Favorite Columns

I was a senior in high school when, quite unexpectedly, the first column I wrote for a major newspaper was published. I wrote about the impact a groundbreaking television mini-series was having on the country and how it had sparked an emotional and sincere dialogue on race relations. At the time, I was Features Editor at my high school newspaper and simply wanted parents and teachers to understand that young people had voices that weren’t being included or respected. No other teen in the region had ever experienced a paid byline on an Op-Ed Page with veteran columnists and editors.

From then on, I was blessed to write for newspapers across the country, working with editors who gave me the opportunity to express my opinions and share my perspectives. I have always believed in common sense values, being a voice for the voiceless, and using my life to make a difference as God blessed me to tackle issues of parenting, freedom, race, equality and justice for all. These are a few of my favorite columns, the words that produced millions of readers who have been so supportive over the years. Thank you, =JFK

Columns List

When It Comes to American Justice, Green is the New Black

  • The Dallas Morning News,  November 20, 2015
  • Recently, there was a Dallas town hall discussion on mass incarceration. The Justice League of Texas asked me to moderate. After an informative and spirited Q&A with our panel of lawyers, a state lawmaker, clergy members, an ex-offender and activists, I leaned into the microphone and said, “Contrary to popular culture and belief, orange is not the new black. Green is the new black.”

No More Incarceration Nation

  • USA Today,  July 16, 2015
  • Fresh on the heels of a passionate speech to the NAACP convention and his decision to commute sentences for 46 non-violent drug offenders, I believe Obama can rally Democrats and Republicans to a greater understanding about the economic and psychological impacts that unfair mandatory minimum sentencing has on individuals, families, and devastated communities.

Cough up the compensation, Louisiana: Column

  • USA Today,  March 25, 2015
  • Glenn Ford spent decades in jail though innocent. The state needs to pay what it owes him.

Moms of Shooting Victims Calming Force

  • USA Today,  August 29, 2014
  • When I heard that 18-year-old Michael Brown was “shot at least six times” in Ferguson, Mo., and saw a family-hired independent medical examiner point out areas on a diagram of how bullets may have entered and exited his body, it was a forensics lesson that tore at my heart as a black woman and the mother of two sons. It also reminded me of a brief encounter I had with another black mother who lost a son.

All Races Must Unite for Justice

  • Dallas News,  March 22, 2014
  • It was Christmas Day 1987. A black man from Louisiana who had never been in trouble with the law — Loyal Garner Jr. — was pulled over for a traffic infraction. Garner, a devoted husband and father to six children, was taken to the county jail in Hemphill, Texas. Three lawmen beat Garner so severely he died 72 hours later.

Compensate People Wrongfully Imprisoned

  • USA Today,  March 20, 2014
  • Growing up in Louisiana, my mother could make us behave by simply mentioning one of the most notorious prisons: Angola state penitentiary. Anyone who survived Angola was beyond tough. Imagine what it must have taken if that person was also innocent and sitting on death row.

Justice For James

  • The Houston Chronicle,  October 12, 2013
  • I’ve never met Michael Morton, but my heart is overjoyed for him. Morton had a lot in common with my fiancé. Like James Woodard, Morton spent more than two decades in a Texas prison for a murder he did not commit. The prosecutor in Morton’s 1987 trial relentlessly pursued justice and won the wrongful conviction. But how he did it may finally send jurists a stern warning and result in even more vindication for Morton and his supporters.

King Anniversary Exposes Shared Pain

  • USA Today,  August 24, 2013
  • No doubt, a recent Associated Press report showing that four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness and near-poverty will be cited by rally organizers. Those troubling figures show the widening impact a stagnant economy has had on all Americans. Make no mistake, rates of poverty for blacks and Hispanics are far higher than for whites, but the gap is narrowing.

