Harris County

Texas Proposition 3 and the Black church

By: Roy Douglas Malonson   The COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic still has people trying to figure out how to protect ourselves and our loved ones, whether we dine in or dine out at restaurants, and what buildings should remain open or closed. Texas Governor Greg Abbott became the center of scrutiny at the start of the schoolyear after mandating that students and staff NOT wear masks, and now, on the Nov. 2 ballot is Texas Proposition 3, which decides what rights houses of worships have. Do you know what Texas Proposition 3 is? Not many do, but you should. If voted into the Texas constitution, it will forbid state and local governments from limiting in-person gatherings regardless of threats to overall public health. This proposed constitutional amendment, if passed, would protect churches and places of worship, as well as religious organizations, from being shut down by the government like they were when the pandemic first struck. “I am in support of protections of our religious freedom,” said Rev. T. Leon Preston II, Yale Street Baptist Church. “Religious leaders should have the freedom of choice to determine whether we would shut down, based upon all knowledge and wisdom we gain from the medical experts. Leave that choice in our hands. “ Steven T. Collis, founding director of Texas’ Law and Religion Clinic, says Proposition 3 is designed to ensure states can’t close or limit churches the way many governing bodies did at the start of the pandemic to combat the spread of COVID-19. “There are almost no circumstances where government should be able to order the closing of a church, but a truly deadly pandemic would be one of them. The new statutory and constitutional language would remove any flexibility for government to close churches even if it did have a compelling interest, even if we faced a pandemic far deadlier than COVID,” Collis said.  “If people don’t think through the consequences at all, I suspect most church-going people will vote in favor of it,” Collis says. But what are the consequences? And for the Black community, how could it affect us? […]

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Deputy Kareem Atkins: Fallen hero

Harris County Precinct 4 Deputy Kareem Atkins, who was killed two weekends ago in an ambush shooting that wounded two other deputies, was laid to rest this week. The funeral service     was held at Champions Forest Baptist Church located on Stuebner Airline Rd, and he was buried at Klein Memorial Park in Tomball afterward. Words used to describe Atkins during the service included loving, loyal, dedicated and fun, with many echoing sentiments of him being a true leader who was friendly, had integrity and mentored many others. “It was something he always wanted to do since he was a kid,” his wife, Nadia Aweineh, said. “That’s all I ever heard about — that he couldn’t wait and that he’d do anything to get there. He made it.” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo declared Oct. 25 as “Kareem Atkins Day” during the service. On October 16, Deputy Atkins, Deputy Juqaim Barthen and Deputy Darrell Garret were working an extra shift at a north Houston bar when they encountered a robbery suspect. While they were focused on the suspect, a gunman armed with an AR-15 rifle opened fire on them. All three officers, who were considered best friends, were shot. Barthen, 26, and Garrett, 28, were wounded in the shooting. Garrett was shot in the back multiple times and underwent surgery at Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston. Both his kidneys and his gallbladder were removed, and one bullet struck his spine. Barthen joined Precinct 4 in September 2019. Garrett joined in March 2018. Atkins, who was 30 years old, had been working with Precinct 4 since January 2019. He had recently returned to duty from paternity leave. The couple had planned to take their children to Disney World in Florida the weekend he was killed. “I mean the fact he died the night before we were supposed to leave for Florida to take our kids to Disneyworld says everything,” Aweineh said. “It says exactly who he was as a dad and what he wanted for his kids.” The shooting remains under investigation by the Houston Police Department. Anyone with information regarding

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Time to VOTE!

Your money and your vote are the two most powerful tools you have control over. With early voting underway – ending on October 29 – we want to encourage you to continue to make your voices heard. Election Day is officially on November 2, and there is a lot at stake. Harris County residents will have district-specific ballot options, including a proposition to turn the Woodlands into a city, and a general election for the mayor of Baytown. City of Baytown, Mayor – General Election Candidates: Brandon Capetillo, David “Isick” Isaac and John Bryant Missouri City, District A Councilmember – General Election Candidates: Reginald Pearson, Bruce Zaborowski and Monica Riley THERE ARE ALSO IMPORTANT SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR. Texans will also be voting on eight constitutional amendments.  Here is a breakdown, as noted on the Texas Tribune. Proposition 1: rodeo raffles Proposition 1 would allow charitable raffles at rodeo events. Unauthorized raffles can be considered illegal gambling under Texas law. Proposition 2: tax financing for county infrastructure This amendment would authorize counties to issue bonds or notes to raise funds for transportation infrastructure in underdeveloped areas. Already, cities and towns have the authority to fund projects with this financing method.  Counties would repay these bonds by pledging increased property tax revenues, but these funds cannot be used for construction, maintenance or acquisition of toll roads. Proposition 3: restrictions on religious services If approved, Proposition 3 would ban the state from prohibiting or limiting religious services, including those in churches and other places of worship. But critics of the proposal worry the change could prevent the government from acting to protect people in future emergencies, such as evacuations and public health emergencies. Proposition 4: state judge eligibility Proposition 4 would require candidates to have 10 years of experience practicing law in Texas to be eligible for election to the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals or a Texas court of appeals. Currently, the law requires 10 years of experience but allows for out-of-state experience. Proposition 5: judicial misconduct process Proposition 5 would allow

