Coronavirus threatens 90-year legacy of Houston Defender

People and businesses everywhere are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Defender is no exception.

“We know when the world catches a cold, Black folks get pneumonia. And just like the coronavirus is hitting the Black community in disparate form, Black businesses like the Defender are in serious danger,” said Defender Publisher and CEO, Sonceria “Sonny” Messiah Jiles.

COVID-19 is impacting the Houston Defender, with advertisers canceling ads, account receivables coming to a halt, and all the federal applications for monies still pending responses. As the trusted source of the Black community in these challenging times, the Defender is struggling to keep the doors open, and therefore, turning to the public for help.

“Blacks have been hit the hardest with COVID-19 and the Defender is more important than ever to get the word to our community. Unfortunately, the Defender is feeling the pain also,” Jiles said. “That’s why we have launched a community-wide campaign asking you to make a tax-deductible contribution.”

Jiles has applied for both grants and loans through the Paycheck Protection Program and Small Business Administration – to no avail.

“I spent hours getting our paperwork in on the first day. But we’re still in limbo and awaiting a response,” Jiles said. “I’m especially concerned about my hard-working staff. We have had solid footing for decades and now faced with furloughing employees.”

Jiles is hoping the Donor Campaign can help keep the business afloat until the crisis is averted.

“We had a contingency plan to get us through the hard times and that’s what has carried us this far. But I don’t think anyone could’ve ever imagined that we’d be dealing with something like COVID-19,” Jiles said. “Any amount is appreciated. With you and the good Lord, the Defender legacy will continue.”

You can contribute at: Bit.ly/defendercovid.