LET’S DISCUSS WHAT MATTERS: OUR CHILDREN, OUR COMMUNITY & OUR ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT
As a parent, educator, and U.S. citizen, I believe a quality education is a fundamental American right. Our children deserve it, and we must demand it and fight for it on their behalf. The current system chooses educational winners and losers on a child’s zip code. This is proven by the fact that the overwhelming majority of schools identified as underperforming within our city are located in those zip codes with the highest population of low income and minority children. The result? Children are forced to remain in schools that have failed for decades just because of where they live, and the state’s solution of closing schools within low income and minority communities only worsens the situation.
I plan to work closely with other council members, local school boards, and state legislators to find solutions that do not require the closure of the schools in our communities, or that force our children to leave their neighborhood for a good education.
Hurricane Harvey was one of the most devastating storms in the history of our city. Tens of thousands of Houstonians were rendered immediately homeless. Although the city and state received billions of dollars from the federal government to aid in recovery, many of OUR communities were put at the back of the line when funds were allocated. The process for allocating funds for disaster recovery and general community improvements needs to be transparent, fair, and equitable to ensure that we don’t continue to be left out. I will work to ensure that OUR voice is heard on this issue.
OUR ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT
WOMEN AND MINORITY OWNED BUSINESS
As an African American Woman, I know first-hand the value provided by businesswomen as they fuel economic growth. A more streamlined process to obtaining MWBE certification is needed to facilitate growth opportunities for Woman and Minority owned businesses allowing increased access to government contracts in the City of Houston and the state.
The wage that constitutes a good job needs to change. We need to align wages today to ensure a “Good Job,” still yields the things that we all believe a good job should. That includes a wage that can afford a decent and safe place to call home, the ability to purchase food, buy clothing, and access to medicine.
EX-OFFENDER 2ND CHANCE PROGRAMS
My father died in prison. He received his first felony at 17 years of age. Systemic oppression and discrimination results in mass incarceration among low income and minorities like my father and often chains ex-offenders with the felony label and keeps them disadvantaged as an employable citizen. Mass incarceration is also one of the chief drivers of generational poverty and disenfranchisement within our community. The cycle can be broken by giving ex-offenders a “second chance.” Second Chance laws would state that having served their debt to society, an ex-offender’s record should only be available to law enforcement and shouldn’t have to be disclosed on employment applications following 5 years of release provided the offense wasn’t violent or theft.
As a 20 year school leader I believe that the right to quality education is a fundamental American right but for too long, a child’s zip code has been the determining factor in the quality of school he or she has in his or her community. The state’s practice of closing schools deemed as low-performing only makes matters worse because it is overwhelmingly low income and minority children who are forced to leave their community, riding the bus for hours each day, to go to school. One learning style doesn’t work for every student and likewise one type of school doesn’t work for every family. Additional options must be considered when traditional models become ineffective so that the most vulnerable Houstonians, our children, are academically prepared to compete in a global marketplace.