The Houston Forward Times (HFT), which will be celebrating 54 years of "Reporting The Truth*Affecting Change*Moving Forward" next month, held its annual Holiday Party and Toy Drive this past Friday, December 20, 2013, at the historic Houston Forward Times headquarters located at 4411 Almeda Rd., Houston, TX 77004. (See photos on page 1B and 2B)
Through its annual Holiday Party and Toy Drive, the HFT was able to collect hundreds of toys that were distributed to needy children and families at the Cuney Homes in Third Ward Houston.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, which is Texas’ longest-running publisher of books on Texas history since 1917, the HFT was first published in 1960 by its founder Julius Carter. It was subsequently owned and operated by Lenora "Doll" Carter after her husband’s death in 1971 and is a weekly Black newspaper that is on historical record as being one of the few Black newspapers in the country to print its own publication as well as publish the University of Houston’s Daily Cougar and other publications.
One of the primary catalysts of the HFT, however, was its commitment to giving back to the community in various ways, which is indicative of the outpouring of appreciation that families had when the HFT was on hand to deliver the collected toys this year.
Giving back to the community is nothing new to the HFT, as every month this year the HFT has spearheaded and participated in initiatives that have made a tremendous impact on our community, our readers and our youth.
Here’s a breakdown of how the HFT has made a difference in 2013:
- January – Became a major partner and opened up a donation account with the initial deposit for the Heart of Ethan Project, an organization inspired by two HFT articles. Baby Ethan was in desperate need of a heart transplant and after initially not being on the heart transplant list at all, Baby Ethan was miraculously added and placed at the top of the list and received his heart.
- February – The HFT along with other members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) put continuous national pressure on North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue to grant individual pardons of actual innocence to all members of the Wilmington Ten, in what civil rights leaders across the nation have called a significant moment in the civil rights movement. The Wilmington Ten – nine Black males and one White female – were activists who, along with hundreds of Black students in the New Hanover County Public School System, protested rampant racial discrimination in 1971 and were falsely convicted, and sentenced to 282 years in prison, some of which they each served.
- March -- Partnered with and became a key sponsor of the Texas Business Alliance Youth Entrepreneurship Academy program, a 6-month program that equips teenagers between the ages of 14-19 with the necessary tools to turn their business ideas into a real business.
- April – Wrote major stories and became a partner and strong supporter of Dazie Williams and Life over Fashion, a non-profit organization established to honor the memory of her son Joshua Woods, whose was murdered for a pair of Nike Air Jordans in December 2012.
- May – Held 2nd Annual Visionary Pastors Awards, where community pastors were honored and given deserved recognition for their work in the community and with youth.
- June – Provided summer internships to seven local high school students, to teach them the intricacies and major components of journalism and media professionalism.
- July – Sponsored local youth to go compete nationally in the Young Champions of America National Competition in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
- August -- Provided several scholarships, through the Julius and Lenora Carter Scholarship and Youth Foundation, for graduating high school students who are pursuing careers in communication and media.
- September – Became a sponsor and media partner for the National Black United Front’s N’Joya Weusi Science and Cultural Arts Saturday School.
- October – Became a media partner for the 9th Annual National Black Pre-Law Admissions & Preparation Conference and Law School Recruitment Fair, which focuses on reaching out to African-Americans interested in becoming lawyers in order to provide them with game-changing "insider" information, resources, contacts, and confidence to increase their chances of success.
- November – Sponsored the Heart of Ethan Project "One Heart One Life: Connecting the Community Together" Inaugural Gala, to raise funds for Baby Ethan’s family.
- December -- Collected toys at Annual Holiday Party and Toy Drive, for needy and underprivileged children and delivered them to the residents of the Cuney Homes in Third Ward.
There are so many other efforts and initiatives that the HFT has participated in and contributed towards in 2013, that it would make your head spin. Nevertheless, the HFT has enjoyed giving back to the community and fighting for causes that are important to the community.
The HFT is so grateful for the support of their subscribers, advertisers and the community at large, and the HFT will be sure to throw some new initiatives, centered around family, health, community, education, economics, and much more in the mix for 2014.
Stay tuned and stay connected to the HFT!