Prominent African-American Leaders in Houston Endorse Proposition 1

HOUSTON – Leaders from Houston’s African-American community announced their support for the Equal Rights Ordinance, or Proposition 1, at a news conference at the NAACP Houston Branch today. Those speaking out in favor of Proposition 1 today included Dr. James M. Douglas, President of the NAACP Houston Branch; Judson Robinson III, President and CEO of the Houston Area Urban League; and Vernita Harris, Chair of the Greater Houston Black Chamber. Brandon Ball and Dan Scarbrough, two of the three young African American men who faced discrimination at the GasLamp night club last month, also advocated for the Equal Rights Ordinance.

Discrimination remains a major problem for the African-American community in Houston – 56 percent of the discrimination complaints reported to the city between May 2014 and September 2015 were tied to instances of race-based discrimination.

“The Equal Rights Ordinance gives all of us a voice. It puts Houston on the record as wanting to protect all of its people from discrimination,” said Dr. James M. Douglas, President of the NAACP Houston Branch. “The truth is, when we look back, we’ll see that the opponents of this ordinance will have been on the wrong side of history. Houston needs a local tool to address the many cases of discrimination that still occur to this today, and I believe the Equal Rights Ordinance is that tool.”

“We don’t believe in discrimination. We believe in equal opportunity and access for all people,” said Judson Robinson III, President and CEO of the Houston Area Urban League. “This is an all-people ordinance. I encourage the voters to support it.”

Brandon Ball and Dan Scarbrough spoke from personal experience about the discrimination they recently faced when they, along with their friend Ken Piggee, were told they would have to pay a $20 cover to enter the GasLamp in Midtown – even as white patrons streamed into the club, free of charge.

“Here in Houston, there’s no local ordinance for us to use to attack that discrimination,” said Ball. “Everybody talks about change, but a lot of people sit on the sidelines. The Equal Rights Ordinance represents transformational change. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to talk about it? Are we going to read about it? Let’s make change happen.”

The NAACP Houston Branch is a non-profit organizational unit of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People. It was established in 1918 to help the un-served and underserved communities of color within Houston/Harris County.