Love Don’t Hurt
A concussion. A broken nose. Fractured ribs. Bruises. Stitches. The injuries I just named are not those of a professional boxer or NFL lineman, but rather the type that commonly result from domestic violence.
Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime in the United States.
One in three women and one in four men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. This equates to more than 10 million women and men in one year.
Domestic violence cases have sharply increased in Texas in recent years.
Figures from the State Department of Public Safety show more than 214,000 wives, husbands, girlfriends and others were injured or died in 2016 at the hands of a family member. The statistics show that’s an increase from about 193,000 in 2011.
In Harris County, 146 women were killed in 2016.
Local police in Houston reported receiving more than 24,000 domestic violence cases in the first 10 months of 2017. That’s a 45 percent increase over a similar period in 2013.
These alarming numbers – which of course only reflect the cases that are reported – prove that chances are, we all know someone living this nightmare. One can only imagine how many are suffering in silence.
What many of us fail to realize, many victims included, is that domestic violence does not have to be physical. In fact, the victim is quite typically abused far before a hand is ever laid on them.
This was the case for a young woman who was brave enough to share her story with me. The words eventually turned into a slap across the face by her ex-boyfriend.
“I didn’t know what to do because I had never been in that situation before,” she said. “I didn’t tell anyone.”
A week and a half later it grew to her being hit, pushed, kicked and stomped repeatedly in her head, face and entire body, by him while she was helpless on the ground.
By the grace of God, someone walked in allowing her to get away.
“I must have been screaming for her to be able to hear me from the garage where he was beating me,” she said.
She ended up in the emergency room. She was lucky.
“Who knows what could have happened if she hadn’t walked in,” she added tearing up. “He could have killed me.”
After spending hours in the emergency room getting cat scans, x-rays and a deep gash between her eyes sealed, she found out her nose was fractured on both sides, she had a concussion, fractured ribs and plenty of soreness ahead.
“My body is still sore, and I still have headaches,” she said nearly a month after the brutal attack.
She shared that she was not cleared to return to work for nearly three weeks due to the severity of her head injuries. The doctor said staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time could be harmful and slow down her recovery. One would think this gave her time for much needed rest and healing.
She explained this was far from the truth. She spent much of this time talking with lawenforcement and the district attorney’s office, gathering documents, going to doctor’sappointments – including an ENT specialist to determine whether she will need surgery – and fighting anxiety.
“Everyone kept telling me to rest but I had to stay busy for my sanity,” she said. “He had alreadymade bond and was released in less than 48 hours.”
He was picked up by police and placed in custody the day after the attack, but this was a short- lived sense of security for her. He was given a $15,000 bond. Of course, with the ten percent rule, only $1,500 was the amount needed for his freedom. I have done my research to understand this amount is standard.
However, isn’t $1,500 a little low to release someone who is capable of savagely beating and possibly killing another human being? A woman? This does not seem right – especially for someone with a violent history.
This brings me to another point. She was unaware that she was his fifth assault victim – the second victim of family violence. There is nothing wrong with doing a background check on the person you are in a relationship with.
I am not suggesting that someone should be dictated by his/her past. But let yourself be fully aware of who you are with at your most vulnerable moments. Violence is nothing to play with. Your life is nothing to play with.
Thirty one percent of those convicted on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge – it will be a felony for her ex-boyfriend — were arrested again within a year of being released, according to the Center for Court Innovation, and 44 percent were arrested again within two years.
I will close by saying this. You have to work at love, but love should never be physically painful. There is a never a time when your partner should be physical.
One time is enough. Leave.
Never give excuses for his behavior. Never justify his actions. If it happens once, it will happen again.
He would not hit you if he thought the tables would turn. He is a coward. You deserve better.
WARNING SIGNS FOR AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
You may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if your partner:
Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you
Does not trust you and acts jealous or possessive
Tries to isolate you from family or friends
Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
Does not want you to work
Controls finances or refuses to share money
Punishes you by withholding affection
Expects you to ask permission
Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets
Humiliates you in any way
You may be in a physically abusive relationship if your partner has ever:
Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.)
Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you
Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place
Scared you by driving recklessly
Used a weapon to threaten or hurt you
Forced you to leave your home
Trapped you in your home or kept you from leaving
Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention
Hurt you children
Used physical force in sexual situations
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)
Police Brutality – An Epidemic?
It has happened again. An unarmed Black teenager was shot and killed, this time in East Pittsburgh as he tried to flee a traffic stop.
Antwon Rose II, 17, was an honor roll student taking Advanced Placement classes at Woodland Hills High School. He was expected to graduate at the end of the year.
