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TSU Maroon & Gray Affair raises over $1 million to bolster students

 

HOUSTON (April 30, 2018) – Texas Southern University (TSU) held its The Maroon and Gray Affair on Saturday, April 28 at the Marriott Marquis Houston and raised in $1 million in funding for deserving TSU students. More than 1,500 patrons were in attendance. Award-winning journalist Tamron Hall was the keynote speaker, entertainment was provided by R&B group En Vogue and comedian Billy Sorrells, a TSU alumnus, who served as the master of ceremonies along with KHOU-TV’s Great Day Houston host Deborah Duncan.  The Maroon & Gray Affair, a black-tie event in its second year, recognized two top students and two outstanding alumni. The gala was created by TSU President Austin A. Lane and TSU First Lady Loren Lane.

“The Texas Southern family joined together to salute our fantastic students and accomplished alumni. Our stakeholders and friends have partnered with TSU to meet our mission of standing as a comprehensive academic institution to guide our students in obtaining their degree of choice,” said TSU President Dr. Austin A. Lane.

TSU students Aaron Dallas and Camille Mills were honored for their academic and leadership. The Honorable Senfronia Thompson, State Representative D-141, and the Honorable Rodney Ellis, Harris County Commissioner for Precinct One, were recognized as this year’s alumni honorees.

“What a lovely evening as we gathered to support higher education,” said Mrs. Lane. “We know that the generosity of our guests will help TSU support these deserving students on their path to a better life.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner welcomed gala guests at the top of the evening. Tamron Hall, an Emmy-nominated journalist, former national news anchor for NBC News and current host of Deadline: Crime on the Investigation Discovery channel delivered keynote remarks. En Vogue, featuring Houston native Terry Ellis, performed a set of their R&B hits, including “Hold On,” “Free Your Mind,” “My Lovin’,” “Give Him Something He Can Feel” and their new Top 10 hit, “Rocket.”

“Our alumni, donors and major stakeholders delivered excellent support to the mission of our gala. All showed their complete dedication to assisting Texas Southern in closing the financial gap for our students,” said Melinda Spaulding, vice president for University Advancement.

ABOUT TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

Texas Southern University (TSU) is a comprehensive, metropolitan institution providing academic and research programs that address critical urban issues, and prepares its increasingly diverse student population to become a force for positive change in a global society. TSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees – organized into 10 colleges and schools on a 150-acre campus nestled in the heart of Houston’s historic Third Ward. The University’s enrollment has a population of 8,000 undergraduate and graduate-school academic candidates. Texas Southern has been a distinguished educational pioneer since 1927, and the University has become one of the most diverse and respected institutions in Texas. TSU has positioned itself as a proactive leader in

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Commissioner Ellis Applauds Appeals Court Ruling on Bail Case

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis applauded a federal appeals court that ruled Wednesday the county’s wealth-based bail policy violates the Constitution because it jails misdemeanor defendants simply because they cannot pay money bail.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals largely ruled against Harris County in an appeal that the county brought in O’Donnell v. Harris County. In an opinion drafted by Judge Edith Brown Clement, the appellate court held, “We are satisfied that the court had sufficient evidence to conclude that Harris County’s use of secured bail violated equal protection.”

The panel also dismissed Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez from the lawsuit and directed U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal to craft a narrower injunction.  However, the appeals court judges held that the county must follow Judge Rosenthal’s injunctive procedures until she crafts new procedures that more directly address the constitutional violations.

“With this decision, the conservative 5th Circuit is telling Harris County that it’s unconstitutional to have two justice systems: one for the rich and one for the poor,” Commissioner Ellis said.  “Yet Harris County has already spent more than $5 million defending a morally and legally indefensible bail system that violates the Constitution and punishes people simply because they are poor. The ruling is a significant victory for justice and offers further proof that it is time for Harris County to settle this lawsuit and enact meaningful reforms that treat all people equally and fairly under the law.”

Judge Rosenthal entered a preliminary injunction against Harris County last April after finding that the county treats indigent misdemeanor defendants unequally solely because they cannot afford money bail.  She further found that Harris County’s pretrial detention procedures for misdemeanor cases lack due process because defendants are not informed of the significance of being able to afford money bail.  Her preliminary injunction required Sheriff Gonzalez to release indigent misdemeanor defendants within 24 hours of arrest if they could not afford to post a money bond.

The bail lawsuit was filed in May 2016 by Maranda Lynn O’Donnell, who spent more than two days in jail because she could not afford $2,500 bond after being arrested on charges of driving with an invalid license.  Her lawsuit was merged with another lawsuit filed by two misdemeanor defendants, Loetha Shanta McGruder and Robert Ryan Ford, who were locked up when they could not afford money bail.

