Tuesday, October 23, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 44


Black community meets candidates

By Tamara Moreland
News Reporter

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 Rick Roberts.

"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 Association.

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