Rose, who was shot to death by a policeman on his first full day on the job, is yet another victim of police brutality — an epidemic that must be stopped.
Houston, of course, is no stranger to police harassment and brutality.
In 2012, almost half the Houstonians arrested during traffic stops were African-Americans,though they make up less than a quarter of the city’s population.
Houston Police Department statistics show that white drivers are more likely than Black driversto be carrying contraband, but according to HPD’s annual report on racial profiling — whichconcludes, “The analysis provides no evidence that officers of the Houston Police Department engage in racial profiling” — officers performed “consent searches” on Black drivers in 2012 more than four times as often as on white drivers. A consent search is specifically one made without probable cause.
With these statistics alone, it is easy to see how racial bias plays a role in both police harassment and police brutality of Black individuals in the United States, in Texas and in Houston.
Police brutality, by legal definition, is a civil rights violation that occurs when a police officer acts with excessive force — a violation of a person’s rights — by using an amount of force with regards to a civilian that is more than necessary.
I, too, have been a victim of police brutality.
In September of 2014, I was pulled over by a Harris County Precinct 1 deputy constable — Deputy John Brown — for what should have been a routine traffic stop. He was joined by five additional officers, made up of officers from both the constable’s office and the Houston Police Department (HPD).
Deputy Brown approached me with his gun drawn and pointed at my head. This was the first time that I feared for my life.
Although he was out on traffic patrol, Deputy Brown’s dash cam was not working that night. Too much money is spent on dash cams to protect both citizens and law enforcement for this to be allowed.
In the worst case scenario, which unfortunately has become the common one, the officer could have shot me, killed me, and no one would have known what truly happened.
Had it not been for the gas station’s surveillance cameras — which caught part of the incident — it would have simply been my word against the officer’s.
Following the incident, I filed a complaint with Harris County Precinct 1. While the police took money from me during their search, I cared more about the hostile behavior of the officers that slapped, handcuffed and threw me in the back of a police car.
The video showing what happened remains on YouTube and can be viewed by following the linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdysDchHuww .
It is important to pay attention to the following minute marks:
2:00 – Deputy Brown pulled his gun when approaching my vehicle.
4:15 – I was taken to the police car in handcuffs.
4:20 through 9:55 – My vehicle was illegally searched by officers.
19:15 – I was released from the back of the police car.
19:50 – My handcuffs were taken off.
20:41 – I was issued a speeding ticket.
The second video shows how I continued to be harassed by officers for over 25 minutes even after my speeding ticket was issued. I immediately called for help — for a supervisor — when these officers were not showing any signs of leaving the scene or leaving me alone.
This can be seen in the second video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=808YWtWtwHA
9:30 through 11:00 – I walked in the store and the officer walked in the store. When I walked out of the store, the officer followed as well.
13:27 – I walked back in the store and the officer watched my every move.
15:00 – I walked out of the store.
15:41 – The officer walked in the store.
15:50 – A sergeant finally arrived at the scene.
I wanted justice regarding Deputy Brown’s behavior but authorities cared more about the allegation that he had stolen my money.
I was even told that I needed to take a lie detector test if I wanted the investigation of police brutality to continue.
Constable Alan Rosen forwarded my complaint to the Texas Rangers. I have yet to hear back. No disciplinary action has been taken against Deputy Brown either.
This incident occurred four years ago.
Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to my office a few weeks ago to finalize some work I was doing and was approached by two off-duty deputies. One officer asked if I was here for the event and instructed me to park in a designated section.
I told him this is my office and I have a parking spot across the gate. The other officer aggressively approached and asked “Who are you?” To my surprise, I recognized the officer was in fact, Deputy Brown.
There should have been an extensive investigation that went into my police brutality case. This has yet to happen and this officer has not been penalized in any form. Instead, he has the opportunity to make extra earnings through side jobs in the community.
In order for relationships to improve between citizens and the police, we must hold bad police officers accountable. Wrong is wrong regardless if the one at fault is wearing a badge.
Could this kind of behavior happen again?
Given what we continue to see across the nation, in the Lone Star State and in our hometown, it’s not a question of IF, it’s WHEN.
I will continue my efforts in the state legislature to push for criminal justice reform. Officers that abuse their powers and the police departments that protect such behavior, should be held accountable. I will never subscribe to the mentality of “that’s just the way it is.”
While I applaud Constable Rosen for his proactive community based policing, his department as well as HPD must demonstrate their commitment to earning the community’s respect by making sure that the police officers patrolling our neighborhoods are held to the highest standard and are accountable for their actions.
Stay in contact with my office as we continue our efforts in community based policing.
