NAACP Houston Branch recently implemented its Quarterly Conversational Series (QCS) to feature and highlight expert speakers from around our city, region and country providing insights and strategies for addressing current political, social and economic inequities. In alignment with our NAACP National agenda, the QCS focuses its topics on issues to include, but not limited to, strategies on:
- Ensuring economic success, sustainable jobs and protection of workers’ rights
- Protection of rights for a fair criminal justice system
- Uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box
- Excellence in educational opportunities for all zip codes
- Increased awareness and engagement in disparate health and environmental issues
No better way to kick-off our QCS than with the trifecta of conversationalist: Mayor Sylvester Turner, Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Senator Borris Miles. And to top it off was to have the event perfectly moderated by our very own Branch President, Dr. James Douglas.
Executive Director Yolanda Smith opened the event with a warm welcome to the nearly 300 guest enjoying a full-course dinner (no hors d’oeuvres). Smith thanked our QCS sponsors and introduced NAACP Past Presidents (Rev. Reginald Lillie, Carolyn Scantlebury, Dr. Luckett Johnson, Carol Galloway) and National leadership (Howard Jefferson and Carmen Watkins). After recognizing and thanking our Houston Membership, Smith introduced Dr. Douglas who then introduced our Mayor and Commissioner (Senator Miles was slightly delayed having bills to vote on in the state legislature). After brief opening statements from both gentlemen, Dr. Douglas immediately commenced to questioning both Turner and Ellis focusing on Education and Criminal Justice. Senator Miles arrived shortly thereafter and quickly joined the discussion providing updates on activities in the legislative session. Dr. Douglas invited questions from the audience and literally the flood gates opened with two lines of attendees asking questions ranging from Flooding, SB6 (the Bathroom Bill), Pensions, Education, HISD Recapture (HISD having to give the state back millions of dollars), Homeless/Mental Health issues, to various Economic Development questions including the discussion of the city’s disparity study addressing the lack of diversity in city contracts.
The camaraderie between our mayor, commissioner and senator was undeniable and certainly added to the mini-comedy show as the three shared fond memories of their legislative history and anecdotal humor of the serious issues the audience questioned them about. Our Houston NAACP was blessed to have the fabulous support of our Houston corporate and educational community which always answers our call of partnering on important community initiatives. We wish to thank The Barbara Jordan/Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs on the campus of Texas Southern University (in particular: Dr. Michael O. Adams) for graciously serving as our event Title Sponsor. We also thank the event host, Houston Community College (more specifically: Trustee Dr. Carolyn Evans Shabazz and Chancellor Maldonado) for the generous sponsorship support of the facility and staff who helped to make the event seamless. But most of all, we thank our Houston NAACP Members for joining and participating in the QCS. Your support and willingness to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with our leadership made the event a huge success!
Photos of this event can be viewed at: Let’s Talk Houston Photos