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center for civic & public policy improvement
Weekly Brief, June 1, 2021
Focus: Safety & Criminal Justice

One year later...still so much work to do...

George Floyd, son, father, brother, friend, and mentor, should be alive today. CCPPI stands with the millions across the world mourning the death of George Floyd one year after he was murdered by the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020.

 We stand with all those across the country who have experienced police brutality or lost a loved one to police violence. True justice is not possible for the individuals, families, and communities who have experienced this racial trauma and unbearable loss

Justice would be George Floyd being home with his family and his community. Here in the Third Ward community where he grew up, George Floyd continues to be honored. On May 23, 2021, George Floyd Park was dedicated. Located on the corner of Alabama Street near Scott Street across from his alma mater, Jack Yates High School, the park features a monument with George Floyd’s portrait and the words, “I can’t breathe Mama.” The space is designed to convey the ‘peacefulness of his spirit.’ 

At CCPPI, we advocate for policies that will bring justice to Black Americans, communities of color, and other marginalized groups. Across the U.S, Black people are more likely to be killed by the police, while more likely to be unarmed, and less likely to be threatening someone when killed. According to the Texas Justice Initiative, Texas police have shot 140 people, killing 86, since George Floyd was murdered last May. Despite Texas’ population being just 12% Black, 24% of those shot by police since last May were Black.
On top of this, the 87th Texas legislative session ended two days ago on May 31, 2021, with much needed changes stalled or not passed into law.

One example: the lack of progress on The George Floyd Act: Police Use of Force and Accountability Omnibus Bill (HB 88). To learn more about the bill, check out our piece from last month: No Justice, No Peace. While parts of the omnibus bill have passed, such as restricting the use of chokeholds and requiring officers to render first aid -- both of these long-overdue and fundamental to public safety, civil rights, and human decency -- the full policy changes that could hold police accountable and create much needed reforms have not passed.

More on Police Accountability in Texas

Defunding the police just got a whole lot more difficult for Texas cities 

Activists across the country have been organizing and advocating for cities to “defund the police” since George Floyd was killed. They have called on elected officials and city governments to reduce their massive police budgets and invest the funds in mental health services, affordable housing, public education, and accessible health care. While the George Floyd Act and other bills designed to hold the police accountable and mitigate the harm and violence from officers to civilians did not pass this session, HB 1900 did.
HB 1900 penalizes big cities in Texas if they reduce their police department budgets. The bill targets cities with more than 250,000 residents (Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi, Plano, Laredo, and Lubbock) and states that if a city is “determined by the governor’s office to have cut police funding, it allows the state to appropriate part of that city’s sales taxes and use that money to pay expenses for the Texas Department of Public Safety.”

Some good news: The Botham Jean Act Passes 

The Botham Jean Act, or Bo’s Law (numbered HB 929 for his birthday), named for the 26-year-old Dallas accountant who was killed in his own apartment by an off-duty white police officer, has passed the Texas legislature. The law requires an officers’ body-worn camera to “be activated for the entirety of an investigation that involves them.” Bill author Representative Carl Sherman and bill sponsor Senator Royce West are elated to have the bill pass the legislative process and believe this is a step closer to creating system change.

National Foster Care Month & the Movement to #ReimagineChildSafety...

On April 20, 2021, sixteen-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was tragically shot four times and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio while defending herself with a knife from a young woman at her foster home. Her death was preceded by two years of moving through multiple living situations in the foster care system, physically separated from her mother and grandmother. If the child welfare system had paid for her grandmother’s housing as requested to be able to care for Ma’Khia and her younger sister, instead of paying a foster family to house the girls, Ma’Khia would still be alive today

May 31st was the last day of National Foster Care Month. There is a growing movement by abolitionists and activists to expose the myth that the foster care system is “saving children” and take action to reimagine a broken system that relies on the over-surveillance of Black parents (particularly Black mothers) and separation of Black children from their families. Instead of the “Child Welfare System,” those in the movement use the terminology “Family Policing System” or the “Family Regulation System” because that language aligns with the reality for many children and families.

