From left, U.S. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sylvia Garcia, fill boxes at the Houston Food Bank on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Texas on Friday, directing federal agencies to help in the recovery. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

THE EYES OF U.S. ARE UPON US

Even with the horrifying news that the U.S. has suffered over 500,000 (half a million) COVID-19 deaths, the eyes of the U.S. are upon us, as in the Lone Star State. For the past week and a half, every major news outlet (including SNL’s Weekend Update) has put Texas on blast for one reason or another.

Aswad Walker

The main issue: the record-breaking freeze that crippled an entire state, and the greed-filled state Republican leadership that led to millions without power and water, emerging only to receive outrageous electric bills. Then, there was the failure in leadership, decency, common sense and humanity displayed by Ted Cruz’s not-so-excellent adventure to Cancun while his constituents were freezing to death. Worse, he blamed his own fecklessness on his daughters.

But, instead of complaining, we need a new Texas Two-Step. Step one: holding state reps accountable for their selfish policies that are costing lives. Step two: developing an urban and rural strategy to maximize votes so we can finally turn Texas Blue.

HISTORY MOVEMENT

National eyes also spotted some good news coming out of the Lone Star State. Namely, HBCUs Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University adding to their historic legacies of service by providing housing, food, water and other supports not only for their students, but community members. Well done PVAMU and TSU.

And well-done congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee, Sylvia Garcia and NY’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for showing leadership by example through a crisis. And thanks AOC, for raising $3 million for Texas relief efforts. We see and appreciate you, even if Cruz and his cronies don’t.

Andra Day as Billie Holiday in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”Credit…Takashi Seida/Paramount Pictures/Hulu

Speaking of history, “Our Story” has been prominent via the latest and upcoming movies: “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” “Respect” (the Aretha Franklin film), “One Night in Miami,” “Just Mercy,” and others. Here’s hoping this string of powerful cinematic portrayals of our historic strivings opens eyes, hearts and minds tour greatness, and inspires us all to take a deeper dive into our rich legacy in this land and beyond.