Ash-Lee Woodard-Henderson.
Ash-Lee Woodard-Henderson. Photo by Steven Pargett/Militia Design

Rep. Jarvis Johnson files bill to abolish Confederate Heroes’ Day

Texas is one of ten states that has a Confederate memorial state holiday, and sometimes it also lands on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Now, Houston-area state representative from the Houston area wants to pass a bill to get rid of the holiday altogether. Confederate Heroes’ Day is not a well-known holiday, but it’s been on the state books since 1973. It’s on Jan. 19, Confederate General Robert E Lee’s birthday, often falling on MLK Day, the third Monday in January. It was established to honor the more than a quarter million Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. This is the third time, Johnson of Harris County has filed HB 51 to abolish the state holiday and says he’s certain that this legislative session he will get the bill passed.

“I think it’s high time that we embrace that there may have been an ugly past in this state – that there have been things in this state, in this country that have harmed and hurt a lot of people, but at no point should we be sympathizers with them. To say that they did something noble and honorable when they actually were very vile to people of color,” Rep. Johnson says, calling the day divisive. He adds some may defend it in the name of heritage, but they are embracing “racism and segregation.”

Housing authority opens application process

For the first time since 2018, the Houston Housing Authority’s affordable housing program waitlist is accepting applications. The HHA’s Public Housing program provides rental apartments for eligible low-moderate-income individuals, families, the elderly, and those with disabilities. There are a variety of housing options available, including a range of unit sizes and building types, such as single-story, mid-rise, and senior high-rise apartments, according to the HHA. You can apply online at https://housingforhouston.com/residents/public-housing/public-housing-waitlist/ or go in person to their office for a paper application.

HISD Board of Education elects new officers for 2023

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education has elected new officers for 2023, selecting District III Trustee Dani Hernandez as Board President. Outgoing Board President Judith Cruz transferred the gavel to Hernandez, signifying the change in office. Remaining officers elected for 2023 are: First Vice President Myrna Guidry, Second Vice President Bridget Wade, Secretary Kendall Baker, and Assistant Secretary Kathy Blueford-Daniels.

Ash-Lee Henderson named PVAMU’s new Activist-in-Residence

Prairie View A&M University welcomes Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson as its 2022-2023 Activist-in-Residence. Henderson, a long-time community organizer and the first Black woman to serve as co-executive director of the Highlander Research and Education Center (a social justice leadership training school and cultural center in Tennessee), brings a unique perspective on the needs of rural Black communities. She’s earned a reputation as a highly respected thought leader and changemaker. As a proud, working-class Affrilachian (Black Appalachian) woman born and raised in the south, she’s an avid opponent of mountaintop removal mining and environmental racism in central and southern Appalachia.