By Shelley McKinley

Donna Blackshear-Reynolds is a federal treasure, currently serving as the Associate CFO for Organizational Development within the Office of the Chief Financial O cer at NASA, Johnson Space  Center (JSC), an organization of approximately 180 civil servants. Donna also serves as the senior JSC Ombudsman, appointed by the JSC Center Director and Lead for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility for the Agency OCFO organization of over 1200 civil servants at 10 NASA Centers. Donna Blackshear-Reynolds is also a local treasure, having graduated from Phillis Wheatley High School, grown up in the Fifth Ward Community, and raised by Hubert and Mattie Blackshear. Her mother, Mrs. Mattie Blackshear, a teacher for 41 years with the Houston
Independent School District and founder of the Scattergood Club of Houston, is included on a mural at the  corner of Lyons Ave. and Lockwood in honor of the work she did in the community alongside others. While a student at Wheatley HS, Blackshear-Reynolds petitioned to get Calculus as a course o ering, knowing that she and others needed it for college.

 is successful endeavor likely gave her the conconfidence to ask to enroll in an independent study class reserved for graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin, in order to work under
the direction of Barbara Jordan, who was an adjunct professor teaching in the LBJ School of Public A airs at the time. Every Wednesday Blackshear-Reynolds went to the Texas Capitol and sat in on hearings related to Health & Human Services. She would report back to Barbara Jordan on who was in favor and who was against an issue and interact with the Chair of the Health & Human Services Committee. “At that age I didn’t realize the significance of what I was doing,” commented Blackshear-Reynolds. “Although she knew my mother, Barbara Jordan was strictly business. She wanted reports that were concise yet compelling.” She received a grade of A in the class.

Donna Blackshear-Reynolds earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government with honors at the University of Texas where she was named 1 of 20 “Outstanding” students featured in the
UT Yearbook. As a Danforth fellow, she completed her Master of Public Administration at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and she has completed PhD coursework at the
University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance. While at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, BlackshearReynolds applied for the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. Each year, candidates apply to the program in e orts to be selected as Finalists. Finalists are then eligible for appointments as Fellows at a participating federal agency in order to grow professionally while serving the USA. As a PMF, Blackshear-Reynolds chose NASA JSC for her appointment to return to the Houston area to help her mother care for her father. “NASA was in Houston, so I could be close to my parents and work for a federal agency,” stated BlackshearReynolds Having had the experience of being a child in Hawaii on vacation with her parents while watching television to hear Neil Armstrong say “ at’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” on July 20, 1969, she is equally excited for Jeanette J. Epps, an African American female astronaut making her first trip into space as a member of Crew 8. Epps and her three crewmates will join the Expedition 70 and 71 crews for a planned six-month mission aboard the
space station to conduct more than 200 experiments.

Donna Blackshear-Reynolds was adopted at two-months old by the Blackshear family and grew up knowing that fact. therefore, her parents were older than those of her peers. BlackshearReynolds graduated in May 1981 with her Master’s degree at age 22 and in October of that same year, her father passed away. Blackshear-Reynolds has reconnected with her birth  family from the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis and is currently planning a family reunion for her birth family from several countries all over the world. “It’s not what happens to you. It’s
what you do next,” shared Blackshear Reynolds She feels extremely blessed for the parents who raised her, her birth family, and her immediate family which includes her husband Attorney
Rodney Reynolds; her daughter, Maria, a graduate of Yale University and UT Southwestern medical school, and currently a psychiatry resident at Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital Cambridge Health Alliance; and son, Evan, a graduate of Cornell University, post baccalaureate studies in psychology at the University of Houston and currently a PhD student in Clinical
Psychology at Northwestern University.

Beyond her family connections, she is also proud of what she has accomplished in the community. According to the NASA Roundup Reads (2017), JSC volunteers jumped into action at the
Port City Links’ annual Health, Education, Science Fair and Carnival at Sunnyside Park, south of downtown Houston. With Donna BlackshearReynolds at the helm as vice president
of Programs for the Port City Chapter of  the Links, Incorporated, which is a woman-run friendship and service organization focused on giving back to Houstonians.  The fair brought together
vendors from around Houston to deliver free fun, food and learning to children gathered for South Central Sportz’s (SCS’) spring baseball season opening day. SCS’ 15 youth baseball teams all call Sunnyside Park home, and the event also offered students across the community a chance to showcase their winning projects from a prestigious Port City Links science fair.

“I  rst saw an opportunity for us to host a fair as my own son and daughter participated in youth baseball at the park where all the teams are named for the Negro League,” BlackshearReynolds said. “As the event grew over the years, I was able to tie in my own work with NASA to the work the fair was doing. My favorite part of the event is being able to say to our attendees, ‘Here’s a judge, here’s a lawyer, here’s a businessperson and a NASA engineer. You can do anything you want with your life. You can come work for NASA!’”Special guests have included Harvard  classmate and Emeritus Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congressman Al Green, and many others.  e event was sponsored by former City Councilmembers Dwight Boykins and Wanda Adams,
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Paula Harris, the Astros Foundation, Schlumberger, A-Rocket Moving, Texas Southern University, and dozens of local businesses and community
leaders. Above all, the event highlighted the importance of diversity in STEM and sought to connect young people with role models and opportunities for teamwork. “Houston is one of the most diverse cities in America,” Blackshear-Reynolds said. “We must pull talent from all of our neighborhoods to lead human space exploration.” In response to a question concerning where she gets all of her energy to accomplish so much, she simply replies, “I get it from the Lord.”

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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

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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