District Office (713) 699-3043 Capitol Office (512) 463-0554 www.jarvisjohnson.org
Your Skin Is Not A Sin
Across the country we have repeatedly seen individuals call the police on people whose only crime is being Black. It’s not right. Your skin is not a sin.
The list of things it is unacceptable to do while Black is long and growing. Driving while Black (DWB) has long been an offense. Apparently, napping while Black is another serious offense.
Police were called on Lolade Siyonbola (a Black woman) in Connecticut after she was caught taking a snooze.
Siyonbola is a first-year graduate student in the African Studies department at Yale. She had papers and books spread out in a common room while writing a paper but had flipped off the lights and went to sleep.
Another graduate student, Sarah Braasch (a white woman), walked in, turned on the lights and said she was calling police. The common room was off-limits for sleeping, she added.
Even if sleeping is against the dorm’s common room policy, it certainly is not against the law.
This didn’t stop four police officers from showing up, questioning and forcing Siyonbola to prove that she, in fact, belonged at the university and was not a threat. Police demanded she show some identification. The fact that Siyonbola had a key to get into her dorm to find her I.D. was not sufficient.
As shown in her Facebook Live video, Siyonbola was treated like a criminal for doing something college students and students of all ages do for that matter – sleeping while studying. If this was truly a crime, campuses would be empty and the jails overflowing more than they already are.
Siyonbola’s only crime was being Black.
We saw a similar situation take place with the case of Lawrence Crosby – a doctoral student at Northwestern University outside Chicago – when a woman called 911 to say she was witnessing a car break-in.
“He had a bar in his hand, and it looked like was jimmying the door open,” she told thedispatcher.
Crosby was simply fixing his own car. Once again, his only crime was being Black.
When Crosby drove off, the woman followed him. He began to feel uneasy when he noticed a car following him. He headed towards the police station where he thought he would find protection.
Crosby was stopped two blocks away from the police station. He tried to explain as some officers ordered him to keep his hands up while others ordered him to get on the ground.
In an instant, five officers sprinted towards him. They violently kneed him to the ground and struck him with open hands while telling him to stop resisting.
Crosby cooperated, explained that car was his and showed proof. This was not enough. Officers continued to handcuff, arrest and charge him with disobeying officers orders. A judge later threw out the charges.
The officers were never disciplined for their abuse and actions.
At this time in America, we must change how we police.
In 1787, it was constitutional law that Black people were only considered three fifths human. This clause remained in effect until the post-Civil War 13th Amendment (1865) freed all enslaved people in the United States. The 14th Amendment (1868) gave full citizenship, while the 15th Amendment (1870) granted Black men the right to vote.
It is amazing that even today in America, over a 150 years later, society refuses to accept that Black people are free.
It cannot be enough for a person to simply say they saw a Black person doing something illegal and as a result, that person be accosted and arrested. Evidence must count more than an unsubstantiated statement.
Furthermore, when police respond to these calls, they often escalate the situation rather than trying to truly assess and de-escalate it.
In the Sandra Bland case in Prairie View, Texas, the officer had the right to write her a ticket but not to taunt her by asking if she was mad and then violently remove her from the car.
She later was found dead in her jail cell.
Unfortunately, this kind of deplorable treatment often happens to people of color. We must hold everyone accountable.
I know a man personally in Houston who is being held unjustly for no other crime other than the color of his skin and his past. He is a devoted father, grandfather, husband and a hardworking, model employee who holds two full-time jobs.
A witness said they saw him point a gun at his wife. However, when police arrived, his wife said that her husband absolutely did NOT point a gun at her and that he does not even own a gun.
Police searched his person and his house for over thirty-five minutes.
A gun was never found.
The witness also said they heard a gunshot come from inside of the house, but police did not see a bullet hole in any of the walls nor did they find any shell casings during their extensive search.
Police then marched him outside, handcuffed as if he was on the auction block during the slave trade. They then asked the secret witness if this was the man that he/she saw.
And yet, even with a complete lack of evidence to support the allegations of the witness, the assistant district attorney ordered that this man be arrested for felony possession of a weapon. Again, there was no weapon found.
During the court proceeding on April 30, 2018, the assistant district attorney offered a plea deal of ten years probation. He would have had to plead guilty to felony possession of a weapon to walk out of jail that day.
The assistant district attorney told his attorney that if he refused to accept the plea deal, the State would request that bail be denied. I am befuddled as to how the police department and the districtattorney’s office can arrest, detain and then offer a plea deal of ten years probation for felonypossession of a weapon when no weapon was found.
In the era we live in, it has become too easy and too common for Black men to be charged simply based off an unsubstantiated statement rather than actual evidence.
