Celebrating Black History Month

Each year in the month of February we celebrate Black History Month. It is a time for us all to learn, reflect, and give appreciation to Black Americans for their contributions and accomplishments to our country. Black History is American History, and may we never forget the sacrifices of the many Black people before us that have led to the progress we have made. Now as a leader myself, I am conscious of the necessary sacrifices I must make to continue that progress for the history yet to be written. 
Check out this article that highlights a few contributions of Black Americans throughout history. Photo courtesy Oprah Daily

VIDEO: Steppin’ Back in Time Exhibit on Display at City Hall

Steppin’ Back in Time is an exhibit at City Hall that showcases the history of Black businesses in Houston, specifically on Dowling St. (now Emancipation Ave.). Council Member Pollard was able to speak at the exhibit’s ribbon cutting on the importance of knowing our history and focusing on policy that will enable minority businesses to flourish in our city and become competitive for city contracts. The exhibit will be open to the public to view in the City Hall rotunda for 40 days. Special thanks to the Houston Informer, H-E-B, the Office of Business Opportunity, Office of Complete Communities, and all the other sponsors who helped put this together.
Steppin Back in Time

Redistricting – Welcome New Residents


Bissonnet St. Granted Nearly $30 Million in Federal Funding

In 2022, Council Member Pollard wrote a letter to Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, requesting an allocation of dollars to improve Bissonnet Street (S. Dairy Ashford to Hillcroft), one of the most dangerous streets in the city which happens to be in District J. Although the prospect of getting the funding was a long shot, the request was an attempt to rid Bissonnet of its many challenges that have plagued the area for decades. This month, it was announced that nearly $30 million will be allocated to the city of Houston, specifically for improvements to Bissonnet St. as part of the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant. The package will include street reconstruction, enhanced crosswalks, better lighting, rapid flashing beacons at crosswalks, wider sidewalks, dedicated turn lanes at intersections, landscaping improvements, and other developments. The infrastructure improvements to this street should then lead to a more attractive area for housing, businesses, and services. Council Member Pollard thanks everyone in the Mayor’s office for their leadership and collaboration to make this happen.

Improving Education in Houston

Educators, parents, students and other community stakeholders were in attendance at theCitywide Issues Assembly on Education at Baker Ripley. There were breakout sessions over a variety of topics that allowed attendees to share ideas on how to improve education locally. Thanks to Leadership for Educational Equity, Latinos for Education, One Houston, Good Reason Houston, and The Education Trust for organizing this important event. Special shout out to Sandra Rodriguez for hosting and inviting Council Member Pollard to participate.

District J Sees Decrease in Human Trafficking

January was National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, but this is an issue that deserves attention year-round. District J has seen a substantial 36% decrease in human trafficking from 2021 to 2022. The City is committed to protecting and empowering survivors of all forms of human trafficking, to prosecute traffickers, and to bring an end to human trafficking in Houston. Recently, the City partnered with Blue Heart foundation to present financial contributions to local organizations that focus specifically on these issues. Our airport system is leading the country on policy and procedure to train employees on ways to help prevent human trafficking.

Applications Open for Hire Houston Youth Program

Applications are now being accepted for the Mayor’s Hire Houston Youth Program, which gives young people ages 16 to 24 an opportunity to earn a paid internship for eight weeks during the summer. The jobs will be available in various City departments and will allow young people a chance to learn how local government works. All applicants must reside withing Houston and must be eligible to work in the U.S. For more information, scan the QR code below or visit the web address.

COH Job Fair Invites All Skill Levels

The City of Houston has partnered with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for a job fair on Wednesday, February 15, from 9 to 1. Interested parties are asked to submit an application prior to the event. For more information, scan the QR code below or visit the website address.

Welcoming the New HPD Cadet Class

The Houston Police Department invited Council Member Pollard to be a guest speaker and address a new class of cadets visiting China Town in District J. The event was part of the cadets’ multicultural bus tour that helps educate them on the diversity in the City and serves as part of their training on tolerance. District J is the most diverse district in Houston, with residents and business owners from various countries throughout the world. Special thanks to Southwest District for organizing, Officer Vo for coordinating, and the Tan Tan Restaurant for hosting.

