Let’s take a look back at some of the top stories featured in 2023
As we have entered 2024, as well as our 64th year without missing a week of print, the Forward Times continues to be a beacon of light and the most trusted news source across the Greater Houston area.
The unique and timely way that we cover news important to, about, and for the Black community is unparalleled.
With that being said, the Forward Times had you covered all year long with specialized local, state, national, and international news that kept our readers up to date on the issues and stories they care about. From politics to education, health to sports, or local government to feature stories, the Forward Times delivered the news in a way that only we can and are known for.
Here are just a few of the important stories we covered in 2023:
- To kick the year off in January, we highlighted Houston-based entrepreneur Kim Roxie, owner of LAMIK, which is an acronym for Love And Makeup In Kindness, who became the first Texas-based African American-owned vegan cosmetics line to be featured on the Home Shopping Network (HSN). Roxie appeared before HSN’s 24-hour audience of over 96 million viewers and debuted her latest LAMIK collection of cosmetic products.
- As the 2023 Texas Legislative Session began in January, the Forward Times began writing the first of several future articles, highlighting the potential disparate impact that proposed legislation championed by Lt. Governor Patrick and other Texas Republicans. Specifically, the legislation that would impose “a 10-year mandatory jail sentence to anyone convicted of using a gun while committing a crime,” with no clear specificity of what the proposed legislation would look like. The Forward Times made it crystal clear that the absence of clarity in the proposed legislation would no doubt jumpstart mass incarceration in Texas, especially after Texas Republicans allowed easier and increased access to guns in the previous two legislative sessions (2019 and 2021).
- Forward Times CEO and Publisher Karen Carter Richards joined the DePelchin Children’s Center Board of Directors.
- Super Bowl LVII made Black History, as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and Greater Houston-area talent Jalen Hurts faced off against Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, making it the first time two Black quarterbacks started in a Super Bowl.
- The Forward Times spoke with various elected officials, community leaders, and stakeholders regarding the controversial discussion surrounding the potential takeover of the Houston Independent School District (HISD) by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which eventually occurred after the article was published.
- The new $25.8 million Sunnyside Health and Multi-Service Center opened, located at 4410 Reed Road, and now offers more than 57,000 square feet of combined community service-oriented, multi-service center, and health center programs in one facility.
- S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee announced that she was running to become mayor of the City of Houston, in a bid to replace term-limited Mayor Sylvester Turner.
- To celebrate Women’s History Month, we highlighted and celebrated two trailblazing women who have made their mark in the food service industry—Ms. Alfreddie Brooks (Co-Founder of Harlon’s Bar-B-Que) and Candace Brooks (current Owner and operator of Harlon’s Bar-B-Que).
- Hip-Hop legend and restaurateur Bun B celebrated his 50th birthday with a surprise birthday bash and vow renewal ceremony, all planned by his wife of 20 years, “Queenie” Walls, at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston.
- The University of Houston men’s basketball team made it to the Sweet 16 of the annual NCCA Tournament after defeating Auburn 81-64.
- As part of Women’s History Month, we highlighted Calandrian Simpson Kemp, who lost her son, George Kemp Jr., to gun violence over 10 years ago, and founded The Village of Mothers in 2014, with a mission to inspire hope by encouraging, building, and strengthening mothers through faith by genuine friendships and resources.
- As part of National Autism Awareness Month, the Forward Times shared the story of Missouri City Councilmember Lynn Clouser raising her child who had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
- The Texas Southern University Cheerleading Team made history by winning a national title at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) College National Championship.
- Featured 21st century musician and philanthropist Eric Gordon Wright, whose local organization helped launch the career of Grammy-nominated and platinum selling artist, MAJOR, and continues to expose underserved youth to music and fine arts.
- Local hip-hop artist BuddieRoe headlined the NCAA Men’s Final Four Halftime Show with Bun B and TSU’s Ocean of Soul Marching Band.
- Highlighted the celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the historic Julia C. Hester House, which continues to provide programs and social services to Fifth Ward residents.
- Mu Mu Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. hosted a Prostate Awareness Seminar to highlight the importance of Black men being proactive about getting annual prostate exams.
- Legendary singer, songwriter, and actress Tina Turner—the ‘Queen of Rock’n Roll’—passed away at the age of 83 after a long illness.
- With the second pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected C.J. Stroud, quarterback from Ohio State. They then traded up and selected Will Anderson Jr., linebacker from Alabama, with their newly acquired third pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
- Exclusive interview with Dr. Dietra Trent, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through HBCUs, as she discussed her journey, explained her role, and shared her motivation to get involved with this work. She came to Houston to serve as Texas Southern University’s 2023 Spring Commencement keynote speaker.
- Olympic Swimmer Cullen Jones raised awareness of Water Safety, as drowning is the #1 cause of death for children ages 1 to 4.
- Native Houstonian Crawford “Mickey” McGill, and the team he leads at Reveal Wealth Strategies were named to the prestigious list of “Best-in-State Wealth Management Teams” published by Forbes.
- Gerry Monroe, local education advocate and Jack Yates alum, passed away at age 55.