Police officers are trained to use and identify weapons, yet they have repeatedly mistaken a cellphone, wallet or comb in a citizen’s hand for a gun. This has happened on several occasionswhen the officer has been in close range, sometimes less than ten feet away, and has resulted inthe citizen’s death.
It is undeniable that the average, untrained citizen, like in this situation, is fully capable of making the same mistake from over 100 feet away.
As a result, an innocent man is being held unjustly. He is being judged by his past. I am not saying this man is perfect. He has made some mistakes in the past, but he has atoned for his crime, served the time and subsequently was released and paroled and has become a successful member of society.
I will work diligently in the State House to make sure that men and women with a past criminal record will no longer be used as an example.
I will work to pass expungement laws, so they will not continue to be victims of a penal system that makes millions of dollars off them. The time for change is now.
Houston Texans Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Robert McNair has truly taken his mask off.
He doesn’t mean what he says even when it comes to a supposed heartfelt apology.CEOs are supposed to lead by example, not be the example of what NOT to do.
It all started on October 18, 2017 when McNair was speaking at a meeting between owners, team executives and Commissioner Roger Goodell. Then, he reportedly said, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison,” in response to NFL players taking a knee during the United States national anthem.
McNair received backlash from all angles. This included Houston’s star wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, not being present at practice due to the comments from McNair.
It was also reported by ESPN that other Texans players had to be persuaded not to walk out of practice.
As a result, McNair issued an apology on October 27, 2017 via Twitter:
“I regret that I used the expression. I never meant to offend anyone and was not referring to our players. I used a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our players or our league that way and I apologize to anyonewho was offended by it.”
It seemed that McNair managed to weather the storm, but it wasn’t over.
In a recent interview on April 5th with the Wall Street Journal, McNair said he regrets issuing the apology.
“The main thing I regret is apologizing,” McNair said.
He added that it was merely a figure of speech, and he was actually referring to the control of league executives over team owners.
“I really didn’t have anything to apologize for,” he said.
So, which is it Bob? Are you sorry or not? Are you sorry for saying what you said in private and it got out or are you sorry for apologizing about a comment that was taken out of context?
Either way, you are SORRY – a sorry owner, and a sorry man.
We all make mistakes and we all regret some things we have said – wishing we could take them back.
However, the fact that you are unable to stand by your own words – the offensive comments or the forced apology – explains a lot about your character.
We can see now that your initial apology was simply you following a strategy created by your public relations team to mend fences between you, the players of the team you own and the customers that buy the tickets.
You didn’t want to entertain the possibility of suffering any hits to your wallet. Forgeteveryone’s feelings, that would obviously be the true outrage.
The apology at least appealed to those who were offended, even if the comments were not directed at your players, as you stated in your recent interview.
My friends and I often rib each other jokingly. I remember a time when I was on the phone with one of them and I said, “Get out of here you dumb jackass!” because of something he did that offended his wife. I couldn’t believe he would do something so idiotic.
Just as I said this to him, a staff member of mine walked in the door. He looked stunned, immediately turned around and walked out.
While that comment was not directed at him, I felt strongly that I needed to apologize to make sure he knew I was not talking to him.
Does it make me wrong or feel bad that I apologized for something that I really didn’t do? No. I made him feel better and there was no reason for me to take back my apology.
In your situation, your arrogance has taken over after weathering the first storm and empowered you to insult those who you targeted originally, AGAIN.
You claim that the comment was target toward league execs, but if that is the case, the analogydoesn’t even fit. Moreover, why was a prison analogy used in the first place?
Your actions have made it clear that you do not respect those in positions under you, including the players.
But are you suggesting that the NFL is like a prison in the sense that players have no freedoms and have to do what the warden (in this case would be the owner) says?
If so, this is terrible way to run a business. You should try leading by example.
I will not call for a boycott of the Texans, that’s just short sighted.
Not everyone goes to Texans games. Hell, I don’t even buy tickets to the games. But I have used some of the advertisers and sponsors for your games.
So, a few people not buying tickets won’t affect you, but sponsors and advertisers such as: Methodist Hospital, Budweiser, xfinity, Coca Cola, Verizon and HEB can when they realize that I and others stop buying their products or using their services.
I am calling for you to step down Bob. If you refuse, I am asking for these and the rest of your sponsors to pull away from you until you step down.
If these sponsors do not pull back, then I’m calling for a boycott of the sponsor.
Although these companies are useful, losing their services for the greater good – you stepping down – will be a miniscule sacrifice. Lucky for me, plenty of other hospitals, beers, sodas, phone companies and grocery stores exist.