HPD Midwest PIP Meeting

The next Houston Police Department PIP meeting will take place Wednesday, February 15 from 7 – 8 p.m. at 7277 Regency Square Blvd. The speaker for the meeting will be Crisis Intervention Sgt. Garza with the Mental Health Unity.

Houston Public Library Black History Events

The Houston Public Library will host several events in honor of Black History Month during February. Readings and discussions with notable figures in the Black literary community, along with many activities for kids and teens are available throughout the month. A few offerings are listed below. For a complete schedule, please visit https://houstonlibrary.org/home. Some events require registration.
An Evening with Carole Boston Weatherford
The African American History Research Center
February 15 at 6 PM
An Evening with Dawud Anyabwile
The African American History Research Center
February 9 at 6:30 PM
Divine Nine: History in the Making
Join Larry M. Moore of the National Pan-Hellenic Council for a presentation on Black Greek life followed by a live Step performance.
Central Library
February 18 at 10 AM
ComicTalks: Black Representation
Join Jamie Robertson and Marcelese Cooper, hosts of the Where I See Me podcast, to discuss Black representation in comics.
This virtual event will be livestreamed on HPL’s Facebook page.
February 25 at 11 AM

Summer Lifeguard Jobs Available

Summer will be here before you know it! The City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department is accepting applications for lifeguards. In addition to hourly pay, the City is offering at $500 incentive. Those interested but be at least 16 years of age on or before May 31, 2023. Lifeguards must pass standard Lifeguard Swim Evaluation as well as a physical exam, drug test and criminal background check. For a list of all requirements and to apply, scan the QR code below or call 832-395-7129.

Get Involved in Your Community

In order to make District J the best it can be, we all have to do our part. There are so many opportunities for your to get involved and advocate for your neighborhood. The City of Houston’s Department of Neighborhoods is offering Complete Communities University, a series of sessions in-person or online that teach about the opportunities to become more civically engaged. The deadline to apply is February 8. 

Autism Services Update from Social Motion

In January, the Center for Pursuit/Social Motion program expanded to the East End of Houston. In addition to East End, they now offer after-school social skills classes in Cypress, Katy, Spring Branch and Sharpstown. Transition to Employability Center (TEC) provides hands-on vocational assessments to determine skills, interests, and behaviors that support employment pathways for transition-aged students. For more information about all the services Social Motion provides, visitwww.thecenterforpursuit.org.

Community Meetings

Exchanging creative ideas, discussing issues and getting to know our neighbors is what community meetings are all about. Council Member Pollard enjoyed speaking with residents during meetings with the Braeburn Super Neighborhood, Sharpstown Civic Association, Larchmont Civic Association, and the Robindell Civic Club. Everyone is encouraged to come out and get involved.

MLK Holiday Parade

Council Member Pollard represented District J while riding alongside other city leaders during the 45th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Festival in downtown Houston. Mayor Sylvester Turner served as Grand Marshall. Co-Grand Marshalls included Rev. derrick King (MLK’s nephew), Dr. Camille Cash and the late John W. Bland in memoriam.

VIDEO: New Alief Community Center

A new state-of-the-art community center is now open in Alief. The $61 million facility sits on 38 acres of land, and the building is 70,000 square feet. The center includes a vast amount of amenities and resources for the community including basketball courts, a fitness gym, podcasting and green screen, audio video studio, classrooms, library, health clinic, art stations, and more. Outside there are baseball fields, soccer fields, a skate park, playground, splash pad, walking trails, outdoor basketball courts, soccer pitches, a swimming pool, and more. A huge shout out to Council Member Tiffany Thomas, Mayor Turner, the Alief Super Neighborhood Council, all the city departments, and every other organization and volunteer who helped make this come to life.
Alief Community Center

2nd Annual Lifestyle Festival at Turkish Center

The Raindrop Turkish Center held a ribbon cutting for its 2nd Annual Lifestyle Festival. Council Member Pollard was the guest speaker for the event, which featured handmade art, a variety of dishes to sample and offerings from small businesses representing several customs and backgrounds. This is just one more example of the great diversity on displace within the District. Special thanks to Orhan Osman and the entire leadership of the Raindrop Foundation.

