When All Hope was Seemingly Lost...Gloria Sanderson of Pioneer Bank Showed Up for Arthur J. Smith Sr. and His Family with a $15,000.00 dollar Check

Arthur Smith Sr., his wife Darlene Koffey Smith, son Arthur Smith III, also known as “Yung Giant”, Gloria Sanderson, SVP, CRA/Fair Lending Officer for Pioneer Bank are the featured individuals on the cover of “VERSION 1” of Houston Business Connections Magazine’s “2017 Year-End Review” edition. Houston Texans football player J.J. Watt is also featured on the cover of this version. Inside this edition, J.J. Watt shares how he plans to distribute the millions of dollars the J.J. Watt Foundation received in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Beyoncé, Mattress Mack, Jim Crane, State Senator Borris L. Miles, State Rep. Shawn Thierry, Dr. Letitia Plummer, Judge Loyd Wright, Judge Christine Riddle Butts, Judge John Schmude, Judge Renee Magee, Attorney Sandra Peake, and Attorney Melanie Wilcox Flowers are just a few of the other distinguished individuals featured inside this edition. Houston Business Connections Magazine© is published by Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. All Rights Reserved. Cover photo by: Kennedy Hall, Phillis Wheatley High School Journalism Department/Photographer

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 19TH, 2018


Gladys Knight is coming to Houston on Friday, January 19, 2018, for the Diamond Dreams Gala at Minute Maid Park

Held on the field at Minute Maid Park, the Diamond Dreams Gala features seven-time Grammy winner, Ms. Gladys Knight -The Empress of Soul, as well as Astros players and legends. The event benefits the Astros Foundation and New Hope Housing, an organization combatting homelessness by providing housing and support services for those in need. In case you don’t know, The Astros Foundation supports local 501(c)3 nonprofits and their causes through fundraising events. They support organizations whose efforts benefit Youth Baseball/Softball, Education/Literacy, Childhood Cancer, Military and Quality of Life.

Friday, May 29, 2015

2015 JUNETEENTH EVENTS: Don't Miss the 37th Annual Annie Mae Charles Juneteenth Picnic at Wright Cuney Park

Friday, June 19, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 11:00 A.M. on Friday, June 19, 2015 the 37th Annual Annie Mae Charles Juneteenth Picnic will take place at Wright Cuney Park located at 41st & Avenue H in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: There will be activities for the whole family. Mrs. Charles is one of our oldest Galveston leaders (101). Complimentary refreshments will be provided as well as music and activities for the entire family. A special program will include the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, Wright Cuney Angels, Talent Contest, Music, Praise Singing, Dance, Hoops Contest and Wright Cuney Brass Band. Awards will be given to 1st and 2nd place winners. The picnic is free to the public. Everyone is invited to bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the entertainment. Contact Anna Fields (409)539-5221 or Barbara Gordon (409)599-8050 for more information on this event.





 Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.


Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society. For more information on Juneteenth, visit www.juneteenth.com

Sunday, June 7, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 7:00 P.M. on Sunday, June 7, 2015 the 23rd Annual Juneteenth Development Corporation Scholarship Gala will take place at the Old Central Cultural Center located at: 2627 Avenue M in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: Young Ladies ages 17 to 22 will compete for scholarships and prizes. The first place winner will be crowned Miss Juneteenth Ambassador. Contestants are judged on an oral presentation of their goals and aspirations; a creative talent; formal wear and a question and answer session.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 the 23rd Annual Al Edwards Juneteenth Banquet will take place at the Old Central Cultural Center located 2627 Avenue M in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: The theme “Come on Home Where It All Began” highlights the history of Juneteenth and its importance to our community and heritage. Former State Rep. Al Edwards, Old Central Board President Ennis Williams and UTMB started this banquet 19 years ago. Banquet Sponsorships: $350, $500, and $1,000. Individual Tickets $35.

Saturday, June 13, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, June 13, 2015 the (GHF) Galveston Historical Foundation will present "African American History: Importance & Reflection". This event will take place at: 1861 Custom House located at 502 20th Street in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: The Galveston Historical Foundation will host two speakers to bring a historical perspective to Juneteenth and inspire us with thoughts on the importance of African American History. One of the speakers is Deborah Mack, from the National Museum of African American History; Caleb Daniels, from the Rice University Department of History is the other speaker.

