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Longview Police Officer David Cheatham: Protector of the Community

EAST TEXAS REVIEW — “How do you feel when you put on your uniform each day? ‘I was a Military Police Officer 1985-1987. Putting on the uniform can be a mixed bag of emotions. Some days I still get that old excitement that there is no way of knowing what will happen today and that is a good thing but then on other days I get that feeling there is no way of knowing what will happen today and that is a bad thing.'”

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  1. Name of Officer: David L. Cheatham
  2. Education: Whitehouse High School (Graduated 1984), Army Basic Training (1984); Army AIT
  3. Prior job experience if any? Military Police Core 1985; East Texas Police Academy Peace Officer License (1989); Intermediate Peace Officer (1996) Advanced Peace Officer (1999); TCOLE Instructor Proficiency (2005) Master Peace Officer (2005); 2,674 hours of continued education
  4. Hometown: Whitehouse, TX
  5. How do you feel when you put on your uniform each day? I was a Military Police Officer 1985-1987. Putting on the uniform can be a mixed bag of emotions. Some days I still get that old excitement that” there is no way of knowing what will happen today” and that is a good thing but then on other days I get that feeling “there is no way of knowing what will happen today” and that is a bad thing.
  6. People don’t often understand how hard police officers work to keep citizens safe, what inspired, you to become a protector of the community and can you tell us if any daily risks you’ve seen or experienced? I began my law enforcement career as my then Father in law and brother in law and my father had all served in the military and I felt the desire to do so as well. Choosing the Military Police was simply a natural selection for me.
  7. What is a misconception you have seen that the public have about the Police? There are many misconceptions of police. (1) We all know and like each other. (2) All police and federal computers are linked together like on TV. (3) There is always video or DNA to help solve crimes, which is my favorite. (4) All police like donuts (Ok I do but my wife doesn’t).
  8. As a Police officer, what do you want your legacy to be? That I made a positive difference in the lives of the community I serve(d).
  9. What was one of your toughest days on the job.: The first time I, helplessly, watched a child die.
  10. How does your family feel about you being a police officer? Since my wife and I are each on the police force there aren’t any times that family has questioned our decision to do police work (Not that I recall anyway).
  11. Police officers work long hours and the work is very stressful, how do you like to relax? My wife and I live in the country and if I am feeling stressed I get on the bulldozer and push down trees. I am a firm believer if you own a bull dozer you should never be stressed too long.
  12. If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing what would it be? Be a fireman, LOL everyone loves firemen, they don’t write tickets or take you to jail.
  13. In a time when pop culture encourages not co-operating with police officers, can you expand on the dangers this causes? The average citizen doesn’t realize the danger that “not cooperating” brings to the table. The officer will have no idea why you aren’t cooperating, are you wanted for some unknown crime, are you going to try and hurt, kill the officer? Even if you believe you are innocent of whatever cooperate. There is a time and place to plead your case and it’s never on the side of the road.
  14. As a champion of the community and symbol of justice how can we as a community better support the police? Show that you support your officers publicly.
  15. Do police officers really like donuts? Police Officer’s like donuts because everyone (almost) likes donuts.
  16. Do you think the Cowboys have a shot at the Super Bowl this year and why? As was my father I am always a loyal Cowboys fan and I always believe they have a shot.

This article originally appeared in The East Texas Review.

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PRESS ROOM: 100-year old legendary African-American debate coach awarded 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from NSDA

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Dr. Thomas Freeman’s 70-plus year resume includes teaching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his time at Morehouse, former U.S. Reps. Leland and Jordan, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, gospel superstar Yolanda Adams, and Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, who sought out Freeman’s expertise to coach the cast of the Golden Globe-nominated film “The Great Debaters.”

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The National Speech & Debate Association has honored Dr. Thomas Freeman’s 70-plus year legacy with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The National Speech & Debate Association has honored Dr. Thomas Freeman’s 70-plus year legacy with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

100-year old legendary African-American debate coach Dr. Thomas Freeman has been awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Speech & Debate Association.

Freeman’s 70-plus year resume includes teaching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his time at Morehouse, former U.S. Reps. Leland and Jordan, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, gospel superstar Yolanda Adams, and Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, who sought out Freeman’s expertise to coach the cast of the Golden Globe-nominated film “The Great Debaters.”

Freeman was the Texas Southern University debate coach for six decades before his retirement in 2013. Freeman recently celebrated his 100th birthday on June 27, 2019.

