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Firefighter Dies From Work-Related Illness

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Houston, TX — The family of Margaret Roberts, a Black firefighter with the Houston Fire Department who died battling cancer directly caused by her work as confirmed by the fire department chief, has been  fighting to have her pension benefits. Their case is more than a year old, but the city of Houston refuses to compensate them claiming that her illness was caused by her being Black.

For more than 21 years, Margaret was in service as a firefighter for the Houston Fire Department, until she began to suffer from multiple myeloma.

“I had to sit there for almost five years and watch her die daily,” Margaret’s husband, Daniel Roberts, said.

Since her death in January 2017, her family has been dealing with her loss and with the fight for the benefits she has earned but hasn’t been granted.

Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena wrote in a letter to the state pension three months after Roberts’ death confirming that it “was a result of an illness sustained in the line of duty.” After that, he also wrote a letter to 100 Club saying that it was “Declared a Line of Duty Death.”

The confirmations made by the fire department chief himself should have entitled Roberts’ family to benefits paid by groups besides the city of Houston. However, the benefits from city funds are ultimately being brought to court.

“The city saw the opportunity to re-dispute the claim starting all over again, said Roberts attorney Mike Sprain.

The city has already lost the case for Roberts’ health benefits when she was alive but they’re trying to fight again on a similar issue now that she’s dead, claiming that her multiple myeloma was not caused by her work as a firefighter, but instead of her weight, family history, and race.

Meanwhile, Robert’s occupational doctor declared in 2013, “In my professional opinion, Margaret Roberts’ multiple myeloma is work-related.”

The International Firefighters Union, as well as four states in the US, specifically recognize the connection of firefighting to multiple myeloma. There are also studies that confirmed an “increased” or “significantly elevated” risk for firefighters getting multiple myeloma.

Yet Texas ignores all these and instead decides to follow the recommendation from United Nations that doesn’t categorically link cancer to firefighting.

“I guess they don’t want to pay the benefits that me and my kids have coming,” Daniel Roberts said.

The city didn’t make any comment about the lawsuit.

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Black Teen Banned From Graduation Because of His Hair

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Mont Belvieu, TX — Deandre Arnold, a high school student from Texas, is reportedly being discriminated against because of his hair style of choice. His school, Barbers Hill High School in the city of Mont Belvieu, has suspended him and banned him from participating in his own graduation unless he cuts his locks to a shorter length.

School officials claim their decision is based on their long-standing policy wherein “no dress code policy that prohibits any cornrow or any other method of wearing of the hair, our policy limits the length. It’s been that way for 30 years,” Superintendent Greg Poole told KHOU 11.

However, activists believe that it is yet again another case of racial discrimination.

“The dress code is designed by white people for white people and is damaging to Black bodies,” Black Lives Matter activist Ashton Woods said.

“This is a Black and white issue, Deandre (and) his family should not have to go through this. But I expect it from a board that has zero diversity,” stated Gary Monroe, with the United Urban Alumni Association.

A number of activists supported Deandre and his family in their discussion with the Barbers Hill school board, hoping to come to a favorable resolution. They thought that the issue was an insignificant obstruction to the teen’s education that might also be experienced by others.

“We’re here for Deandre, but it’s about more than that, this is about all the other Deandres that could come through Barbers Hill,” Sandy Arnold, Deandre’s mother said.

Moreover, Deandre’s family, together with their supporters, are planning to take the case to federal court if the school wouldn’t come up with a resolution 48 hours after their meeting.

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Continuing The Legacy

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CONTINUING KING’S LEGACY OF JUSTICE, PEACE AND EQUALITY!

The City of San Antonio’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will continue its commemoration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1st March for Justice organized by the late Rev. Dr. Raymond “R.A.” Callies, Sr., a San Antonio teacher and pastor. Rev. Callies began the March in 1968 to call attention to the need for basic infrastructure on the east side. His efforts have resulted in what has become one of the largest commemorative marches for Dr. King in the United States and possibly the world. After the death of Dr. King, he worked tirelessly to have a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. erected in what is now MLK Plaza located at the heart of the eastside on New Braunfels Street. Since then, community members along with thousands of others who travel across the country to participate, have gathered each year in increasing numbers to reflect on their own Dream of Justice, Peace and Equality to all in America.

Improving the quality of life for all people was the dream of Dr. King and Rev. Callies. The MLK Commission seeks to continue their work and legacy by offering educational and empowering events throughout the month of January each year. If you would like to support the mission of the City of San Antonio, MLK Commission, please participate by attending the various events provided by the Commission. Your financial support is also needed to help in presenting Scholarships to deserving area students. Please contact the City of San Antonio’s MLK, Jr. Commission for more informtation.

The signature event, the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March, is scheduled for Monday, January 20, 2020. The march will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the MLK Academy located at 3501 MLK Drive and end at Pittman-Sullivan Park, 1101 Iowa. 

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Black Worship IX – Clergy Hall of Fame Dinner & Presentation 2020

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Every year clergy members from San Antonio, TX are honored for their good deeds and shown appreciation for their service in the ministry.  This year’s event will be held on Monday, February 24, 2020 at 7PM at the Antioch Community Sports Complex, located at 314 Eross St., San Antonio, TX 78202. The 2020 honorees are Rev. Dr. Claudette A. Copeland of New Creation Christian Fellowship and the Very Rev., Father Kevin Fausz of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.

Its been a tradition that the Black Worship Clergy Hall of Fame allows for fellow clergy to come together with no other agenda other than to fellowship and celebrate another year of service and commitment.

“The Academy” which consists of past Clergy Hall of Fame Honorees include the following: Rev. Thurman Walker, Antioch Missionary B.C.; Rev. Claude Black, Mount Zion First Baptist Church; Rev. Carlton Allen, New Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church; Bishop Samuel Iglehart, Childress Memorial COGIC; Pastor Jerry Dailey, Macedonia Baptist Church; Rev. Kenneth R. Kemp, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. L.A. Williams; O. Trevor Alexander, True Vine Church; Rev. Kevin Nelson, Calvary Baptist Church; Bishop David Copeland, New Creation Christian Fellowship; Rev. Ruben Archield, Friendship Baptist Church; Rev. Rander Draper, Maranatha Bible Church; Rev. Ray Brown, Resurrection Baptist Church; and Rev. Robert Forte, Mt. Gilead Baptist Church.

Black Worship IX is open to the public.  Event tickets and advertisements for the souvenir journal may be purchased by visiting www.blackworshipsa.com or calling (210) 226-1939.

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