I am confident that they will not make your fight theirs. They will not want to suffer consequences from your stupidity.
Furthermore, this is not just about your idiotic, insensitive comments that insulted the players and everyone else who was standing up for their beliefs. This is about rich owners like you –people who get hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers to build a stadium that benefit only them – stepping on the little guy.
I understand to many, a professional football player is far from being “the little guy,” but I’mspeaking from your standpoint. You have the power to trade or fire any player. I am sure many fear standing or kneeling for this very matter.
They, too, have families to provide for.
To prove that point yet again, if concession workers wanted to unionize, you and your boys would not listen because you don’t let the little people of the world have any power or platform.
Something must be done about this behavior. Your mindset and leadership, or lack thereof rather, has to change. Enough is enough.
Standing Strong Against Batch Plant
Asthma attacks. Cardiovascular disease. Tuberculosis. Lung cancer. These are just some of the effects of living next to a concrete batch plant.
I am fully opposed to having one of these toxic corporations in my district. I am doing everything in my power to keep the residents of Acres Homes out of danger.
On December 18, 2017, an application for an Air Quality Standard Permit to authorize construction of a permanent concrete batch plant located at 3411 De Soto St., Houston, Harris County, Texas 77091, was submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) from Soto Ready Mix, Incorporation.
This location is near Greater Inwood and Acres Homes. A notice of this application was provided to the public on January 18, 2018.
Air Alliance-Houston – a nonprofit organization seeking to reduce air pollution in the Houston area through research, education, and advocacy – contacted my office to inform us of health and environmental issues associated with the establishment of this batch plant in a residential area.
My office immediately contacted TCEQ to request a public meeting.
The public meeting with Soto Ready Mix, INC., and representatives from TCEQ’s permit division was held on Monday, March 26th at 7 P.M. at the Acres Homes Multiservice Center.
Over 200 concerned constituents showed up and 27 formal comments were made on record.
The residents of District 139 made it clear that they will not simply sit back and let this happen. I empathized with every single one of them as they expressed their fear for their children’s livesand their own.
We have to continue to stick together in this fight. I need you all to show up in these same numbers throughout this process.
The “Plan B” that I introduced at the closing of the meeting is not a pro-batch plant plan, it is a pro-regulation plan. It is merely an effort to ensure that in the event the permit is granted, Soto Ready Mix, INC., will have to go above and beyond the minimal standards currently proposed in the application.
As many of you have witnessed, the applicant, Soto Ready Mix, INC., has already begun some operations at this location that have caused public nuisance. If the permit is denied, I am anticipating Soto Ready Mix, INC., will continue this operation without regulation.
It is my understanding that TCEQ is not in the regular practice of denying permits to applicants. Although the regulation and complaint system for TCEQ is not the best, IF they do unfortunately grant the permit (again, this is NOT what I want), the permit will allow us as citizens to ensure Soto Ready Mix is held accountable for its operations.
Additionally, securing a contested case hearing will allow us, as residents in this community, to negotiate our demands.
I will work with the county and the City of Houston to make sure they do not grant permits to companies like this before TCEQ is able to so. I want to stop them in their tracks.
One of my main goals in the 86th session is to pass legislation that will prevent communities from being subjected to such harm. No one should have to fight for clean, breathable air.
Thank you to all of my supporters who helped send me back to Austin where I can continue to proudly serve the hard-working citizens of District 139 and the State of Texas. I am truly blessed and honored to remain as your state representative.
The fight to protect all of you from evil spirits in office such as Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick – who want to essentially bring MORE guns into ourchildren’s schools by arming our teachers – must go on.
These men are of course falling in line behind the so-called leadership of our president.
Dry erase markers. Pens and pencils. Lesson plans for the week. These are necessary supplies to arm our teachers with – not guns.
A teacher is a person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values. Nowhere in their job description does it say, “be prepared to open fire in a classroom” or “will confront amadman without hesitation.”
If only Republicans felt the same, then teachers with guns would not even be a possibility for our harsh reality.
President Trump has listened to multiple survivors of school shootings and to families of those who lost their lives in these tragedies begging for a solution – not more guns.
He was not moved and, in another attempt to show what he seems to think is strength, wants to answer violence with more violence tweeting “If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a schoolhas a large number of weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school.”
I wish the president would instead listen to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Darknesscannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can dothat.”
Mentally challenged individuals will carry out their plans no matter who has a gun.
An untrained educator, armed or not, will do what most us would when shots ring out – duck and run for cover. We cannot expect a novice to be able to take aim to stop a shooter without potentially hitting an innocent bystander.
How will a parent react when they are told their child was killed by a teacher trying to stop a shooter from killing other students?