Please, Lord, Let It Rain Today

  • The Dallas Morning News,  August 21, 2013
  • Every summer, starting with the 2006 Dallas scorcher featuring more than 65 consecutive days without measurable rain, I’ve been writing about and longing for one of my favorite summer activities from childhood.

The Need To Be A Firm But Loving Parent Never Changes

  • The Dallas Morning News,  December 27, 2013
  • Twenty years ago, in this same paper, I wrote a sincere column about the many reasons I would never embrace life as a pushover parent…

Sixth Floor Museum A Painful And Somber Reminder Of All This Nation Has To Offer

  • The Dallas Morning News,  November 13, 2013
  • In this Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, women burst into tears outside Parkland Hospital upon hearing that President John F. Kennedy died from the shooting by an assassin while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. Looking at why so many black people revered him then – and why younger generations have largely forgotten his civil rights work now – shows that even 50 years later, Kennedy holds a complicated but pivotal place in black history.

No Return For Lost Life Of Exoneree

  • The Dallas Morning News,  April 11, 2013
  • This month, hundreds of law students, researchers, professors, attorneys and exonerees will gather to discuss innocence work, pending legislation, and how justice for thousands is still being delayed or denied. It is a subject Texas is more than familiar with. The Innocence Network Conference in Charlotte, N.C., will feature more than 100 exonerees from across the country. But James Lee Woodard won’t be among them.

It’s Time To Protect Women

  • The Dallas Morning News,  March 1, 2013
  • One in three women — according to statistics from the United Nations — will at some point become a victim of violence. Even sadder, a number of these attacks are visited upon women by people they know who beat, assault, rape and kill them…

Obama’s Letter Gives Me Renewed Hope For 2013

  • USA Today,  December 30, 2012
  • Like many Americans during 2012, I suffered through our lackluster economy as well as survived some personal challenges. Still, I remain optimistic that — with the diligent efforts of President Obama — this year will bring better tidings, hopefully starting with this Friday’s latest federal employment figures…

Make Elderly Driver Limits Tougher

  • USA Today,  July 26, 2012
  • My 75-year-old mother is fiercely independent, resents interference and loves the freedom of not having to wait on buses, vans, taxis or busy relatives. So she insists on continuing to drive. The fact that my mother is aging isn’t my only concern with her driving: She also has Alzheimer’s and has forgotten, more than once, her destination and her way back home. Still, she won’t give up her car keys.

This Isn’t The Time To Abandon The Poor

  • USA Today,  Nov 10, 2011
  • As a child, I was waiting one night for my mother to put dinner on the table when some unforgettable images leaped from the TV screen. The year was 1967, and I was just 8 years old. I recall a reporter had been shadowing Sen. Robert Kennedy deep into the Mississippi Delta to visit what had been dubbed the “poorest place in America” — Sugar Ditch, Miss…

How To End ‘Flash Mob’ Hits? Good Parenting.

  • USA Today,  August 18, 2011
  • Isn’t technology great? I often marvel at how computers and smartphones have made our lives so much easier. But technology also has its downside: viruses, privacy concerns and even criminal uses, of course. This is where parents can play a critical, non-technological role.

Budget Woes Abroad A Lot Like At Home

  • USA Today,  January 6, 2011
  • Inside the historic government halls, I recently watched as lawmakers barely approved a controversial plan aimed at tripling university tuition rates. Just outside, thousands of protesters got caught up in pockets of violence. Deep spending cuts have pushed people — who are making do with less and being taxed more — to a dangerous brink. Many fear budget cuts will continue to impact local services and whittle away at remaining public-sector jobs.

Truth About Math, Science and Women

  • USA Today,  January 27, 2005
  • Growing up, Daddy said that it was just the order of the universe: “Men are smarter than women.” Now that Harvard University President Lawrence Summers has apologized for recent remarks about differences that might make women less capable in math and science, I can’t help but wonder how many men believe women are less productive or lack the mental ability to compete. Recent studies destroy this myth. Women are indeed holding their own.

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