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Houston Democrat State Rep who voted with GOP on anti-LGBTQ bills headed to runoff



State Rep. Shawn Thierry, a Houston Democrat who broke party lines last year and voted with Republicans in support of bills viewed as attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, likely is headed to a runoff and could potentially be unseated outright based on the results of Tuesday’s primary elections.

Thierry received 44.4% of the votes cast in the Democratic primary for Texas House District 146, a solidly blue district that includes parts of south and southwest Houston, according to unofficial results released by the Harris County Clerk’s Office. She finished behind challenger Lauren Ashley Simmons, who garnered 49.5% of the vote, with candidates needing a majority to avoid a runoff.

The result was not unexpected, according to University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus, who said Thierry surprised fellow lawmakers and her constituents when she voiced support for Senate Bill 14, the Republican-priority legislation that would ban gender-transitioning healthcare for minors in the state. Thierry also voted in support of a law prohibiting certain books from school libraries, which was viewed as discriminatory toward literature with LGBTQ+ themes, as well as a bill prohibiting collegiate athletes from competing on teams that do not align their gender at birth.

Thierry’s votes upset fellow Democrats and prompted primary challenges from the party’s more progressive wing, with Houston Black Lives Matter activist Ashton Woods also running and finishing a distance third. Thierry, first elected in 2016, also drew support from Republicans.

“This outcome is really a consequence of gerrymandering,” Rottinghaus said. “When politicians deviate from the party line, they’re more likely to get a rebuke from somebody in their party. She ended up with a pretty well-financed opponent, and that was enough to push her into a runoff.”

Requests to interview Thierry or a representative of her campaign, made through her campaign as well as her office at the Texas Capitol in Austin, were not granted before publication.

Grant Martin, a political consultant for Simmons, was not ready to say Wednesday that the race is headed for a May 28 runoff. Because votes have yet to be canvassed and provisional ballots are still being counted, he said it remained possible that Simmons could win outright.

Whichever Democrat wins the primary will face Republican Lance York, who was unopposed in his primary, in the November general election.

Martin said the campaign for Simmons has been building momentum as more voters in District 146 learn about Thierry’s recent voting record and the financial support her campaign has received from conservatives such as Doug Deason, a Dallas billionaire. Simmons also endorsements from local workers unions and teachers unions, the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus and fellow Democrats such as former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Houston City Controller Chris Hollins and state Reps. Jessica Gonzalez and Gene Wu.

“It’s a Democratic primary, and you’re electing a Democrat to represent their Democratic values,” Martin said. “If a person doesn’t represent them anymore, it just makes common sense they’re going to vote for someone who will.”

Thierry was not the only Democrat in the statehouse to vote with Republicans in support of some of the aforementioned legislation, with state Rep. Harold Dutton of House District 142 being another. Dutton drew three primary challengers in his district, which represents parts of east and northeast Houston, but easily held them off by receiving 60.5% of the vote.

If Tuesday’s unofficial results remain unchanged and there’s a District 146 runoff between Simmons and Thierry, Rottinghaus said it could be difficult for the embattled incumbent to prevail. A big question for Thierry is whether she continues to receive support from the political right, according to Rottinghaus.

“She could have lost outright, which wouldn’t have been that surprising,” he said. “Now she’s got a chance to be able to convince voters she’s the right person, but she’s going to have a harder time. This will be a very visible race for Democrats, who now have fewer races on which to focus. It will be one of few Democratic runoffs, and lots of progressive money and activists will be on this district.”

Culled from the Houston Public Media

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TSU Announces 2024 Annual Communication Week



TEXAS INTERNATIONAL GUARDIAN, HOUSTON, TX – The representation of diverse racial and ethnic groups, as well as sexual and gender identities in the media, is critically important because it accurately shapes decency, fairness, and unity in the community. When media lacks or portrays insensitive representations, it can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and discrimination, further marginalizing these identities.

The School of Communication (SOC) at the Texas Southern University (TSU) has announced its 2024 Commweek, signifying the 42nd Intercultural and Communication Conference. Themed “Amplifying Diverse Voices in Media and Communication”, the conference will be held April 8 – 12, 2024, and will culminate with an Awards Gala on Friday, April 12, 2024, at the University’s Tiger Room.

Ensuring a diversity of voices in the media requires holistic monitoring systems and the wider application of target-based measures for both public and private media. Amplifying diverse perspectives can instigate a richer and more inclusive media landscape that benefits the entire populace. The Intercultural Communication Conference provides a forum for scholars, students, professionals, and civic-minded leaders to explore topics with cultural, political, economic, and social implications as well as communication dynamics. But the theme is necessary and also, it is coming at the right time.

The challenges posed by a lack of diverse voices in media and communication can be seen across social, political, economic, and cultural spheres of influence. These issues can influence the views represented in news coverage and dissemination. Indeed, the diversity of perspectives is key to creating a more inclusive and equitable society.

According to Dr. Chris Ulasi, the Interim Dean of the School of Communication, “The 2024 event will be special because we are equally raising scholarship funds for gifted and economically disadvantaged students in the School of Communication.  Traditionally, a majority of our students rely on some form of financial assistance to fund their education. This is why I am using this opportunity to appeal to individuals, corporations, and community organizations to support this cause.”

According to a release made available to our newsroom, proceeds from this event will,

  • Help SOC students break down financial barriers while pursuing their academic prospects.
  • Help SOC students cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, and other educational expenses.
  • Help SOC students supplement the cost-of-living expenses such as housing, transportation, and food.
  • Create retention possibilities for students who might drop out for financial reasons.
  • Act as incentives and encouragement to students in general.
  • This financial sponsorship will be a catalyst for expanding SOC’s ongoing professional relationship with corporate businesses, community organizations, and individual sponsors.