Saturday, June 13, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 12:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 13, 2015 the African American Museum Juneteenth Family & Friends Festival will take place at the Kermit Courville Stadium Parking Lot located at 27th & Avenue L in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: Rental space for vendors is available, contact James Josey at (409)497-6963. Come out and enjoy the music, food and fun. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015 
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 12:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 13, 2015 Juneteenth at Jack Johnson Park: "The Heart of a Champion" will take place at the Old Central Center located at 2617 Avenue M in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: Veteran boxing manager and historian Bob Spagnola will conduct a meet and greet along with several of his former and current clients to discuss the “sweet science” and view videos of several of the world champions he has associated within his 35 plus years in the business. The talk will be held in Old Central Auditorium and photos will be taken in the adjacent Jack Johnson Park which recognizes our native son, John Arthur “Jack” Johnson, born on March 31, 1878 in Galveston, who became the first African American to win the world Heavyweight Boxing Championship in 1908. The Galveston Chamber of Commerce will have young entrepreneurs on site selling Lemonade. Call Douglas Matthews at (409)747-2791 for more information.

Saturday, June 13, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 6:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 13, 2015 the NIA Cultural Center: Screening of "Celebrating Freedom Then & Now" will take place at the Old Central Cultural Center located at 2627 Avenue M in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: Inspired by a discussion of elder’s recollections of the celebration of Juneteenth when they were young, the Nia Cultural Center decided to document these firsthand accounts utilizing area students who conducted videotaped elder interviews. This enlightening documentary will explore the factual history of the holiday and testimonials of how the celebration of Juneteenth and the Galveston Community has changed over time. Call Sue Johnson at (409)765-7086 for more information.

Sunday, June 14, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 6:00 P.M. on Sunday, June 14, 2015 the St. Vincent House 14th Annual Gospel by the Sea Benefit Concert will take place at the The Grand 1894 Opera House located at 2020 Post Office Street in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: This is a FREE live musical benefit concert. However, you must still have a ticket to attend. You can contact Rev. Freda Marie Brown or Linda Cole at (409)763-8521 for more information.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 7:00 P.M. on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 a discussion with Leonard Pitts, author of "Freeman" will take place at the Sieber Center at Galveston College located at 4015 Avenue Q in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: Galveston Reads Program and Rosenberg Library present a discussion of the book "Freeman," with author Leonard Pitts.

Thursday, June 18, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 8:30 A.M. on Thursday, June 18, 2015 the “Underground Railroad” re-enactments will take place at the 1838 Michel B. Menard Home & Menard Hall located at 1604 33rd St. in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: The event consists of a day of re-enactments by local volunteers of the lives of people who traveled the famous Underground Railroad. The program is designed to show children 8 to 11 years old the challenges slaves faced in escaping to freedom. Call (409)765-3468 to register for this event.

Thursday, June 18, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, June 18, 2015 the Texas Juneteenth Gala at Ashton Villa will take place at 1859 Ashton Villa located at 2328 Broadway in Galveston, Texas. 

DETAILS: This event celebrates the historic actions of former State Representative Al Edwards, The Texas Legislature and Governor Bill Clements who signed the bill making Juneteenth a State Holiday in June 1979 along with state funding of $100,000 for the Texas Juneteenth Statue erected at Ashton Villa in June 2007. The cost to attend this event is $25.00 dollars. Call Douglas Matthews at (409)747-2791 for more information on this event.

Friday, June 19, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 8:30 P.M. on Friday, June 19, 2015 the 36th Annual Al Edwards Juneteenth State Holiday, Emancipation Proclamation Reading & Prayer Breakfast will take place at 1859 Ashton Villa located at 2328 Broadway in Galveston, Texas. 

DETAILS: The Emancipation Proclamation will be read to commemorate the historic event that occurred in Galveston on June 19, 1865, two years after it was enacted in 1863. Galveston holds the distinction of being the place of the first reading of the Proclamation in the South. We also celebrate Texas State Representative Al Edwards’ sponsorship of two legislative bills establishing Juneteenth as a State Holiday in 1979 and providing for a Juneteenth statue in Galveston. In June 2007, the Texas Emancipation Juneteenth Cultural and Historical Commission dedicated a $100,000 statue commemorating the State Juneteenth Holiday at the historic Ashton Villa, which was the first government recognized holiday for black people in the United States. Free Breakfast after the program will be provided by “You Can’t Touch This”. Call Douglas Matthews at (409)747-2791 for more information on this event.

Friday, June 19, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 11:00 A.M. on Friday, June 19, 2015 the 37th Annual Annie Mae Charles Juneteenth Picnic will take place at Wright Cuney Park located at 41st & Avenue H in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: There will be activities for the whole family. Mrs. Charles is one of our oldest Galveston leaders (101). Complimentary refreshments will be provided as well as music and activities for the entire family. A special program will include the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, Wright Cuney Angels, Talent Contest, Music, Praise Singing, Dance, Hoops Contest and Wright Cuney Brass Band. Awards will be given to 1st and 2nd place winners. The picnic is free to the public. Everyone is invited to bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the entertainment. Contact Anna Fields (409)539-5221 or Barbara Gordon (409)599-8050 for more information on this event.

