Where Am I Safe

By: Laisha Harris

HOUSTON-Thursday, May 12, 80-100 rounds were fired at a nightclub near Inwood Apartments and a sleeping 12-year-old was shot. Ironically, nobody was killed in Houston on Friday the 13th. On Saturday, while Payton Gendron was livestreaming the racially motivated slaughter of innocent Black people at a Buffalo New York grocery store, we experienced our own losses due to gun violence. In East End, a young man shoots his girlfriend before turning the gun onto himself. Early Sunday morning, a 16-year-old was shot eight times near a shopping center on Westheimer. A mother and her 11-year-old son were shot in a drive-by shooting on Roth Forest Lane. By the afternoon, there were reports of mass shootings in South Carolina, California, and the Houston flea market. While we are entitled to the right to bear arms, gun violence is erupting, corrupting, and destroying our communities.

Last September, Texas legislatures changed the laws regarding carrying a firearm without a license. That means that if you are over the age of 21, you no longer need a license to carry (LTC) a handgun in a public place. In 2021, the city of Houston had 473 people killed by another person. This year, there have been more than 100 homicides within city limits. With COVID cases, gas prices and violent crimes on the rise, many are feeling much safer staying indoors. “I seriously have mixed feelings about going places right now. If I’m not feeling daunted by the police, I’m worried about getting shot by my own people,” says Antonia Hall. While Houston reacts to the racially motivated violence in Buffalo, we have to come to terms with what we are doing to our own people.

“People just get mad and start doing shooting. And it’s not always grown men or women, there are kids killing kids. How do they even get access to a gun?” asks Hall. We talked about 19-year-old Keandre Jackson who was arrested for the drive-by shooting of a mother and son. Two middle school kids get into an argument over a girl. Now, there’s an 11-year-old with a bullet lodged in his neck, possibly paralyzed from the waist down.  Earlier in May, an older man was shot and killed by teenagers on Fulton and Crosstimbers. “These kids are getting these guns from somewhere. They’re roaming the streets and wreaking havoc like there aren’t consequences to their actions. I can’t even say ‘where are their parents?’ because they probably see the road rage incidents or shooting of unarmed people and think they can get away with it.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner has expressed commitment to combat crime with the One Safe Houston crime reduction initiative. With this initiative, $44.6 million is being invested into the police departments, surveillance technology and improved lighting on stores and streets. Included in the plan would be a gun buy-back program to remove the abundance of illegal weapons off the streets. Mayor Turner and Houston Police Chief Troy Finner went to Washington D.C. where President Joe Biden recognized the impact of the One Safe Houston plan.

While these plans are initiatives, I am inclined to remind you that we get to choose who represents the values in our community. There are twice as many Republicans running than Democrats.  Tuesday, May 24 is election day for the primaries in Harris County. In the primary, we get to choose a representative to be on the November ballot. I implore you. Take your voice to the polls and vote. The lives of our children and the safety of our streets depends on it.

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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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