Dr. Anthony Ogbo, co-chaired by Professor Ladonia Randle, and Ms. Michele Jones, is joined by a team of very engaging and supportive members who meet regularly to finalize the machinery for a successful event.  According to Dr. Ogbo, “The 2024 Commweek is expected to draw a line-up of dignitaries from the business, academic, and government sectors. For instance, the City of Houston’s Vice Mayor Pro-Tem, Council Member Martha Castex-Tatum will lead the conference opening ceremony on Monday, April 8. Also, Dr. Kathleen McElroy, renowned Journalist and Professor at the School of Journalism and Media at The University of Texas at Austin will lead the opening session of the intercultural conference on Thursday, April 10.”

The School of Communication (SOC) at Texas Southern University is a transformational, interdisciplinary academic school with four departments and two graduate programs: Communication Studies; Entertainment Recording Industry Management (ERIM); Journalism; Radio, Television, and Film (RTF); and Master of Arts (MA) in Communication and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Communication and Digital Media (PCDM). For 48 years, the school has been at the forefront of training culturally responsive professionals and scholars who can navigate urban and international settings with a deep sense of inclusivity and an understanding of historical legacy.

Texas Southern University possesses an impressive array of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations, a diverse faculty, 80-plus student organizations, and an extensive alumni network comprised of educators, entrepreneurs, public servants, lawyers, pilots, artists, and more, many of whom are change agents on the local, national and international stage. Nestled upon a sprawling 150-acre campus, Texas Southern University is one of the nation’s largest historically black universities.

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Breakforth Summit Houston 2024 “Worship & Healing Encounter” debuts in Houston



In two weeks, citizens from across the city of Houston will spring into the new season with the official launching of a transformational faith-based praise, worship, and healing experience that guarantees to bring full restoration, excitement, and joy into the lives of many!

Pastors Dr. Andy Osakwe and Ndidi Osakwe (who recently arrived in the city to meet with fellow faith-based leaders) will host the inaugural Breakforth Summit Houston 2024 “Worship & Healing Encounter” (Presented by AOMI and Mission USA) on Sunday, April 7th at The Power Center’s ‘Community Collective for Houston’ (12401 South Post Oak). The on-site event will be located inside the Jesse H. Jones Ballroom and event doors will open promptly at 5 PM.

Join pastors Dr. Andy Osakwe and Ndidi Oaskwe as they host this transformative healing encounter infused with soul-lifting worship from gospel music’s finest, led by international gospel star recording artist Pastor Nathaniel Bassey, Lakewood Church worship leader, Pastor Fiona Mellett, popular Houston-based worship leader and Pastor Dr. Ronke Adekosan, and recording artist, social media faith influencer Minister Melissa Bethea.

The Sunday evening celebration will feature a variety of well-known and emerging faith leaders and musical performances that will usher the audiences through prayer declarations, reading of scripture, praise and worship sessions, laying of hands, deliverance, and testimonials. Over fifty faith-based practitioners worldwide will be present to help orchestrate an experience that will deeply transform the lives of many from within. The event will present an opportunity for individuals from all walks of life and faith to join together in an environment that will spread love, encouragement, and support for all of mankind. Complimentary child care is available for children between the ages of 4 and 10.

Additionally, the Breakforth Summit Houston 2024 “Worship & Healing Encounter” will serve as an official launch pad and countdown for Pastors Andy and Ndidi’s official Houston church and ministry planting in continuation of their successful global ministry work. It is the hope and desire of the pastors to support communities to overcome adversities faced in life regularly. Dr. Andy Osakwe is the founder and overseer of the Summit Bible Church and president of Andrew Osakwe Ministries International.

Ultimately, Dr. Andy’s hope and desire to establish a worship and healing experience speaks for itself. “It will be a phenomenal and highly impactful spiritual encounter that will result in restorative liberty and transformation, which will usher in a new season of fruitfulness and personal advancement for each person in attendance.”

For Press & Media Inquiries (832) 941-8952

To learn more about the Breakforth Summit 2024 registration and volunteer opportunities, please visit the official event website online at or to keep up with the latest updates from Dr. Andy and Ndidi Osakwe, please visit

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Houston’s Urban South Brewery Celebrates Fourth Anniversary



Urban South Brewery Houston will host its upcoming Anniversary Party from Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7, in the HTX Taproom, starting at 11 AM, celebrating four years of crafting exceptional brews and fostering community culture. This milestone event will be an exciting day featuring live music, food, activities, and a vendor market.

Beer enthusiasts are also in for a treat with the release of four exclusive anniversary specialty beers. Highlights include “Press Start,” a crafted Czech Pale Lager brewed in collaboration with Parleaux Beer Lab. Additionally, beer fans can indulge in “Level Up,” an Old-Fashioned Cocktail Sour Ale infused with orange peel, Luxardo cherry syrup, and subtle bourbon barrel notes. The offerings continue with “High Score,” a robust Double IPA bursting with flavors of Mosaic, Citra, and Chinook hops, and “Game Over,” a decadent Neapolitan Ice Cream Stout layered with strawberry fruit, Tahitian vanilla bean, and milk chocolate.

To make the celebration even more memorable, fans can pre-order an Exclusive 8-Bit Beer Box featuring the four-anniversary specialty beers (Press Start, Level Up, High Score, Game Over), a 16oz can-shaped Silipint with discounted refills, and 2 tokens redeemable for draft beer.

The Anniversary Party is open to the public, welcoming families and furry friends. Urban South Brewery invites everyone to join in the festivities and toast to four years of brewing excellence.

For more information on Urban South’s Anniversary Celebration, follow the Houston taproom on Instagram and Facebook.

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