Last year, Commissioner Ellis filed an amicus brief in Judge Rosenthal’s court that discussed Harris County’s history of discriminatory treatment of poor defendants of color and that agreed with the O’Donnell plaintiffs’ assertions that the bail scheme is unconstitutional.

In addition to Judge Clement, the three-judge panel that ruled on the county’s appeal also consisted of Edward Prado and Catharina Haynes.  The county now can seek permission for rehearing of its appeal by that panel or to have its appeal heard by all the judges on the 5th Circuit.  It also can seek permission to have the 5th Circuit’s decision reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Rosenthal stated in her April order that she would schedule a trial on the merits of the lawsuit, but also warned that the plaintiffs have a great likelihood of winning that trial.  The trial is expected to be scheduled soon.

Commissioner Ellis stated, “With regard to the remedy, I am confident that once additional evidence has been presented, the federal courts will implement a bail system in Harris County that protects the constitutional rights of everyone.”

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Houston Black Real Estate Association celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Fair Housing Act during Its Annual “Realtist” Week, April 14 -21, 2018

 

Houston Realtists Focus on Growing Black Wealth Through Homeownership

Houston, Texas……… The Houston Black Real Estate Association, (HBREA) a local chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the country’s oldest, minority real estate trade association is planning a week-long series of events, April 14-21, 2018 in observance of the trade association’s dedication to increasing Black wealth through homeownership. This year, the association celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.

In 1968, NAREB were the catalysts in bringing forward the ultimate lawsuit against the United States government that resulted in legislation of the Fair Housing Act.  Without this Legislation, hundreds of Black families would still face the multitude of racism and discrimination. Culminating the 50th Anniversary, Realtists will meet with policymakers and elected officials to ensure that affordable and sustainable homeownership is supported legislatively, through regulatory or other city planning means.

HBREA chapter president Kimberley Barnes-Henson says, “Our efforts will seek to educate and inspire the public about the never-ending struggle for equality, Democracy in Housing, and NAREB/HBREA role in the landmark effort. We fully understand de-facto desegregation and institutional racism remains a pervasive problem throughout the United States. Thus, as we illuminate the accomplishments of the last 50th years, we ask everyone to join in our current efforts to increase Black homeownership, and improve social and economic conditions for all disenfranchised people.”

Homeownership for Black Americans has been on a steady decline since 2004 when it reached its peak of nearly 50%.  As of the fourth quarter ending 2017 as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Black homeownership rate hovered nationally at 42.1% compared to the non-Hispanic White homeownership rate of just above 72.7%”.

As a result of these staggering numbers of Black homeownership “Realtist“ Week was created to combat the differences.  President Barnes-Henson further says, “Realists” Week events and activities raise awareness that Black homeownership not only strengthens the economic fabric of our city, but also increases the desirability of Houston’s many neighborhoods”.

For more information regarding sponsorship and participation, contact HBREA, 713-551-2092.  For media inquiry and to set-up interviews, contact Foston International, 866-922-2544 or jfoston@fostoninternational.com.

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Commissioner Ellis, Mayor Turner Announce $30 Million Project to Repair Streets in TSU-UH Corridor

                                    

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on March 13announced a joint agreement in which Precinct One will pay $30 million to improve seven streets in the University of Houston-Texas Southern University corridor.

“This is a great example of how Harris County can innovatively and strategically partner with the City of Houston, our universities and other entities to improve mobility, safety and quality of life for all residents,” Precinct One Commissioner Ellis said. “Precinct One is looking forward to supporting TSU and UH, and the entire Third Ward community through this project.”

Earlier on March 13, Commissioners Court voted to negotiate with two engineering firms that will develop the scope of the work.

Dubbed “Complete Streets” project, the improvements dovetail with Mayor Turner’s Complete Communities program, which involves improving Third Ward and four other neighborhoods that have been under-resourced for many years.

“Now I’m excited to see that the Commissioner is bringing safer, more attractive streets to this community of twin universities,” Mayor Turner said. “… If the improvements in these areas were just relying on the city, they would be highly incomplete. I want to thank him for this spirit of collaboration and cooperation with the city utilizing resources at his disposal in order to address many of the needs within the city and within Harris County.”

Precinct One is committing $15 million to improve infrastructure near TSU and another $15 million to projects around UH.

The goal is to create streets that are attractive and a source of neighborhood pride, while improving safety and accessibility to all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.

In addition to roadway work, the project also includes drainage improvements, which will help reduce street flooding during heavy rain.

“This is a win-win opportunity for everyone,” Commissioner Ellis said. “Pedestrian and bike-friendly streets bring neighbors together and encourage healthy activity. I also hope that these improvements will help attract new businesses and jobs for communities in Third Ward.”

Councilman Dwight Boykins, whose District D includes Third Ward, also praised the city-county partnership.

