Black community meets
By Tamara Moreland
On Saturday, the Houston chapter of the
National Association of Black Journalists held a forum at Texas Southern
University's School of Business to introduce members of Houston's African-American
community to candidates for office in the Nov. 6 elections.
The gathering, titled "The Press, The Public
& Politics," was moderated by City Council member Jew Don Boney, a
longtime member of the Houston Association of Black Journalists.
Panelists included Harris County Clerk
Beverly Kaufman and local journalists Andrew Patterson, Deloyd Parker and
"On Nov. 6, voters will decide who will
best represent them in city government -- from council members to mayor
of the fourth-largest city in America," said HABJ
president Bernadette Brown.
HABJ has held a town hall meeting with
candidates before each November election since 1994.
"This forum gives people a chance to meet
the candidates and ask questions about issues facing their community,"
Brown said. "We are striving to improve news
coverage of the black community, better
our numbers and roles in the mainstream media, and nurture young journalists."
Kaufmann introduced the audience to a program
she helped develop called "HarrisVotes!" The program is an initiative that
aims to educate the public about new
state-of-the-art electronic voting machines,
called "eSlate," which will receive their first trial run in this year's
early voting period.
The machines make use of a rotary dial
and easy-to-follow onscreen directions to allow voters to make their selections.
They will ultimately replace the outmoded
punch-card system that caused so much
trouble in the 2000 presidential election.
Also in attendance were two members of
the TSU chapter of HABJ.
Kristin Allen, a communication major who
has been a member of the organization since her freshman year, said she
has attended the town hall meetings for the last three
"I believe these annual town hall meetings
are a great opportunity to meet and to get to know a great deal about the
African American candidates," Allen said. "There is
always a good panel of high-positioned,
successful people who keep us informed on what's happening in our community."
HABJ was formed in 1986 after several Houston
journalists attended the NABJ convention in Dallas. At the suggestion of
Roy Hobbs, the local chapter held its first
official meeting in September 1986 at
the Press Club in the Houstonian Hotel.
The forum was co-sponsored by the Coalition
of African American Organizations, the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People, the Houston Area
Urban League and the Houston Urban Bankers