Republic Day of India Flag Raising

Local residents came out to help celebrate the Republic Day of India with a flag raising ceremony commemorating the date the Constitution of India cam into effect on January 26, 1950. Council Member Pollard was honored with the task of raising the Texas flag and serving as a guest speaker. Special thanks to the Consul General of India, Shri Aseem Mahjan.

Alpha Merit Beautillion

Council Member Pollard joined Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth and Khalil Johns of the Houston Police Department to support the Alpha Merit Beautillion program. The nonprofit organization supports young men as they transition from high school to college and stress the importance of civic responsibility.

VIDEO: Support Red and Blue

The Support Red & Blue non-profit organization exists as a reminder of how important it is to show appreciation to our local firefighters and police officers. Council Member Pollard appeared with businessman and board chair Dick Hite on the Houston Newsmakers program in KPRC Channel 2. Check out the interview below.
Houston Newsmakers: Support for first responders with billboards

Celebrating the Lunar New Year

Several events took place in January to celebrate the Lunar New Year. In District J, the Chinese Community Center held an event for residents, business owners and visitors to acknowledge the year of the rabbit. Special thanks to the Southwest Management District.
In a second celebratory event, Dr. Jianwei Feng and Dr. Yujing Li of JF Southwest Heart Center invited Council Member Pollard to give remarks at their annual gather, which included traditional lion dancing.

New Businesses in District J

Congratulations to the owners of the new Selam Ethio Eritrea Specialty Store, located in District J. The business held its ribbon cutting and grand opening in January.
The newly opened Renterias Curves boutique is brings another shopping option for women’s fashion and accessories. The store features items that convey authentic Mexican culture.

Supporting Dress for Success

In honor of Women’s History Month in March, Dress for Success Houston is organizing a giving campaign called Her Path Forward. Each contribution will have a positive impact on women on their journey to self-sufficiency. Dress for Success Houston helps with job search skills, career development, veteran resources and more. See the information below for details on how you can support this great organization.

NCAA Final Four Coming to Houston

The NCAA Final Four will be right here in Houston starting April 1. The games will take place at NRG stadium, and four local universities will act as host schools (Texas Southern University, Rice, Houston Christian University and University of Houston). Other events, including the fan fest and concerts will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green, respectively.

Houston Public Library Forgives Fines

The Houston Public Library is now Fine Free, meaning no more late fines. Along with this change, the library wants everyone to have a Fresh Start. From now until February 18th, visit a Houston Public Library location in person, bring back overdue items, and ask for your account to be cleared. Any late fines and fees for lost or damaged items will be cleared. To find the closest Library, anyone can visit houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313 for more information.

District J Private Trash Day

Another installation of District J Private Trash Day is in the books. Thanks to the crew from Nexus Disposal for providing professional, timely and reliable services. District J is the only district in the city that offers residents periodic private trash service to pick up heavy trash and tree waste from the curb. This program is a supplement to regular garbage services provided by the City.

District J Promotes Education with CYCLE Partnership

Changing Young Children’s Lives Through Education (CYCLE) is a nonprofit organization that gives second grade students a chance to earn a free bicycle by doing well in school. The program is funded through corporate sponsorship and volunteers to acquire and assemble the bikes, which are distributed through school districts. District J is starting a collaboration with CYCLE to help reach and impact even more children. Special thanks to Charmaine LeBlanc for her leadership and efforts. To learn more about CYCLE, please visit cyclehouston.org.

Interfaith Ministries iLead MLK Conference

In honor of the holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Interfaith Ministries held the iLead MLK Conference. Council Member Pollard was the keynote speaker. He addressed an audience of eighth graders and their parents about the importance of leadership and the role his grandfather, Rev. TJ Jemison, played as a mentor of Dr. King during the civil rights era. Special thanks to the Board and staff of Interfaith Ministries Mr. Larry Payne for the introduction.

