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Rep. Helen Giddings

A number of new officers were name to the Texas Legislative Black Caucus leadership on this week. Chief among them was the election of State Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, as chairperson.

“I am honored to have the confidence of my fellow African American legislators to lead the Texas Legislative Black Caucus during this critical time for our state,” said Giddings. “The talents and skills of every member of the TLBC will be utilized to develop an agenda that builds on past successes and confronts the challenges of today.”

Now serving her 11th term, Representative Helen Giddings serves the cities of House District 109: Dallas, DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Glenn Heights, Hutchins, Lancaster, Wilmer, as well as part of Duncanville.

Rep. Helen Giddings has a longstanding reputation as being an ardent education and business advocate; and recently lent her concerns over the recently overturned Texas Voter ID law. The statute was struck down by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday.

“Today is a great day for Texas voters and Texas families. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that Texas’ Voter ID law places an unfair and unconstitutional barrier to our democracy,” Rep. Giddings said. “I am thrilled the court declared the right to vote shall not be infringed.”

The stringent Voter ID law passed in 2011 has proven to be an enormous barrier to democracy for Texas’ most vulnerable communities, including college students, the working poor, and the elderly. Some estimates have indicated that up to 700,000 otherwise eligible Texans have lost their right to vote since the law was passed.

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Lynn Whitfield-1

Acclaimed actress and thespian, Lynn Whitfield began her acting career in television and theatre, before progressing to supporting roles in film. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special and a NAACP Image Award for her performance as Josephine Baker in the HBO movie, The Josephine Baker Story. She also won NAACP Image Awards for her work in Touched by an Angel, The Planet of Junior Brown and Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story.

Some of her most revered and notable film roles include performances in, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Eve’s Bayou, The Cheetah Girls, Madea’s Family Reunion, and the Cheetah Girls 2.

She started her illustrious acting career at an early age appearing in the Black Repertory Company in Washington, DC as well as appearing in off-Broadway productions, ultimately receiving early acclaim for her performance in “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” co-starring Alfre Woodard.

The Texas Legislative Black Caucus is pleased to have Lynn Whitfield as the Keynote Speaker of the Community Awards Breakfast during the 2015 Summit, where she will also be honored as the recipient of the treasured, TLBC Excellence Award during the TLBC Scholarship Awards Banquet.

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YOLANDA ADAMS - Photo One ('Becoming') (2)

Ask  Yolanda Adams what she loves about her music and ministry.  The answer is as warm, embracing, and reflective as her songs.  “The music brings joy.  I truly believe that my songs bring the answers and the solutions, as opposed to just talking about the problems.  My music at its core is joyful.”

 

Joyful, uplifting, inspiring, affirmative, exuberant, playful, and universal in its appeal and intention – that is the music of Yolanda Adams.  The message and ministry of this Grammy-winning Gospel/Adult Contemporary superstar is abundant with love, faith, rhythm, and wisdom.  It is delivered by one of the most persuasive and popular voices in contemporary Gospel.  Working with some of the biggest names in pop, R&B, hip-hop, and gospel, Yolanda Adams’ career has been marked by a string of hugely successful albums, sold-out tours, standout TV appearances, and a desire to incorporate into her music a multitude of genres and influences.

“It’s vitally important to keep growing now that people know me and my music,” she says.  “We’ve been blessed enough to impact so many lives, both in and out of the typical gospel market, so on each album it’s important to keep reaching outward so that even more people can get inspiration from what we do.  Luckily, I don’t have to be anybody but Yolanda, because people don’t expect me to be anything other than who I am.  For an artist, it’s a great place to be.”

 

A lifelong resident of Houston, Texas, Yolanda grew up in a household filled with spirit, soul, and songs.  Her mother studied music, and Yolanda and her five younger siblings heard everything from jazz to classical to rhythm and blues.  She soaked up the sounds of gospel legends James Cleveland and the Edwin Hawkins Singers, jazz icon Nancy Wilson, and pop/R&B great Stevie Wonder.  That wide swath of sonic textures, combined with years in the church choir, would guide Yolanda – both as a performer and a person.

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