Will that teacher be considered a hero or a murderer?
We have trained law enforcement who are responsible for maintaining public safety and security. And even they fall short.
In the recent massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Deputy Scot Peterson remained outside for over four minutes. The shooting lasted approximately six minutes.
Peterson’s job as the school’s resource officer was to ensure everyone on the Marjory StonemanDouglas campus was safe at all times. He was trained. He was armed. And he hesitated.
Peterson froze. We all can only wonder how many lives could have been spared had he gone in. How can we expect an untrained teacher to react differently?
Let’s arm our teachers with a better teacher to student ratio in the classroom and better pay – not guns.
An effective leader is someone with the ability to guide others with integrity, confidence, accountability and passion. They must be a strong communicator and an inspiration to others.
I have strived to do this as a man and as a politician – to lead by example.
I believe actions speak louder than words.
I have had the privilege of serving the hard-working citizens of District 139 and the State of Texas in the 85th legislative session.
Since taking office in January 2017, I wrote, co-authored, sponsored or co-sponsored 65 bills.
The Texas House of Representatives is made up of 95 Republicans and 55 Democrats. I was able to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to get 19 of these bills passed. I believe that it is possible and necessary to work together with those who may not share all the same beliefs for the purpose of making a greater change.
One of these changes is House Bill 374 — it is putting vocational education back in schools, giving young people a finish line they are able to see.
Wanting to do all I can to guarantee their success, I helped create two apprenticeship schools.
Throughout my first term, I was able to register 800 new voters – reminding constituents that every voice matters.
I have organized an adoption fair that will take place on April 7th at Bella Vista Missionary Baptist Church to make sure our children do not age out of Child Protective Services (CPS).
Children who age out of CPS have a 98 percent chance of going to prison. We have to give our young people a better chance than this. They deserve it. They are our future.
I have held four senior citizen events, touching over 1500 seniors. We must always remember to take care of those who have paved the way for us – to give flowers to the living.
No one must be forgotten – especially in times of disaster.
As we all know, thousands of Texans were displaced from their homes and their jobs after Hurricane Harvey. Although I traveled over 2500 miles across the State of Texas, was able to personally help 80 people with clothing, food and housing repairs, as well as get over $10,000 donated to aid the Harvey victims, there is still more work to be done.
This is why I have proposed House Bill 312 – Establishment of a Disaster Recovery Fund.
House Bill 312 will amend the Government Code to establish a Disaster Recovery Fund account. This additional assistance funding will be allocated in times of extraordinary burdens to state and local entities as well as volunteer fire departments in areas where the Governor has declared a
state of disaster. This additional funding will help relieve the fiscal burden placed on local communities during times of disaster.
No one can afford to wait for the government to take action while suffering through a natural disaster. People are literally on the streets and entire cities are going bankrupt. When cities are without a workforce and unable to do business, the city suffers, and the state suffers. We are losing tax dollars.
Moreover, I have tried to do all I can to help people rebuild their lives and put Houstonians back to work with good jobs that allow them to proudly provide for their families.
To prove this point, I recently held a job fair – in addition to two other job fairs that helped over 750 people — with a turnout of 748 job seekers that resulted in 464 interviews. Over 200 of these people received jobs or a call back for a second interview.
I am giving you these numbers to prove that I am always willing to do the work.
I thank you for believing in me and what I stand for. It is because of you that I am never satisfied and will always use my position to help others while striving to make the great State of Texas a better place. I thank you for believing in criminal justice reform, improving education and making sure our citizens never go without a voice — and that Texans are properly taken care of.
Re-elect me as your state representative for District 139 so that I can continue to fight for you and lead with integrity, confidence, accountability and passion.
Early voting continues through March 2nd. I am counting on you to use your voice.
Black History Month
By now, all of us in Houston, the home of NASA, are more than familiar with the inspiring true story, Hidden Figures, of three extraordinary Black women – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – who helped America win the Space Race.
It is the kind of story that all too often is only told during the Black History Month of February.
The best-selling book by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was turned into an Academy Award- nominated film, opened the eyes of little girls across America, let them dream that they, too, can change the world and reminded us all that Black History is American History.
One cannot fully understand America without reference to African Americans. To appreciate the Constitution, to understand the Civil War, and to make sense of present-day political realities, requires understanding of the history shaped through the interactions of African Americans with other cultures.
So why is it that the other 11 months of the year do not reflect this undeniable truth?
Black History Month predominantly survives out of neglect. Schools too often shortchange the pivotal contributions of African Americans and other minorities. Either by design or default, history is diluted for all learners – skimming over painful episodes while marginalizing the contributions of African Americans and people of color.
