28th Annual Banquet Spurs Community Action Through Self-less Service and Giving Back
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now, thought
How’d we ever get so far down, and
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, yeah, I created you”
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something… –Matthew West
ACRES HOMES– The call went out from the 28th Annual Acres Homes Chamber for Business and Economic Development Awards Banquet that it is time for the community to “Do Something”.
“This is about all of us getting our act together,” said Chairman Roy Douglas Malonson, African-American News and Issues and Chair for AHCBCD Inc. “Making the Community Better is not about the size of your wallets, … It’s about giving back and the size of your heart.”
END OLD REIGNS of “POLITICIAN” and “PREACHER” WINDOW DRESSINGS
For years, the Black community has depended on government to solve problems plaguing the community and looked to elected officials to lead rather that be served by the electorate and had faith that pastors would use the power of prayer and influence with God to help change conditions… None of that has worked.
Other elected officials are full of mostly “hot air” and hold press conferences seeking only to to be seen and served. Career politicians care little about doing anything to really represent real change – They only change they carry are the bags of money they collect from their donors who now own them. These officials only serve themselves stuffing their own coffers at the expense of and without concern for constituencies.
Most pastors are not out front as voices for the people in their churches or communities. You rarely seen them except on Sundays or at funerals. If they were visible, there would be constant out crys and noise from them demanding and fighting on key community changing issues with legislators in Austin or councilpersons and the mayor at city hall
So without any real help, the people need to stand up and act and see that the answers to the issues in the Black community and what makes conditions better in the neighborhoods around us are as plain as the nose on your face. It starts with the man in the mirror.
NEW ERA Of GENUINE EXAMPLES NEEDED
That is why the banquet set the stage for the clarion call for the community to stand up and heal itself – starting with recognizing who the Real leaders are: Everyday People who Love their Community Enough to Sacrifice a little Time and Effort to Make things Better for all of Us.
Awards were given to seven individuals who serve as great examples of selfless community giving and service to model as Acres Homes and Houston look forward towards building a better future.
Those receiving awards include Ruby J. Bennett, Rev. Joseph Baker, Raymond G. Glass, Terrence J. Reed, Johnie Tatum, Senator John Whitmire and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Making the community great starts with examining these examples and following up with the most important question of what can I do to make a difference.
The common denominator among those awardees for 2017 is not measured by the size of their wallets, but by the size of their hearts and their willingness to sacrifice by giving back to the community – expecting nothing in return.
That point of joining hands and “Doing Something” to change the community was hammered home by with a signature message to a standing room only crowd by Honorable Harris County Commissioner and former Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis.
Ellis has dedicated his career to ensuring that all people have the opportunity to build better futures for themselves and has been a constant advocate and fighter for quality and accessible services and programs in the community that benefits all residents fairly and equitably.
He has especially been at the forefront of “Doing Something” about the unfair and unbalanced Bails and Bonding system in Texas that penalizes the poor and also fighting for reforms in criminal justice, health care and wages that guarantee equal, fair treatment and protection under the law
Ruby J Bennett – Community Award
Raised in Acres Homes, Ms. Bennett has made it a lifelong commitment to the community and helping people or helping people help themselves.
Know as the “Tire Lady of Acres Homes” for many years because she has been responsible for the successful pick up of thousands of abandoned tires in the community working in conjunction with the city of Houston Solid Waste Department. Her love for the community efforts has resulted in thousands of tires being removed from streets and ditches in Acres Homes and sparked a citywide effort in numerous communities to do the same.
“Acres Homes can and will be the very best community and neighborhood in the world. All we have to do is work together and do our best to achieve that goal,” she said.
Rev. Joseph Baker – Religious
After dedicated 30 years to the Houston Solid Waste Management Department, Baker has offered his services to help improve his community. He have been involved in offering his services to funeral homes, worked on numerous political campaigns and served his church Guiding Light Inspirational Baptist Church for 25 years. He advocates for opportunities to go into schools to talk to students about education and career development. Baker also is active with the AHCBED Inc. and volunteers at monthly meetings.
“I love the Acres Homes community… the community has always been my life.”
Raymond Glass II – Education Award
Glass is a native Houstonian and proud graduate of HISD and Prairie View University.
As a former drum major, Glass was inspired to enter the field of education. He did and has not look back, even taking it one step further focusing on working with troubled and challenged youth environments in the school district.
He has the will and the talent and is making a difference in the lives of youth and serving as a light and a volunteer in numerous sports programs in the community.
Terrence Reed – Business Award
He is a prominent member of the Acres Homes community and is known for being philanthropic and supportive of various charities and organizations.
He is the owner of Vintage Carriage Company, LLC in Acres Homes and has one of the top ranking horse drawn carriage ride companies in Texas. He participates in countless special events across the area and has been featured in numerous publications.
Growing up in Acres Homes, Reed was shaped and influenced by the many great patriarchs of Acres
Homes and the results of that is a loving, honest businessman and philanthropist.
“My goal is to continue in the Acres Homes community and strive to fulfill life’s goal of creating positive change for all around…”
Johnnie Tatum – Business Award
He is a veteran allied health professional and business owner. Raised in Acres Homes, he is a graduate of MacArthur High School.
After more than 20 years in health care and 10 years in leadership roles, he launched Second Chance Consulting in Acres Homes. It provides a one-stop shop for diverse reentry programs and services to help clients with resume building, mock interviews and elevator dialogue. Other programs involve Domestic Violence Intervention, Parenting Support and Anger Management.