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Elvin Franklin, Jr.: Stewardship in plain sight

By: Bruce Austin I attended a Harris Health’s naming of their new executive conference room to honor Harris Health Governing Board member Elvin Franklin, Jr. This was outstanding to listen to the details of the naming ceremony. He had served in a non-paid appointment. He was a successful businessman and had taken every opportunity to advance a much needed medical entity for the poor of Harris County. Mr. Franklin advocated system readiness in the largest county in Texas. He worked to create a public health system that was equipped to meet head on, the challenges faced in the modern medicine. I soon realized that the general public had no idea of Elvin Franklin’s contributions. It’s great when people take civic responsibility seriously. Thinking of this concept of “civic responsibility,” I found that term to be the active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focuses on the common good. This ceremony reminded me of a discussion of former members of the Supreme Court. They were disturbed that millions of American students and adults are unfamiliar with how their government works. In fact O’Connor emphasized that many states around the country are no longer teaching or requiring civics education for young people, young people become adults! How are we preparing future citizens came to mind. Mr. Franklin took responsibility to better the delivery of health care to those most in need. He took public responsibility. The district’s board affirmed that after his initial appointment, he served with distinction, dedication and commitment for a span of three decades. He championed Harris Health System’s strategic growth. His imprint is shown in the two well positioned hospitals in Harris County, 18 community health centers, the first in the nation HIV/AIDS treatment facility, same day clinics, homeless shelter clinics, school-based, specialty clinics, a dialysis center, dental center, and mobile immunization and medical outreach program. The Board took note of his actions in co-founding the Harris County Hospital District Foundation to benefit the Harris County Hospital District and residents. There were other accomplishments mentioned, but his

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Fight the Power

Last week, I was shopping for essentials at the local grocery store and the clerk gives me a receipt for $6.66. At jet-like speed, I told her to void this transaction as I was only mildly superstitious. Biblically, threescore, three hundred and six represents the number of the beast in the last days. Some scholars are sure that this number represented the Roman Empire that became a perpetual adversary to the beloved community. On September 1 of this year, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law 666 pieces of legislation designed to restrict voter rights, attack reproductive freedom and end abortion and persecute the transgender population. One of the pieces of this legislation seeks to prohibit the teaching of the Texas-Tulsa style riot and attack on Black communities in our public schools. In 1930, in Sherman, Texas a mad white mob destroyed this community and suppressed the knowledge about this attack. Let us look at the back story. Our local stalwart, Chris Hollins, former Harris Count clerk, spooked the anti-democratic forces. Along with the national fossils losing the House, Senate and Presidency and the local fossils losing Harris, Bexar, Dallas and Travis counties. Key Republicans such as Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick squeaked by in Harris County. Hollins supercharged voter participation through drive through, mail-in and drop boxes. The Democratic governor of California was recently facing a recall vote. He won handily and part of the refrain was, “Do you want California to become like Texas?” Texas leads the nation in child poverty and uninsured children. Three of the poorest urban areas in the country are in the great state of Texas. If your children grow poor in Texas, they are less likely to complete high school and successfully enter the world of work or college. They are more likely to enter the criminal justice system, use drugs, become a premature parent. For a poor parent, being poor in Texas is the hardest job in America. I hail from a poor state, Louisiana, but Texas takes the honors for POOR. Elections matter, LEADERSHIP matters. Trump won by

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COMMENTARY: Blacks are sitting ducks after Gov. Abbott lifts mask mandate

By: Roy Douglas Malonson   Greg Abbott has lost his damn mind! The Texas governor announced this week that Texas will be reopening at 100 % and he is lifting the mask mandate. With all of the statistics and everything going on, why would he choose to do that when we know that, not only

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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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