When we begin to accurately teach the history of all the people in an integrated and balanced way, we will no longer need Black History Month, Hispanic History Month, and so on.
Furthermore, we must look at how the media contributes to this. The majority of African Americans we see in television shows are still shown in a negative light – as lawbreakers, asthose who don’t value education and family.
And yet, we continue to make history and impact the world in a positive way. One example came in 2008 when the first ever Black president, Barack Obama, was elected. He served two terms and was not surrounded by scandal like our current so-called leader is.
Obama made a considerable effort to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans. He believed, as I do, that it is possible to work together with those who may not share all the same beliefs to make a greater change.
Obama never negatively referenced someone’s country of origin nor has he tried to pit minorities against one another. He did and still believes in dreamers.
Moreover, his example went beyond the political realm. Barack and Michelle changed the narrative of the Black couple and family. They showed to the masses what we already know but is seldom shown to the world – that there is such thing as an educated and loving Black family.
The positive image and example set by the Obamas prompted me to hold an essay contest for students ages 13 to 18 years old.
I want to hear from young people as to why they believe it is important that more positive images are shown of Black people in television, movies and music. I want to know what they are doing to ensure their communities continue to take strides in the right direction.
Cinema is taking these strides with the highly anticipated movie, Black Panther — making history, with almost an entirely Black cast.
Students must submit their essays by February 20th to JarvisJohnson.org. I am going to take the first 300 students who submit to see Black Panther.
I look forward to learning from these young minds.
Hurricane Harvey hit on August 25, 2017 – Where is the housing promised to Texans?
The State of Texas has many suggested solutions to our Hurricane Harvey emergency housing issue. Why are we not moving forward?
As the State Representative for District 139 who sits on the Housing and Urban Affairs Sub Committee, I have traveled the devastated areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. I, along with my committee members, have held six legislative hearings to listen to the issues plaguing municipalities, as well as their constituencies so that we can better provide them with the necessary resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and subsequently the General Land Office (GLO).
I am outraged and cannot find all the necessary words to describe the lack of accountability by government.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25, 2017. That is over four months ago.
According to Time Magazine, more than 300,000 people were left without electricity and billions
of dollars of property damage was sustained throughout Texas.
The growing number of confirmed fatalities has reached 89 as of January 7, 2018.
By August 29, 2017, approximately 13,000 people had been rescued across the state. An estimated 30,000 others were displaced.
The Texas Department of Public Safety stated more than 185,000 homes were damaged and 9,000 destroyed.
What has been done to help rebuild people’s lives? Not enough!
I was moved to write this piece after receiving a Twitter post by the General Land Office showing trailers being provided to two families – out of the thousands impacted – with thecaption, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth and to have a home again.”
It is appalling that GLO – the fiscal agent charged with the responsibility of providing a safe living environment for our Texas residents – would joke about someone having been displaced over four months ago.
There is absolutely nothing funny about being homeless after a disaster. There is nothing funny about those responsible for remedying the situation taking four months to make miniscule moves in the right direction.
The lack of response to victims of Hurricane Harvey, whose lives have been uprooted and completely devastated, is criminal.
I have had several discussions with GLO and FEMA regarding the delay getting people into
emergency housing. They have resorted to the age-old tale of blaming those who are not present and cannot defend the accusation.
As it stands, Texas is the 10th largest economy in the world according to politifact.com, yet we lack the ability, or dare I say choose, to care for those who are most vulnerable among us.
This is unconscionable and not representative of whom we are as a state nor as a nation.
How is it possible for GLO to spend 1.5 billion dollars on hotel vouchers – where 15,027 residents are being housed in over 1,000 different hotels across the state post Hurricane Harvey –but they lack the resources to place these same residents in temporary housing that allow for a more stable and secure environment?
According to an article in The Houston Chronicle written in November 2017, more than 9,500 Texas families had qualified for some form of additional temporary housing assistance. Only one had been able to move back into a home repaired through FEMA’s program, and 223 were living in a trailer or mobile home.
At this point, the state failed to identify a single multifamily property owner willing to participate in its rental programs. Furthermore, Texas Public Radio reported three months after Hurricane Harvey there are still people living in tents along the Texas Coast.
This is all in the name of being considered “small government.”
Private industry has done more to assist the people of the City of Houston, than those charged with the responsibility to do so. I know, personally, of a small business that has donated over $150,000 worth of emergency temporary housing in the form of shipping container mobile unitsto families who were in need. This is what being “Texas Strong” is all about – reaching out and lending a helping hand to those who are in need.