Second Chance programs are becoming renown for motivating and encouraging people to pursue skills, trades and continue education.
One of his greatest notable over the past four years was a community outreach effort where Tatum dedicated his time and resources to restoring Rest Lawn Cemetery – a historic landmark now with a dedicated site map to help families locate their loved ones. Because of his commitment to community, families can visit their loved ones in a safe and clean environment.
Awards were also presented to State Senator John Whitmire and Honorable Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Whitmire –Political Awards
Whitmire has been passionate friend of the community as an advocate for quality education, affordable higher education, minority and women’s rights, access to affordable health care and mental health care and sound economic and business development policies.
Turner –Political Awards
Acres Home native son Mayor Turner has taken on the reigns of the nation’s 4th largest city. Raised in the Acres Homes community, Turner understands the values of good parenting, making sacrifices and how education can and does make a difference. He thrived and triumphed in the era of forced integration in Houston and rose to graduate valedictorian at Klein High School and later completed his education at University of Houston and Harvard University. He has gone on to start his own law firm, serve in the Texas House of Representatives and has been Houston’s mayor since January 2016.
From tackling pension reform to taking back the city parks to repairing potholes, Mayor Turner is altruistic and brings that compassionate spirit and the lessons of his parents and many influential Acres Homes ancestors to the table when shaping policies in the community and planning Houston’s future.
These examples mark the clarion call to the whole community to step up its game “Do Something”.
“DO SOMETHING” POLITICIANS and PREACHERS”
Getting our acts together will take a combination of things including first holding Black leadership fully accountable for the state of our community.
Black preachers and politicians are priority one on the bulls eye because it is these two seats that have the greatest ability and authority to do and make great things happen in and for the community.
It is time those assets are used for the people they claim to represent. If you can’t and won’t produce for the people, then the people must act and vote for replacement that reflects its community and a will to “Do Something”.
If the pulpits in churches are filled with men or women who “pan-handle” and pontificate more that produce results for the community – then congregants need to faithfully call on God to replace such pastors and preachers with true Biblical men and women of leadership and action.
We need churches and leaders to stand up and “Do Something” to make our community better and make them great again.
“DO SOMETHING” POLITICIANS and PREACHERS”
The second important element of getting it together is recognizing the power of the vote.
Many African-Americans call themselves Democrats, but to what end?
Who really understands and represents, listens and delivers to the community.
You vote should not represent “blind loyalty” to any one party. It is about who is “Doing Something” to really represent us and have the best interests in mind when it comes to making decisions that we have to pay for and live by.
Whether the party of Lincoln (freed slaves) or the modern Democrats, maybe it is time to think about being independent in our political thinking and granting that vote only to candidates who will not take our communities for granted. That gives you the opportunity to place each candidate and each political party under scrutiny allowing you to make the best choice for who will truly “Do Something” to represent the community. That sends an important message that our votes will count for something and that we will no longer automatically be “zombiesque” in picking for President, Senators, House Representative, State Representatives, School Board members, Councilmen and Mayors.
Trust in poor leadership and their failures to “Do Something” have cost us our Black neighborhoods, Schools and is currently taking a toll on our most precious resources – Our Black youth.
“DO SOMETHING” TO SUPPORT BLACK COMMUNITY BUSINESSES
Black Buying power in America is a dizzying $1.1 trillion dollars!!!
Where is all this money going?
How much is going to support and empower Black business to build our own communities?
Of that $1.1 trillion spent from Black hands, only 2-cents of every dollar African Americans spent in this country goes to Black-owned business.
TWO PENNIES of every dollar!!! THAT IS A Damn SHAME.
There is a need for us to “Do Something” to help our own causes by supporting and purchasing from one another. That brings jobs to our own communities and help build up our tax bases that will brings more business and progress to our neighborhoods.
Target Market News conducted a study on Black Buying Power of Black America and found that Black people spend $3.3 billion per year on Tobacco; $3 billion on whiskey, wine and beer; $2.8 billion on non-alcoholic beverages; $3.1 billion on leisure time; $3.5 billion on toys, games and pets; $19 billion on telephone services; $10 billion on gifts; $13 billion on gambling; $29.3 billion on clothing; $65.2 billion on food; $17 billion on charitable giving; and $321 million on books.
Asians, Africans and Chinese have immigrated to Houston in past years and now have business centers and shopping meccas and even their own television and radio stations.
Nicole Kenney, NAACP Economic Program Specialist research shows that Asians keep a dollars in their community 120 times longer than African-Americans – about a month. Also in the Jewish community that circulation time among businesses in 20 days and for Whites 17 days.
When money burns in African-American pockets, we run and spend it and in 6 hours the economic impact on the community has evaporated and gone forever.
THE “TAKE AWAY”
Blacks have been here 300 years and got absolutely nothing in comparison, because we have enriched Whites and others with our lack of support for Black businessmen and women in our own neighborhoods.
We need to get our act together.
Circulating that Black dollar in the Black community is necessary to economic health and survival of our communities.
When you look at the blight and poverty in the community, the answer to making things better is as close as reaching in your pocket and supporting a Black business.
“It’s not enough to do nothing…. It’s time for us to “Do Something” …Right now.
What will you do??
By: Darwin Campbell