- Lesia L. Crumpton-Young, who was selected as the 13th President of TSU in 2021, submitted a letter to the TSU Board of Regents announcing her abrupt departure from the University, and TSU Regent Dr. Mary Sias was appointed as interim president of TSU.
- Featured Houston native and MLB Outfielder Corey Julks realized his childhood dream of playing baseball for the hometown Houston Astros.
- Story shining the light on the ever-increasing crime of seller fraud, deed fraud, and seller impersonation across the Greater Houston area.
- Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1933 (SB1933) into law which gave the Texas Secretary of State’s office the unchecked power to take over any elections in Harris County and potentially overturn the voting results in Harris County.
- After Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath made the announcement that the Houston Independent School District (HISD) was officially being taken over, he replaced then-Superintendent Millard House II with a new interim superintendent, F. Mike Miles, and replaced the HISD Board of Trustees with a self-appointed, nine-member Board of Managers. Miles immediately came in and implemented his historically controversial reform plan referred to as the “New Education System” model at predominately Black and brown schools.
- Houston-native and longtime labor leader, Claude Cummings Jr., made history after being elected by the delegates as the first Black president of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) at their 79th annual convention.
- HISD selected former Jack Yates High School student and teacher, Stephanie Torrez Square, to lead the historic school into the future.
- The Forward Times brought home two NNPA Messenger Awards and Forward Times Publisher/CEO concluded her second and final term as NNPA Chairwoman.
- After two mistrials, a third jury unanimously found A.J. Armstrong Jr. guilty of the capital murder of his parents—Antonio Armstrong Sr., and his wife Dawn Armstrong.
- Special feature story on local boxer, “Marvelous” Marquis Taylor, who is making his mark in the boxing world.
- Local working mothers, Rebecca Briscoe and Nakia Cooper, launched an initiative called “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to expose thousands of Black youth to Astros baseball.
- Eight HBCU bands, including Texas Southern University’s “Ocean of Soul,” competed at the 2023 Pepsi “National Battle of the Bands” competition, which also honored the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
- HISD eliminated school librarians at predominately Black and brown schools, despite public outcry.
- S. Congressman Al Green hosted his historic 2nd Annual Slavery Remembrance Legislative Update and free Commemorative Breakfast, where he paid homage to the historical Houston Black Press, including the historic Forward Times.
- Reported on a local business who controversially demanded large sums of money to return the ID of a young Black tourist in town celebrating her birthday with friends.
- Exclusive one-on-one interview with David A. Northern, Sr., President and CEO of Houston Housing Authority.
- University of Houston campus received a Turkey Day Classic Official Texas Historical Marker to honor the 20-year tradition of the Jack Yates Lions vs. Phillis Wheatley Wildcats football games.
- Provided a synopsis of the 774 new laws that were signed into law coming out of the 88th Texas Legislative Session, that went into effect on September 1st of last year.
- Karen Carter Richards was elected as NNPA Fund Chair after serving two successful terms as NNPA Chair.
- Exclusive interview with Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth on the recent legislation that returned election administrative responsibilities back to the Harris County Clerk’s office, and the preparations made to ensure an effective transition.
- Highlighted the impressive seven straight championship appearances for the Houston Astros and the success of Dusty Baker and his team, despite the team falling short of going to the World Series again.
- Provided Forward Times readers with pertinent and timely information relative to voting in the November election.
- Local political blogger Aubrey Taylor was indicted for attacking local businessman Gerald Womack, campaign chair for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, at his business office. Taylor subsequently filed a civil lawsuit.
- Three Prairie View A&M University alumni came together to provide animal care for the Third Ward community, with a business called CAWLM, which offers a wide range of services, from grooming and dentistry to surgery and radiology.
- Congressman Al Green and Senator Elizabeth Warren requested a Presidential Medal of Freedom for America’s enslaved people of African descent.
- Longtime civic leader and model public servant, Laurence J. “Larry” Payne, passed away at age 73.
- Texas Legislative Black Caucus celebrated their 50th Anniversary, remembering the eight trailblazing leaders who founded the organization in 1973.
- Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the Historic MacGregor Park will receive long-planned improvements as his second and final term neared completion.
- Feature story on the leadership and longevity of Fort Bend County Commissioner Grady Prestage, who hopes to be remembered as the most effective and longest serving Fort Bend County Commissioner in history.
- Eye-opening article on air pollution in the City of Houston and the research that shows air pollution negatively impacts people of color in select areas of Houston, primarily areas where people of color are the primary target.
- Spotlighted the Blue Triangle Multi-Cultural Association (BTMCA), which stands as a beacon of community strength, resilience, and cultural preservation. Its importance in the Third Ward community is multifaceted and deeply rooted in the organization’s rich history, transformative programs, and its commitment to fostering unity.
- Former Houston City Councilman Dwight Boykins committed to provide home repairs for 10 Seniors Citizens at No Cost for Christmas.
- Community leader Alvin D. Byrd Jr. passed away at age 70.
- These are just some of the many impactful and insightful stories that were featured in the historic Forward Times last year. There were many more, and we look forward to providing the content you have grown to love and trust as we celebrate our 64th year of service to the community. Have a wonderful 2024, everyone!!!