“The National Speech & Debate Association is deeply honored to award Dr. Freeman with our 2019 lifetime achievement award,” said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association. “Our members, board members, coaches, and students hold Dr. Freemen with such high esteem – he’s like a celebrity within our organization. Freeman is the epitome of who our members hope to become – someone who defies the odds and uses the power of words to propel change. His words of encouragement at our National Tournament in Dallas will always echo through our hearts.”

About the National Speech & Debate Association

The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, high-quality resources, comprehensive training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition to more than 150,000 students and coaches every year. For 90 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has empowered nearly two million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our society. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.  

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Empire Star Taraji Henson Speaks on Suicide and Mental Health on Capitol Hill

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “It breaks my heart to know that 5-year-old children are contemplating life and death, I just…I’m sorry. That one is tough for me. So, I’m here to appeal to you, because this is a national crisis. When I hear of kids going into bathrooms, cutting themselves, you’re supposed to feel safe in school,” Henson told the members of Congress and those in the audience in a hearing room on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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Award-winning actress and Empire star Taraji P. Henson testified before members of Congress on mental health issues in the African American community. (Photo: YouTube)
Award-winning actress and Empire star Taraji P. Henson testified before members of Congress on mental health issues in the African American community. (Photo: YouTube)

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

“I am here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this, because I also suffer from depression and anxiety. If you’re a human living in today’s world, I don’t know how you’re not suffering in any way.”

Award-winning actress and ‘Empire’ star Taraji P. Henson testified before members of Congress on mental health issues in the African American community.

The Congressional Black Caucus launched a task force on mental health issues in April of this year. They have held hearings on mental health and the increasing number of suicides among black youth. The CBC Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health is chaired by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

The members of the task force are Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), Danny Davis (D-IL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

“I’m here to appeal to you because this is a national crisis,” Henson said. Henson founded The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness in the African American community with a specific emphasis on the suicide rate among Black youth.

“I really don’t know how to fix this problem, I just know that the suicide rate is rising,” she said. “I just know that ages of the children that are committing suicide are getting younger and younger,” the actress added.

“It breaks my heart to know that 5-year-old children are contemplating life and death, I just…I’m sorry. That one is tough for me. So, I’m here to appeal to you, because this is a national crisis. When I hear of kids going into bathrooms, cutting themselves, you’re supposed to feel safe in school,” Henson told the members of Congress and those in the audience in a hearing room on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Every year, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness, but a National Alliance on Mental Illness study discovered that black adults utilize mental health services at half the rate of white adults.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

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‘Mindful Beauty’ health program to launch in salons

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — Kaiser Permanente has teamed with Charles Drew University to launch a new mental health program called Mindful Beauty. Depression impacts the lives of more than 12 million women in America annually, according to Mental Health America. African-American women, as stated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, are at the highest risk for experiencing major depression.

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Young woman consoling her friend. Los Angeles, America. (Photo by: wavenewspapers.com)

By Sarah Jones-Smith

LOS ANGELES — Kaiser Permanente has teamed with Charles Drew University to launch a new mental health program called Mindful Beauty.

Depression impacts the lives of more than 12 million women in America annually, according to Mental Health America. African-American women, as stated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, are at the highest risk for experiencing major depression.

Attending bi-weekly salon appointments, one could argue that women are visiting the hair salon more often than a therapist. Despite the commonality of depression and anxiety, stigmas surrounding mental health within the black community often deter women from seeking help.

According to the executive director of the Black Beauty Shop Health Foundation, Margot LaDrew, the beauty salon is the one place that black women literally let their hair down and discuss their greatest struggles. In agreement with LaDrew’s sentiments, Kaiser Permanente prompted her health care organization with a two-year, $80,000 grant to launch the Mindful Beauty program.

“Mindful Beauty is an innovative mental health program that allows us to smartly and safely start the process of reducing the stigma behind mental health,” LaDrew said. The five-week program will leverage the special hairstylist-client bond to provide the health outreach and education required to aid in reducing depression.

Janae Oliver, the founder of the Mindful Beauty Initiative and community health manager for Kaiser Permanente, said, “This program is about starting a real conversation through interventions that get women well before they reach the doors of our health care system.”

The program is a collaboration among South Los Angeles medical school Charles Drew University, Black Beauty Shop Health Foundation and the California Black Women’s Health Project.

Oliver thought of the program when she was a student at Charles R. Drew University. Growing up in South Los Angeles, her sister was a hairstylist. She shared client stories with Oliver and expressed that she was, “like a therapist.”