District J Projects

S. Gessner Panel Replacement Update
The Citywide Concrete Panel Replacement Project is ongoing. Crews have replaced panels along S. Gessner near Valley West Elementary.
Forum Park Update
Construction completion at Forum Park is expected by late February, with the park reopening shortly thereafter. The improvements include a new mini-pitch and half-court basketball court, an updated walking trail, off-street parking lot, and shade for the playground area.
Richmond Plaza South Drainage and Paving Improvements
Construction of the Richmond Plaza South Drainage and Paving project is expected to begin in March. This project provides for the design and construction of stormwater drainage improvements, necessary concrete paving, curbs, sidewalks, driveways and underground utilities. A virtual community meeting will take place Thursday, Feb. 16 at 5;30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.
For more information on this project and the meeting, visit https://www.engagehouston.org/richmond-plaza-south-drainage-and-paving-improvements.
Bering Ditch Construction Update
The construction of the extension of the Bering Ditch Sidewalk from Windswept Lane to Westpark Drive will be breaking ground soon. The area along the east side of the ditch between the Citgo gas station on Windswept to the north side of Westpark will be closed to pedestrians from the beginning of February through mid-April while the contractor builds the sidewalk.
Drew St. Homeless Encampment Cleared
A homeless encampment located at Drew St. near Glenmont that has created numerous public safety concerns for months has been cleared. The encampment was the site of criminal activity, nuisance and event a sizeable fire. Business owners, other stakeholders expressed and event HPD officers concern about the area. Thanks to a combined effort between the mayor’s office, HPD, TIRZ 20, the Covid Cleanup Team, Solid Waste Department, and District J. A special thanks go es to HPD Midwest DRT Officer Michael Bruner for being instrumental in getting this issue addressed.
Ruffino Illegal Dumping
The Solid Waste Department cleared away a large amount of illegally dumped trash and debris in the 9000 block of Ruffino. The District J office is working on a long-term plan with community partners to remedy the issue.

District J Jobs

Looking for a new job is a job in itself. Between searching for positions online, updating your resume and preparing for interviews, job hunting takes a lot of effort. DistrictJJobs.com is a resource for Houstonians looking for work. The site provides access to dozens of companies with hundreds of jobs at various levels and in many industries. In addition to links to employment opportunities, the website now has a new “Resources” section with videos and articles containing tips to help anyone searching for a job. Resume writing, interviewing, negotiating salary and other topics are available.
As you travel in the district and throughout Houston, you may also notice new billboards around town promoting the District J Jobs initiative. Interested job seekers can also scan the QR codes posted in select METRO bus stops throughout the district. Residents all over Houston are encouraged to use this resource in their search for new employment.

HOT Team

The HOT Team assists with picking up scattered debris, removing heavy trash, tree waste and illegal dumping, and handling specific landscaping issues. All requests for assistance from the HOT Team should be submitted via 311. The HOT Team makes pickups according to the following schedule:
1st Thursday – Sharpstown
2nd Thursday – St. George, Gulfton and Richmond Plaza South
3rd Thursday – Braeburn Area
4th Thursday – Alief/Westwood


District J Patrol is a three-pronged approach to public safety bridging the gap between the law enforcement officers in District J and the communities they serve. Sponsored by the District J office, this pilot initiative includes community patrolling by Houston Police Department’s Differential Response Team (DRT), the use of two Polaris vehicles and the District J Patrol Task Force. Residents may report small neighborhood violations and infringements, such as panhandling, loitering, overgrown lots, graffiti, homeless encampments and other public nuisances. To file a report, visit the online portal atwww.DistrictJPatrol.com
To learn more about our new modern approach to community policing, or to file a report regarding a quality of life issue, please visit www.districtjpatrol.com. To retrieve data, research policy, or to file a complaint online, visit houstontx.gov/policetransparency.

District J Office Staff

The District J office staff is here to serve you.
David “Alex” Brizuela, Director of Constituent Services
Ana “Francis” Ellis, District Coordinator
Council Member Edward Pollard
Misty Starks, Director of Communications
Paul Young, Chief of Staff