One immediate solution would be to use the rainy day funds. The Texas Tribune informs us that the State of Texas has accumulated over $10 Billion from taxpayers’ dollars in a “Rainy Day Fund,” to be used for times of economic distress.
What better time to tap into these funds, than for a catastrophic natural disaster caused by….RAIN. With these funds, we no longer have to wait for GLO to move forward, we can then partner with private industry to provide temporary housing solutions as they have already done.
We must move forward implementing solutions.
State government should forge partnerships with private industry. In Texas, especially the Gulf Coast region, the question is never, “Is there going to be another storm?” It is “When WILL thenext storm come?” Sadly, we would not want to have Hurricane Harvey recovery still looming when the next catastrophic storm hits.
We better be prepared.
I proposed a Disaster Recovery Bill that will help citizens tremendously while waiting on
FEMA. House Bill 312 – Establishment of a Disaster Recovery Fund.
House Bill 312 will amend the Government Code to establish a Disaster Recovery Fund account. This additional assistance funding will be allocated in times of extraordinary burdens to state and local entities, and volunteer fire departments in areas where the governor has declared a state of disaster. This additional funding will help relieve the fiscal burden placed on local communities during times of disaster.
No one can afford to wait for the government to take action while suffering through a natural disaster. People are literally on the streets and entire cities are going bankrupt. When cities are without a workforce and unable to do business, the city suffers, and the state suffers. We are losing tax dollars.
I urge my committee members to join me in demanding solutions be implemented.
Houston, Texas (August 15, 2017)… This holiday season, be a part of the Texas House of Representatives' annual Christmas tradition - the decorating of the House Chamber's 23-foot, Texas-grown Christmas tree. For the past eight years, each State Representative has...
Houston Law Makers Johnson and Miles Join Forces with Governor Abbott to Enact Major Education Reform Law
HB374 Press Release Houston Law Makers Johnson and Miles Join Forces with Governor Abbott to Enact Major Education Reform Law Austin, Texas (May 19, 2017)… Freshmen member Representative Johnson has spent the 85th legislative session fighting for more opportunities...
Texas State Representative- Jarvis Johnson was honored to be asked to participate in the Transportation Workers Union of America Local 260 Contract Rally/Family Day by President Horace Marves. District 139 Manager -Michael Yarborough and Media Manager for...
Rep. Jarvis Johnson, Rep. Travis Clardy, and Sen. Larry Taylor joined forces to pass vital educational reform bill SB 2082
SB 2082 Press Release Rep. Jarvis Johnson, Rep. Travis Clardy, and Sen. Larry Taylor joined forces to pass vital educational reform bill SB 2082 Houston, Texas (May 18, 2017)… In a bipartisan effort, Representative Jarvis Johnson joined forces with Senator Larry...
Representative Jarvis Johnson and Senator Royce West successfully pass legislation to track Texas’ Foster Care to Juvenile Justice Pipeline
932 Passage Press Release Representative Jarvis Johnson and Senator Royce West successfully pass legislation to track Texas' Foster Care to Juvenile Justice Pipeline Austin, Texas (May 18, 2017)… With 144 “aye” votes in the House of Representatives and...
HB2908 is an unclear bill that allows any action taken against police officers during a lawful discharge of duty to be deemed a hate crime. A hate crime is recognized as a particular offense against anyone because of race, or religion. It is my belief that any...
Senator Mile’s SB 2105, Sponsored by Representative Jarvis Johnson, Passes – Sent to Governor Abbott for final signature, May 10th, 2017
HB374 and SB 2105 Passage Press Release Senator Mile's SB 2105, Sponsored by Representative Jarvis Johnson, Passes - Sent to Governor Abbott for final signature, May 10th, 2017 Austin, Texas (May 10, 2017)… One of Representative Johnson's key focus areas for the 85th...
Landmark Criminal Justice and Mental Health Reform, House Bill 2619, Passes to Engrossment, May 9th, 2017
HB 2619 Engrossment Passage Press Release Landmark Criminal Justice and Mental Health Reform, House Bill 2619, Passes to Engrossment, May 9th, 2017 Austin, Texas (May 9, 2017)… Representative Helen Giddings' House Bill 2619, joint authored by Representative Jarvis...
Former City Councilman, Representative Jarvis Johnson, unable to vote on controversial HB 43 (SB 2190) – Proposed City of Houston Pension Reform
Pension Reform HB 43 Press Release Former City Councilman, Representative Jarvis Johnson, unable to vote on controversial HB 43 (SB 2190) - Proposed City of Houston Pension Reform Austin, Texas (May 8, 2017) - House Bill 43 or Senate Bill 2190 , the City of...