Although the Child Welfare system’s mission is ostensibly to protect children, its long history of racist practice and the disproportionate harm experienced by Black children and families says otherwise.
Nationally, and in Texas, Black children are more likely to be removed from their parents than white children, less likely to reunite with their families than white children, and more likely to end up growing up in foster care. For example, Black children represent 23% of children in foster care although they only represent 14% of the general U.S population. This month, a report out of San Antonio found that state officials knew that foster children were being illegally placed into an unsafe shelter (which violated 239 state minimum standards between 2016 and 2020); the secret was only revealed when a whistleblower came forward

The family regulation/separation system is rooted in America’s history of white supremacism, chattel slavery, and the genocide and cultural genocide of Indigenous people. From this history, the system evolved and continues to rely upon the oppressive narrative that drives the removal of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx children from their families.
To watch a short video (2 min) on the racist roots of the foster care system click here.
To learn more & watch a slightly longer video (10 min) on the racist roots of the foster care system click here.

A Clemency Rejection for Quintin Jones...

Quintin Jones’ story was heard around the country as he was set to be the second person executed in Texas since the COVID-19 pandemic began, in a state that typically executes many more people (far more than any other state). Texas is one of only two states to execute anyone during the global pandemic. Suleika Jaouad, writer and author of the memoir Between Two Kingdoms details her friendship with Quintin Jones after he penned a letter to her based on an article she wrote about her experience living with cancer. Ms. Jaouad recorded a video of Quintin Jones through the New York Times in which he asks Governor Abbott directly to grant him clemency.

Mr. Jones was sentenced to death for killing his great-aunt in 1999, a crime that he takes responsibility for and for which his family has forgiven him; they pleaded with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Governor to spare his life. Tens of thousands of others did as well, especially after the same decision-makers spared the life of Thomas Whitaker, a white man with a similar death row case

Tragically, Quintin Jones, who is Black, was executed on May 19, 2021. Black Texans are overrepresented on death row. The Black population of Texas is less than 13% but Black people make up 44.6% of incarcerated people on death row. During Mr. Jones’s execution, because of a “miscommunication error”, for the first time in 40 years, Texas executed someone without the media present, who legally must be present in order to “provide accountability to the public about the process.” As Equal Justice Initiative founder, Bryan Stevenson, writes, “The death penalty symbolizes whom we fear and don’t fear, whom we care about and those whose lives are not valid.”

Affordable Housing Progress...

St. Charles Place Apartments Now Preleasing 

The St. Charles Place Apartments is located at 3131 St. Charles Street at Elgin. They consist of 20 residential units including 2 studios, 2 one bedroom units designed for individuals who are mobility impaired, and 16 one bedroom units. 
Rents range from $600 to $975. Proof of income is required as there are maximum income restrictions for all households.
For more information please contact Stress Free Property Solutions at

Completion of the One Emancipation Center (Affordable Housing Operations Center) has an anticipated completion of May 2021. It is located at 3131 Emancipation Ave., Houston, TX 77004.
This five-story building will house CCPPI and other agencies dedicated to affordable housing development, advocacy, and economic growth of the community. Those interested in lease information, renderings, and marketing materials, please contact our commercial realtor partners Ed Ryland, ARVO, or Chip Horne, Cushman & Wakefield. 

Development Opportunities:
There are development opportunities to create affordable housing in Houston that are regularly updated on the CCPPI website. You can find those contract opportunities here.

Check out our Social Media pages below for updates on CCPPI’s work, local advocacy efforts, and news stories on the topics of housing, healthcare, education, and criminal justice and safety. 

The Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing policies that promote human, civic, social, and economic justice, and to taking the necessary action to affect progress in all areas of civic improvement throughout the culturally diverse communities
in the Southern United States.

Copyright © 2021 CCPPI, All rights reserved.

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