With her sister’s stories in mind and after doing research, Oliver noticed that black women typically were not represented in data about mental health. She also noticed that many people within the black community do not trust that they can visit a mental health specialist without being seen as “crazy” because of stigmas surrounding mental health issues in the black community.

Oliver and a group of classmates decided to make that the focus of their class project and Mindful Beauty was born.

Cynthia Davis, assistant professor at Charles Drew University College of Science and Health, is looking forward to launching the program, as she feels it is long overdue.

“Our hope is that the results will be very positive and that Mindful Beauty can be replicated across the country,” Davis said. Charles Drew University’s resources will be used to capture and measure the program’s outcomes.

“As a hairstylist for over 20 years, I have often found that I am one of the few people outside of a close friend, family member, intimate partner or physician that has knowledge of the issues that women who sit in my chair face on a daily basis,” said Maisha Oliver, celebrity hairstylist and program champion.

Oliver believes that Mindful Beauty is likely to have a positive impact on African-American women. At the end of the program, stylists in South Los Angeles beauty salons will receive certificates and will have the opportunity to their knowledge to assist black women in the community.

The program will be geared toward women 18 and over. Maisha Oliver and others will participate in training led by the California Black Women’s Health Project.

Other stylists are still going through a recruitment process and, if picked, will participate in a seven-module training. Through this training, they will learn to recognize signs of depression as well as cultural factors that should be taken into consideration.

Each case will be confidential and client referrals will take place through community clinics such as UMMA Community Clinic and ROADS Community Care Clinic. The Mindful Beauty program is expected to launch this summer.

This article originally appeared in the Wave Newspapers
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S.B. Legal Aid Offers Free Expungement

PRECINCT REPORTER GROUP NEWS — It should come as no surprise that the last place most formerly incarcerated want to be is at another courthouse standing before another judge. That’s probably one reason why thousands that could have gotten expunged haven’t taken advantage of the process locally since 2014 when the expungement law opened up. Since then, Michelle Dodd has handled over 300 cases from start to finish. She takes care of the entire process, and all clients need to do is show up at the door of the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino.

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Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino (Photo by: precinctreporter.com)

By Dianne Anderson

It should come as no surprise that the last place most formerly incarcerated want to be is at another courthouse standing before another judge.

That’s probably one reason why thousands that could have gotten expunged haven’t taken advantage of the process locally since 2014 when the expungement law opened up.

Since then, Michelle Dodd has handled over 300 cases from start to finish. She takes care of the entire process, and all clients need to do is show up at the door of the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino.

And, it’s free.

“They’re going to send you right to me. I’m going to do the paperwork, you’ll come in and sign it. You don’t ever have to see the judge or the court clerk,” said Dodd, case management director at the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino.

Documents are sent by mail so the client doesn’t have to file. The judge hears it within 30 to 45 days when the order is denied, or approved, via the mail.

With her 90% success rate, mostly it’s approved.

Over the past few years, she has seen several clients come in that need multiple expungements. One client originally had three charges, but had snowballed into 28 parole layered charges.  It was a case of violation on top of violation, on top of violation.

“The reality is that they were young. Now they’re older, and all of these are from their past. They were silly charges,” she said.

Youth get tied up in the system from an early age, and probably never learned how, or had an opportunity to clean up their past. Now that they’re older, they have a family to support and they’re trying to get a job.

Despite their checkered backgrounds, some of her clients have been able to land decent work, but she recommends not waiting until the last minute to set the record straight.

One client was up for a job at DMV, but he lost his window of opportunity because his expungement was not even close to being ready. He had to produce proof, but he didn’t realize that he needed an expungement until they notified him.

“They sent him a letter of denial that he had a charge from 23 years ago, and he needed to get it fixed,” she said. “But they only gave him ten days to clear that up before he could reapply.”

It cost him the potential job.

Others have also come in because they are trying to assist their aging parents. Decades later, they can’t pass the background check without an expungement that they didn’t realize they needed.

“They’re thinking I did two days in jail, and got 36 months of probation,” she said. “Now, it’s 20 years later and they can’t get the job because of that charge.”

Dodd, who has worked with Legal Aid nearly 24 years, said the expungement law passed in 2014, but the forms changed in 2017 to re-sentencing language that now involves several different components, including immigration.

Until the laws change, the biggest barrier even with expungement is that the formerly incarcerated still must check the box that they’ve been arrested.

“Once it’s expunged, it says dismissed instead of what the sentence was,” she said. “To get it off the record requires an entirely different motion, and character letters from people [without a] guarantee that’s going through either.”

