District K Friends,
 
Happy Black History Month. February is one of my favorite months. I always learn something I didn’t know about my culture, historical events or black people. I read a great article on CNN’s site recognizing Carter G. Woodson and how he became known as the Father of Black History. I’ve included an excerpt:
 
Disturbed that history textbooks largely ignored America’s black population, Woodson took on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation’s history. To do this, he established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. He also founded the group’s widely respected publication, the Journal of Negro History. In 1926, Woodson developed Negro History Week. In 1976, Negro History Week expanded into Black History Month.
 
Woodson chose the second week of February for his celebration because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population:
  • Frederick Douglass, who escaped slavery and became an abolitionist and civil rights leader; though his birthdate isn’t known, he celebrated it on February 14.
  • President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in America’s confederate states; he was born on February 12.
For his work, Woodson has been called the Father of Black History.
 
We have several events coming up and I hope you are finding these newsletters helpful as we are unable to meet in-person. February 16th, Rashad Cave of DON will be hosting a virtual community event for residents to address their concerns and learn more about engaging with city departments. See attached flyer.
 
In mid March I will host our 2021 State of District event. It was right after our 2020 State of the District event last year that we began social distancing due to Covid-19. The event will be held virtually and will be just as informational and fun!
 
In the meantime stay tuned for our newsletters and updates. If your neighborhood group is meeting virtually, let us know, I’d love to join your meeting. As always, do not hesitate to call us or reach out via email. Be kind and take care of each other!
 
-Martha
 

Stay Safe, More Vaccines on Way

Saturday, the Houston Health Department reported over 300 new cases of COVID-19, with 8 additional deaths, bringing our total death count in Houston to 1,822 since this time last year.
 
With limited vaccine supplies coming from the State weekly, the Houston Health Department is focusing vaccine allocations on individuals with the highest risk for severe illness and those in vulnerable communities at this time. I realize getting an appointment may be frustrating, however please know as soon as more vaccines are available, the HHD will get those out to residents.
 
In order to follow-up on more than 70,000 calls to the Area Agency on Aging and its Aging and Disability Resource Center, additions to its waitlist are not being accepted at this time. If you left a voicemail, you do not need to call back. Individuals will be contacted and screened for eligibility.   
 
You can still be added to the County’s waitlist by calling 832-927-8787 or registering online at https://publichealth.harriscountytx.gov/Resources/2019-Novel-Coronavirus/Register-for-COVID-19-Vaccine.  
 
Second doses: HHD continues to contact individuals for scheduling second doses. Please note, you do not need to contact the department for scheduling, unless you have not been contacted 48 hours before Moderna’s recommended 28-day target date. Please check voicemails, text messages and emails frequently for second dose scheduling information, and alert the COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 if your contact information has changed since receiving the first dose.  
 
As vaccine supply ramps up, please continue to social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, and get tested if you may have been exposed. It is my hope that we can all be vaccinated soon and start engaging more in person. Feel free to contact our office with any concerns at DistrictK@houstontx.gov.
 

Houston Municipal Courts to Begin Accepting Passport Applications

The City of Houston Municipal Courts Department (MCD) – is pleased to announce that beginning Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, it will accept passport applications on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. U.S. citizens planning international travel may submit their application for a U.S. passport at a Municipal Courts Acceptance Facility. Applications are accepted by appointment only, Monday through Friday, from the hours of 5 to 10 p.m. Municipal Court Acceptance Facility Locations: Central Houston 1400 Lubbock; Houston, TX 77002 West Houston 3203 South Dairy Ashford; Houston, TX 77082 Please visit the Municipal Courts’ website to download the passport application checklist and schedule an appointment online at https://www.houstontx.gov/courts/passports.html. There you will have the option to choose a location to visit.
 

2021 Keep Houston Beautiful Day

 
We are excited to gather outdoors and make a big difference in this one day community impact event, and we want YOU to join us!
 
Whether you’re interested in removing harmful litter and debris from your neighborhood and parks, or sprucing up a community garden, planting trees and beautifying your special part of the community, we’ve got the opportunity for you and your team. KHB DAY 2021!
 
Gather your colleagues, friends and family and register for this year’s KHB Day. We are seeking groups with 20 members or less per location to join in on Keeping Houston Beautiful. Individuals can also register and be placed on a designated TEAM KHB location.
 
Have questions? Shoot us an email at info@houstonbeautiful.org .
Register your team and project here:
 
Register as a volunteer here:
 

The Search for Houston’s Next Poet Laureate Continues!

Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Director of Houston Public Library (HPL), Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, are pleased to announce the search for the City of Houston’s next poet laureate.
 
The Poet Laureate Program celebrates Houston’s rich culture and diversity through the work of a Houston poet who serves as the City’s ambassador for the literary arts. The City’s next poet laureate will serve from April 2021 through April 2023 and receive an honorarium of $20,000 from the City of Houston’s City Initiative Grant Program.
 
The deadline to apply is February 25, 2021.
 
View the full press release with guidelines and application link here: Press Release: Search for Next Poet Laureate.
 

West Orem YMCA Partners with Houston Food Bank to Distribute Food in District K on Wednesdays Through June 2021

 

Join the Department of Neighborhoods for a Virtual Cup of Coffee and Conversation

 

Economic Development Committee Meeting

 
The Economic Development Committee, chaired by Vice Mayor Pro Tem Castex-Tatum, reviews matters related to Economic Development, Domestic and International Trade, Business and Job Creation, and Aviation.
 
The Council Economic Development Committee meeting will commence Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. The agenda and the presentations will be posted on the Economic Development Committee website. The meeting will be a virtual meeting via Microsoft Teams Live.  
 
The committee meeting will be streamed on HTV Live Stream or can be watched online via this link:EDCFeb172021.
 
Public comment will be allowed via video conference only. To sign up for Public Comment, the public is asked to please complete the form https://forms.gle/nUMcK92vNeDU6HBS8 before 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Those who sign up in advance will be able to provide public comments during the meeting. Public speakers will receive a specific link that will allow them to be able to speak at their designated time during the public comment portion of the meeting. 
 

Reminder: Houston 50/50 Park Partners Seek Your Input for Improvements to Mayfair Park in Fort Bend Houston

 
 
50/50 Park Partners want to hear from you about future improvements to Mayfair Park!
 
Please fill out this survey to give your input on what you’d like to see in your neighborhood park: click the link here (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XBPTS9W) or use the QR code. 50/50 Park Partners is a Mayoral initiative to improve 50 neighborhood parks.