“Given Houston’s revenue cap, it’s crucial that we lean on different partners to find innovative ways to access desperately needed dollars to support our infrastructure,” Boykins said. “As history has shown us, a collaboration between the county and the city in these matters often falls short of what we need to get this job done. That’s why I’m appreciative of the efforts of Commissioner Rodney Ellis and my friend, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who have brought $30 million into my district.”

The streets in the TSU area are Cleburne (Emancipation to Scott); Blodgett (Scott to Ennis); and Attucks (Cleburne to Wheeler).

The streets near UH are Cullen (Interstate 45 to North MacGregor); Wheeler (Cullen to Scott); Elgin (Scott to I-45); and Holman (Scott to Cullen).

“This project will significantly enhance the gateways into these great institutions by creating a beautiful streetscape for students and residents,” Commissioner Ellis said. “The improvements also will help hundreds of Houston residents who attend classes and work at the universities.”

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EMILY’s List Statement on Democratic Primary Results in Texas’ 29th Congressional District

Sylvia Garcia, 67 wins Democratic Primary for the 29th Congressional District


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, congratulated Sylvia Garcia on tonight’s primary election results in Texas’ 29th Congressional District. Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, released the following statement:

“Sylvia Garcia has dedicated her career to leveling the playing field for hardworking families, and her victory tonight is a sign that Texas voters are ready to elect strong women leaders who will fight for middle-class economic opportunity and hold the Trump administration accountable.”

“The EMILY’s List community was proud to support Sylvia Garcia during the primary and will continue to stand with her as she moves another step closer to making history as one of the first Latinas elected to Congress from Texas.”

During the primary, EMILY’s List’s voter mobilization and education project, WOMEN VOTE!, launched a bilingual digital program in support of Sylvia Garcia.

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $500 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making them one of the most successful political organizations ever. Our grassroots community of over five million members helps Democratic women wage competitive campaigns – and win. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research the issues that impact women and families, and turn out women voters. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect 116 women to the House, 23 to the Senate, 12 governors, and over 800 to state and local office. Forty percent of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Since the 2016 election, thousands of women and counting have reached out to us about running for office. To harness this energy, EMILY’s List has launched Run to Win, an unprecedented effort to get more women to run at the local, state, and national levels.

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Hurricane Harvey Photos

If you have great photos of Hurricane Harvey, share them with the Houston Sun and we will publish them and give you photo credit.

Send photos and include the title, place, and a description of what is happening. Send to: sunphotos@houstonsun.com. Include your name, address, and phone number.

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FEMA Claims Link

The link below is for Houston Sun’s readers’ use. If you have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey, this link should be beneficial.

https://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance

Since 1983, The Houston Sun brings you new and information that you can use and trust.

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Houston League sets up Harvey Care Fund, requests donations

Responding to the devastation of the epic and historic Hurricane Harvey, the Houston League of BUsiness and Professional Women, Inc in collaboration with The Houston Sun has established a three tier HLBPW Harvey Care Initiative. To that end, the Houston League during the conference call explored the following:

  1. Ways to Support and Engage is Hurricane Harvey Welfare, Safety, and Care Actions
  2. Establish an Official Fundraiser Process for Hurricane Harvey Donations
  3. Collection and Delivery of Supplies for residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

It was decided to implement the above three initiatives and call upon all members, friends, organizations, the general public, and partners to support those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

a.    Collect, organize, label, bag your supplies, books, toys, games,  and deliver them to the Sun or prepared to caravan to the George R. Brown or an official shelter. Organize Clothing items by size, gender; items for children, and babies. Place items in separate labeled bags and deliver to the Houston Sun, 1520 Isabella St. 77004 beginning Wednesday-Friday, from 4-6 PM,  providing it is safe for you to travel. Used clothing should be gently used and clean.

b.    Participate in the  Houston League’s Care Initiative by emailing and posting to your social media Send donors to:hlbpwharveycare@gmail.com to make contributions using PayPal. Those contributions will be distributed as follows: First, Impacted African American Small Business; secondly, Texas Southern University Beta PSI and thirdly, Family with Children.   “All funds are tax deductible and will go to businesses and families that have been vetted by the Houston League of BPW,” said Dorris Ellis, Publisher Editor of the Houston Sun and President of the Houston League of Business and Professional Women, Inc.

About the Houston League

The Houston League was organized in 1964 by Mrs. Luellia W. Harrsion as an affiliate of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. Its purpose is to:

  • To promote and protect the interest of business and professional women; to create good fellowship among them;
  • To direct the interest of Business and Professional Women toward united action for improved social and civic conditions;
  • To recognize achievements of business and professional women and to preserve the history of these achievements, that all people may be informed and that our young people may know their heritage and be inspired,
  • To develop youth through leadership, and

 To seek and create job opportunities.