However, there may be some encouraging changes on the horizon for low-level offenders that have been locked out of jobs, housing or education because of their arrest record.

AB 1076 wants to seal the conviction database of eight million records from public view, but it will be open for certain law enforcement agencies. To pass, it needs to clear both Democratically-controlled houses before heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign or veto in September. If passed, the law would take effect in January, 2021.

“That’s the change we need,” Dodd said.

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), author of AB 1076, states on his website that the process of automating arrest and conviction relief at the California Department of Justice is the first of its kind.

“Everybody deserves a second chance. We must open doors for those facing housing and employment barriers and use available technology to clear arrest and criminal records for individuals already eligible for relief. There is a great cost to our economy and society when we shut out job-seeking workers looking for a better future,” Ting stated.

According to www.timedone.org, a campaign of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, one-fifth of the 70 million Americans convicted of a crime still struggle with barriers to access jobs, housing, education long after they have served their time.

“The negative impacts of a felony conviction disproportionately impact people of color, people living in urban areas, people without a college degree, and people who are low income. The largest disparities relate to finding a job or housing,” Californians for Safety and Justice reports. “ People of color are 25% more likely than white people to report difficulty finding a job and 61% more likely to report difficulty finding housing.”

For more information on clinic times and document preparation, see http://legalaidofsb.org/

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The Storied History of the NAACP

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Much has changed since the creation of the NAACP 110 years ago, and as we highlight these achievements during this year’s convention, we cannot forget that we’re still tirelessly fighting against the hatred and bigotry that face communities of color in this country,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said.

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Accordingly, the NAACP’s mission remains to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate race prejudice. (Photo: The Oklahoma Eagle)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The NAACP plans to highlight 110 years of civil rights history, and the current fight for voting rights, criminal justice reform, economic opportunity and education quality during its 110th national convention now happening in Detroit.

The five-day event which began on Saturday, July 20, will also include a session on the 2020 Census, a presidential roundtable, CEO Roundtable, and LGBTQ and legislative workshops.

“We are excited to announce the 110th annual convention in Detroit, my hometown,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.

“For me, it is a homecoming and I will also be excited to announce our theme for this year which is, ‘When we Fight, We Win,’” Johnson said.

Winning is what the NAACP was built on – winning battles for racism, freedom, justice and equality.

The NAACP was formed in 1908 after a deadly race riot that featured anti-black violence and lynching erupted in Springfield, Illinois.

According to the storied organization’s website, a group of white liberals that included descendants of famous abolitionists Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard; William English Walling, and Dr. Henry Moscowitz, all issued a call for a meeting to discuss racial justice.

About 60 people, seven of whom were African American, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Mary Church Terrell, answered the call, which was released on the centennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln.

“Echoing the focus of Du Bois’ Niagara Movement for civil rights, which began in 1905, the NAACP aimed to secure for all people the rights guaranteed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution, which promised an end to slavery, the equal protection of the law, and universal adult male suffrage, respectively.”

Accordingly, the NAACP’s mission remains to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate race prejudice.

“The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes,” Johnson said.

The NAACP established its national office in New York City in 1910 and named a board of directors as well as a president, Moorfield Storey, a white constitutional lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association.

Other early members included Joel and Arthur Spingarn, Josephine Ruffin, Mary Talbert, Inez Milholland, Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, Sophonisba Breckinridge, John Haynes Holmes, Mary McLeod Bethune, George Henry White, Charles Edward Russell, John Dewey, William Dean Howells, Lillian Wald, Charles Darrow, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Fanny Garrison Villard, and Walter Sachs. Despite a foundational commitment to multiracial membership, Du Bois was the only African American among the organization’s original executives.

Du Bois was made director of publications and research, and in 1910 established the official journal of the NAACP, The Crisis.

By 1913, with a strong emphasis on local organizing, the NAACP had established branch offices in such cities as Boston, Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and Detroit.

NAACP membership grew rapidly, from around 9,000 in 1917 to around 90,000 in 1919, with more than 300 local branches.

Joel Spingarn, a professor of literature and one of the NAACP founders formulated much of the strategy that fostered much of the organization’s growth.

He was elected board chairman of the NAACP in 1915 and served as president from 1929-1939.

The NAACP would eventually fight battles against the Ku Klux Klan and other hate organizations.

The organization also became renowned in American Justice with Thurgood Marshall helping to prevail in the 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, the decision that overturned Plessy.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, which was disproportionately disastrous for African Americans, the NAACP began to focus on economic justice.