Friday, June 19, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 12:00 P.M. on Friday, June 19, 2015 the 3rd Annual Juneteenth at Jack Johnson Park will take place at Jack Johnson Park located at 2601 Avenue M in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: Jack Johnson Park was dedicated in November 2012 and is operated by the Old Central Cultural Center Board of Directors. This community park recognizes its native son, John Arthur “Jack” Johnson, born on March 31, 1878, who became the first African American to win the world Heavyweight Boxing Championship in 1908. He was world famous and a life-size statue was placed in the park in his honor. Contact Douglas Matthews at (409)747-2791 for more information on this event.

Friday, June 19, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 12:00 P.M. on Friday, June 19, 2015 the Annie Mae Charles Juneteenth Noon Parade will take place at 33rd & Seawall Boulevard located at 33rd St in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: To start the 150th anniversary of the Juneteenth celebration, join us for the Annie Mae Charles Juneteenth NOON Parade! Everyone can enjoy of many motorcycles, corvettes, drill teams, train, trail riders,Texas South University, Grambling University and many other participants from around Galveston County! This event is FREE and OPEN to the public. Contact Rosalyn Jackson at (409)497-3203 for more information.

Friday, June 19, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 6:00 P.M. on Friday, June 19, 2015 the Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church Juneteenth Homecoming for the 150th Emancipation March will take place at Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church located at 2015 Broadway in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: Marchers should convene at 6:00 p.m. on the steps of the Old Galveston Court House on 21st and Sealy; procession to Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church, 2015 Broadway, Galveston, Texas 7755(approximately 3 blocks).

Families from all over the country are coming home to Galveston to celebrate Juneteenth – “where it all began”. Juneteenth Homecoming is a tradition that families have practiced since freedom came to Texas in 1865. Families came back home to Galveston to fellowship, to pray and to honor their ancestors who endured the bonds of slavery. Bring your family to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors as Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church re-enacts the first documented celebration of emancipation, held on January 1, 1866 and attended by close to 1,000 citizens of Galveston. You’ll be a witness to history and forever a part of this historic event –the 150th reading of General Order #3 from the steps of the Old Galveston Courthouse.

A jubilant march to the historic sanctuary of Reedy Chapel A.M.E. Church is followed by an inspirational program of music, performances, stirring speakers and a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Traditional Juneteenth refreshments will be served. All are invited to participate in this free event open to the public.

Friday, June 19, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 7:30 P.M. on Friday, June 19, 2015 the Galveston Juneteenth Parade will take place. The parade will proceed from 1600 Strand to Seawall in Galveston, Texas. DETAILS: TIME: The parade lineup is at 6:00 p.m. at 16th & Strand to 20th & Strand. PARADE STARTS: 7:30 p.m. PARADE ROUTE: West on Strand to 25th. Left on 25th to Seawall Boulevard; Right on Seawall to 28th. Parade will end between Seawall Boulevard and Avenue Q. CONTACT: Rosalyn Jackson (409) 497-3203, Jamal Shabazz (Chair) (409) 599-0155, Anna Fields (Co-Chair) (409) 539-5221, Sandra Tousant (832) 452-2956. Call one of the three contact persons to pick up an application form.

Saturday, June 20, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, June 20, 2015 the Take It to the Wood "Juneteenth Celebration" will take place at Shiloh A.M.E. Church located at 1310 29th Street in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: This event promises to be lots of fun, food and plenty of games and fellowship. Contact Reverend Kevin Hodge, Sr., Pastor of Shiloh A.M.E. Church at (409)762-3646 for more information.

Saturday, June 20, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 6:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 20, 2015 the (GHF) Galveston Historical Foundation Juneteenth Community Concert will take place at Saengerfest Park located at 2300 Strand in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: Historically, the first formal celebrations of Emancipation and Abolition were celebrated in the public square. This Juneteenth concert will feature live music and a time to remember. Call (409)765-7834 for more information on this event.

Saturday, June 27, 2015
GALVESTON, TEXAS

At 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, June 27, 2015 the Juneteenth Board Meeting & Conference will take place at 2310 Sealy Street in Galveston, Texas.

DETAILS: The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF) will return to Galveston, Texas for the annual GALVESTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance, which will include the 2015 National Juneteenth Board Meeting & Conference. Activities scheduled include the National Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremony and Reconciliation Prayer Service, National Juneteenth Luncheon, Board Meeting and a National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign Workshop. For information on this event contact Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman of the NJOF, at 662-392-2016.


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Call Aubrey R. Taylor Communications at (832)212-8735 if you would like to be included in the next edition of Houston Business Connections Magazine.


BEN'S RESOLUTION: "My commitment to you as mayor will be to improve our streets, improve public safety, and protect our neighborhoods...That is the way that our city can move forward. I am Ben Hall and I'm asking for your vote."