Houston Newsmakers: City Council says no to prison labor

City Contracts with TDCJ reviewed

“Texas is one of the only states left in the entire country that still allows unpaid labor.”

It was the low bid contract to re-tread the tires of City of Houston Vehicles. The bid from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was quite a bit lower than the next highest bid and that’s what caught the attention of City Council Members Abbie Kamin and Carolyn Evans-Shabazz. “This is about basic principles of human dignity,” Kamin, the District C representative said. “Everybody should be paid for honest work and we have to address here in Texas and move out of the lingering shadows of institutionalized racism.” The TDCJ contract was lower because prisoners were being used for the labor. The contract was re-bid with the caveat that no prison labor be used. The result was a new contract with a different vendor at a higher price. “In this case more was good money,” said Council D Member Carolyn Evans-Shabazz. “It was well worth it. We want people to get the value of getting up, going to work...change some things that have been happening in the penal system.” Much more with on what this first step means for future contracts and what trend may now be in motion on this week’s Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall.

Pandemic places greater strain on Houston Food Bank

The need for food from the Houston Food Bank has doubled since the start of the Pandemic from 400-thousand pounds a day to now 800 thousand pounds. Nicole Lander is the Chief Impact Officer for the Houston Food Bank and says the community has stepped up in a big way. BUT more help is needed. “Our greatest need is always human capital, volunteers,” she said. “On an average day we’re able to have about a thousand people inside the food bank, volunteering with us, helping us pack those bags and boxes and right now that’s down to 150 people.”

The danger of misinformation and fake news: The cure is critical thinking

What’s the difference between fake news and misinformation? Turns out, not much. The dangerous result is the same. Deepened political silos, and a high level of distrust between political parties and those who support them. Helen Lee Bouygues is President of the Reboot Foundation devoted to elevating critical thinking and says social media has played a critical and damaging role in creating the division. “Obviously media literacy is something that can be taught, and based on our own experiment we’ve noticed that people who read about it or even watch videos on it, they actually improve their tendency to notice fake news better.” Helen Bouygues with much on Houston Newsmakers and in this week’s Houston Newsmakers EXTRA!

More Information:

Abbie Kamin, Houston City Council, District C

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Houston City Council, District D

Nicole Lander, Chief Impact Officer, Houston Food Bank

Helen Lee Bouygues, President, Founder Reboot Foundation

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