, we do not exclude other populations from accessing our public-facing initiatives. Still, it is important to underscore that the primary reason behind the organization’s formation was the realization that our Houston Caribbean community was grossly underserved in opportunities around charitable outreach, scholastic achievement, civic engagement, and leisure. And so- fast forward six years later, we have transformed into this professional family of individuals from various islands who are committed to creating a more equitable environment of opportunities for our Caribbean population.”

We were excited to ask Mr. Leonidas to share three significant accomplishments that HCPA has achieved since its inception. “The Give to Serve initiative, our annual scholarship initiative, and a built network of professionals who volunteer support, and champion core organizational initiatives have been some of our most successful and impact accomplishments to date.”

He proudly expanded on each initiative:

Give to Serve is our charitable arm of the organization that was formed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundamentally, Give to Serve acts as a liaison between community partners, and provides a mechanism by which we can help our community’s most vulnerable fare better because of our community engagement efforts. Within this “arm,” we had our Annual Houston Cares event where we prepare and deliver warm plates to over 200 homeless in downtown Houston, and Bountiful blessings where we prepare and provide 25 food hampers (with turkeys) to vulnerable families. To date, we have provided over 2000 meals to Houston residents.

For the past six years, through our scholarship initiative, we have disbursed small scholarships to students with outstanding academic backgrounds, who so happen to experience financial hardships. The process of selection is rigorous and consist of a six-member panel who scores each package using a de-identified confidentiality process.

We also have civic-engagement initiatives throughout the year that our members are heavily engaged in. Some of these initiatives include our back-to-school drive, our powered to succeed series on financial empowerment and education advancement, etc.), our throughout-the-year food drives and an interview segment called Caribiz, which sheds a spotlight on Caribbean businesses –which, without the organization- would not have had a platform to amplify their entrepreneurial efforts. To date, the organization has raised over $20, 000 towards these efforts! To date, approximately ten students have benefited.”

According to Mr. Leonidas, HCPA has done substantial work abroad to help the countries of origin that your members. “We desire to elevate some of these causes to maximize impact and reach. We have supported orphanages and low-income families with financial support and school supplies in Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent, and Antigua. This year, we sent a couple of barrels of school supplies to Antiguan schools, helped set up a computer lab for a boy’s group home in Jamaica, and shipped Christmas gifts to Haiti and St. Vincent. In the coming year, we look forward to shipping literature books to Dominica’s public library, which Hurricane Maria destroyed in 2017.

We asked Mr. Leonidas about HCPA’s future goals. He responded, “There is unanimity amongst members that the focus should strongly be on civic engagement, charitable giving, and education initiatives. As a body of professionals, we have the opportunity to carve out a niche in the types of opportunities that we provide to our target population. And so, increasing the number of scholarships is key, as well as increasing the number of people in need and the homeless population we serve throughout the year. We would also like to engage a greater segment of our international community in accessing school supplies, clothing, and food resources. Lastly, as we expand our education platform, we see the need to engage our Caribbean community is still stigmatized topics, including mental health, sexual health, and financial aptitude (including being prepared for end-of-life care decisions). We have already created an outline of what these activities can look like and the timeline for completion.”

To learn more about the extraordinary work of the Houston Caribbean Professional Association (HCPA), check out their website at https://hcpassoc.org/.

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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 www.edwardsforhouston.com

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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