Harris County commissioners are on the right side of history
Harris County Commissioners Court

Defender Network CEO responds to comments made at the Tuesday, May 10 Commissioners’ Court meeting

Thank you to the members of the Harris County Commissioners Court for the opportunity to applaud the court for conducting disparity studies with Harris County, Metro, the Port of Houston and the latest study of Harris Health with ZERO contracts going to Black contractors. 

Sonceria “Sonny” Messiah Jiles, Defender Network CEO

These studies make me recall a historical Black woman publisher I admire named Ida B. Wells who fought against segregation and the lynching of Black folks. She once said, “the way to right a wrong is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

Today, I’m working against the segregation of businesses owned by Blacks, Browns and other people of color.  The reality is “if you can’t measure it, you can’t change it.” These disparity studies have uncovered the lies of those claiming inclusiveness, when frankly, the numbers do not lie. 

We are at a crossroads: 50% of county residents are people of color, yet in all the disparity studies, the number of contracts awarded to them is substantially low.  It makes good sense from a political, economic and moral perspective to change the contract process. Your decisions are far-reaching and go well beyond a contractor, impacting employees, voters and families.

There is more work to be done. The disparity study is the tip of the iceberg. Now we have to figure out the roadmap to success.  I pray you will continue to pursue the journey in search of truth.  There are others who are blind and cannot see their real numbers. Help them see the light. 

Thank you again, Harris County Commissioners Court for being bold enough to seek the truth. I pray God will give you the strength and fortitude to be courageous enough to implement change for the betterment of our community.   Thank you.