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Statesman Nelson Mandela dead at 95

Nelson Mandela dead at 95.
Nelson Mandela dead at 95.

By: Sheila Ray-Reed

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, who served 27 years in prison for his stance against white minority rule in South Africa has died at the age of 95. The announcement was made by South African president Jacob Zuma, who said in a nationally televised address,” Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.” The anti-apartheid trailblazer has been in failing health for months.

​He is being remembered as one of the world’s most revered statesmen who led the struggle to replace the white racist apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy.

President Obama had once described Mandela as a personal hero when he was a law school student and said he was inspired by him. “It gave me a sense of what is possible in the world when righteous people, when people of good will, work together on behalf of a larger cause,” said Obama.

​Born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in Transkei, South Africa, he joined the ANC (African National Congress) and fought apartheid. He was eventually arrested and charged with attempting to overthrow the government. During his trial Mandela expressed his beliefs about democracy, freedom and equality.

​In 1964 he was sentenced to life in prison. Mandela said, “In prison, you come face to face with time. There is nothing more terrifying.” Mandela termed his years in prison as the “long, lonely, wasted years. By the time he turned 70, he was the world’s most famous political prisoner.

​Bowing to international pressure in 1990, South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC and released Mandela from prison. In 1994, Mandela became president of South African serving from 1994 to 1999.

​In 1999, Mandela came to Houston to deliver his views on world affairs during a speech at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. Dorris Ellis, Publisher of The Houston Sun recalls meeting him on that visit. “The Houston Sun covered the Apartheid Movement with numerous stories where local anti-apartheid activist such as Ada Edwards keep it on the front burner,” said Ellis.

​“During the reception at Rice University, I thank him for his service. I saw him as a very focus humane leader who understood the significance of his work and the impact it had on the world. He knew his place in history,” Ellis said.

​The Rev. Bill Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church traveled to South Africa and had an opportunity to meet Mandela. He says he was struck by Mandela’s inner strength which he believes allowed him to survive being imprisoned for fighting white minority rule.

​Mandela had been hospitalized in Pretoria in early June, after a series of lung infections that may have been related to his bout with tuberculosis while in prison a quarter-century ago. Once released from the hospital, he had live in a sterilized environment at home. A team of doctors attended to him around the clock.​

​Nelson Mandela is survived by his wife Graca Machel, his former wife, Winnie Mandela and three daughters Pumla Makaziwe, Zenani Mandela and Zindziswa Mandela.

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Twelve Years A Slave Movie Review

Written By: Allanti Ford/ Houston Sun Intern

12 yrs
The heart stopping film, Twelve Years a Slave is the first Hollywood film based on a true story of a slave who actually lived through slavery. Film director, Steve McQueen, formed not only a film that was challenging but reality.

The American historical drama was an adaptation of the autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup (1853). Northup was a free black man who lived in Washington D.C who was deceived into a kidnapping and sold to slavery in 1841.The film has several brutal and emotional main points that cover a crucial, yet ignored period in U.S. history.

Imagine being a free respected man who has achieved goals, a family to share them with, and an established household; and one day everything is taken away including one’s identity and rights. Solomon Northup was known as an outstanding violinist, whose talent provided a comfortable lifestyle for self and family.

One day in Washington he was bamboozled by two foreigners and sold off into slavery down South. There he was shipped away to be sold to slave owners with other freed African Americans for twelve years. During those years, Solomon experienced ruthless thrashings, flagellations and torment as if he was an animal.

Solomon could have easily lost hope, but he ultimately found his way back to freedom. He made it back to his family to begin a new life and make up for the years he had lost, and wrote a book on the time he served in Louisiana on the three plantations.
British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, did an awesome job playing the role as Solomon Northup. He certainly deserves an Oscar for his award winning performance.

The role of Solomon Northup was not a tranquil task to accomplish. It takes a strong minded individual to fulfill the situations and experiences Solomon Northup once experienced.

This powerful film was very informative of the ugliness U.S. history holds; regardless of how very sensitive, emotional, and heart breaking it is to the delicate sense. Twelve Years a Slave justifies 5-Stars and it is recommended that one must go and perceived.

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School Choice Fairs Scheduled Across Houston

The Houston Independent School District is hosting several school choice fairs across the district to inform parents of the different educational choices available to their children as they transition into middle and high school.

“HISD offers excellent opportunities to meet your child’s needs, challenge their thinking, and develop their skills,” said Dave Wheat, HISD assistant superintendent for school choice. “But most importantly, we prepare them for success in college and their careers.”

Representatives from HISD’s middle and high school magnet programs will be on site to answer questions about the new online application option and assist parents in making the best school choice for their children.

Information will also be provided on HISD’s specialty programs including early college high schools, multilingual programs, new Futures Academies, and other school choices to meet the unique needs, talents, and interests of every child. These schools are open to all children, including those who live outside HISD.

Magnet applications for the 2014-2015 school year will be accepted from Nov. 4 to Dec. 20, 2013 for guaranteed consideration in the first round of applicants.

For more information, contact the Office of School Choice at 713-556-6947 or visit HISD School Choice fairs will be from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the following locations:

(School Choice Fairs for elementary school students transitioning to middle school in 2014-2015)
Oct. 15: Whidby Elementary School, 7625 Springhill
Oct. 22: Crespo Elementary School, 7500 Office City
Nov. 5: Walnut Bend Elementary School, 10620 Briar Forest
Nov. 12: Roberts Elementary School, 6000 Greenbriar
Nov. 19: Shadydale Elementary School, 5909 Tidwell
(School Choice Fairs for middle school students transitioning to high school in 2014-2015)

Oct. 17: Dowling Middle School, 14000 Stancliff
Oct. 24: Stevenson Middle School, 9595 Winkler
Nov. 7: Revere Middle School, 10502 Briar Forest
Nov. 14: Pin Oak Middle School, 4601 Glenmont
Nov. 21: Forest Brook Middle School, 7525 Tidwell

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Police Officers to Mentor Fifth-Graders at Nine Schools

Additional HISD police officers will be joining METRO and Houston police to continue to serve as mentors to students at nine elementary schools this school year as part of the district’s law-enforcement mentorship program. The program, which was launched in 2012, focuses on students at the middle-school level. The year, officers will mentor fifth-graders who are identified as “at-risk” because of an incarcerated parent, involvement in gang activity, or chronic attendance issues.

“Last year’s program was very successful, but we realized the need to start reaching out to kids at an earlier age, before they are tempted to go down the wrong path,” said HISD Police Lt. Guadalupe Jimenez.

Jimenez and more than 20 HISD, HPD, and METRO police officers will be meeting several hours a week with students. The goal is not only to facilitate a better relationship among children and law-enforcement officers but to provide guidance and support. The officers will also teach important values such as trust, honesty, and teamwork.

“It’s extremely important for all law-enforcement agencies to get involved with the community and the people we serve, and I think this mentorship program is a great, innovative way to do that,” said METRO Police Department Chief Victor Rodriguez.