Because of the advocacy of the NAACP, President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to open thousands of jobs to black workers when labor leader A. Philip Randolph, in collaboration with the NAACP, threatened a national March on Washington movement in 1941.

President Roosevelt also set up a Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) to ensure compliance.

The NAACP’s Washington, D.C., bureau, led by lobbyist Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., helped advance not only integration of the armed forces in 1948 but also passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1964, and 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

NAACP Mississippi field secretary Medgar Evers and his wife Myrlie would become high-profile targets for pro-segregationist violence and terrorism.

In 1962, their home was fire bombed, and later Medgar was assassinated by a sniper in front of their residence. Violence also met black children attempting to enter previously segregated schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, and other southern cities.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s echoed the NAACP’s goals, but leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, felt that direct action was needed to obtain them.

Although the NAACP was criticized for working too rigidly within the system, prioritizing legislative and judicial solutions, the Association did provide legal representation and aid to members of other protest groups over a sustained period of time.

The NAACP even posted bail for hundreds of Freedom Riders in the ‘60s who had traveled to Mississippi to register black voters and challenge Jim Crow policies.

Led by Roy Wilkins, who succeeded Walter White as secretary in 1955, the NAACP collaborated with A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and other national organizations to plan the historic 1963 March on Washington.

The following year, the Association accomplished what seemed an insurmountable task: The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Much has changed since the creation of the NAACP 110 years ago, and as we highlight these achievements during this year’s convention, we cannot forget that we’re still tirelessly fighting against the hatred and bigotry that face communities of color in this country,” Johnson said.

“With new threats emerging daily and attacks on our democracy, the NAACP must be more steadfast and immovable than ever before to help create a social political atmosphere that works for all,” he said.

The NAACP provided all historical information for this report.

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Colorado Petroleum Council Focus on Enhancing Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The natural gas and oil industry is projected to create 1.3 million new jobs between 2015 and 2025, with that number growing to 1.9 million by 2035. Of these new jobs, 707,000, or 38 percent of the total, are projected to be filled by African American and Hispanic workers through 2035.

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A big part of CPC’s efforts to enhance communities is focused on aggressively pursuing investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education given its crucial role in the sustainment of career opportunities for all Coloradans. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)
A big part of CPC’s efforts to enhance communities is focused on aggressively pursuing investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education given its crucial role in the sustainment of career opportunities for all Coloradans. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Four years ago, the American Petroleum Institute, the world’s largest energy industry trade association, opened a chapter in Colorado, owing to the growing opportunities from natural gas and oil in the state. Since its inception, the Colorado Petroleum Council has served as an advocate for – and partner to – communities across the state, placing great emphasis on innovation, public health and safety. This has allowed the industry the ability to invest in reducing its emissions to historic lows even as energy production has reached all-time highs.

“Most importantly, Colorado is our home,” said Lynn Granger, the new Executive Director of the Colorado Petroleum Council.  “When we arrived in Colorado, our mission wasn’t simply to grow jobs and economic opportunities for the people of our state, though we are encouraged with our progress on that front. We breathe the same air and drink the same water as our neighbors, and we are proud of the leading role that our industry has played – and will continue to play – in the development and implementation of emissions-reducing technologies that benefit all of Colorado’s vibrant communities, regardless of income level, color or creed.”

A big part of CPC’s efforts to enhance communities is focused on aggressively pursuing investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education given its crucial role in the sustainment of career opportunities for all Coloradans.

“We’re especially proud of our commitment to education,” continued Granger. “Our industry has taken a leading role in promoting STEM education across Colorado. The natural gas and oil industry continues to grow amidst the American energy renaissance, creating jobs that need to be filled with talented, skilled workers. We are focused on ensuring that Coloradans from every walk of life are given a true and just opportunity to benefit from these opportunities, and the foundation for future success begins in the classroom.”

The natural gas and oil industry is projected to create 1.3 million new jobs between 2015 and 2025, with that number growing to 1.9 million by 2035. Of these new jobs, 707,000, or 38 percent of the total, are projected to be filled by African American and Hispanic workers through 2035.

According to a 2018 report based on state and federal data, natural gas and oil operations support over 232,900 Colorado jobs, provide an annual statewide economic impact of more than $31.4 billion, and contribute more than $1.2 billion per year in public revenue to the state, including $180 million toward local universities and school districts.

“These jobs and dollars support communities across Colorado, funding everything from schools, to roads, to emergency responders,” noted Granger. “But they do so much more than that. This has allowed us to redouble our commitment to education at the local level and to serve as true partners in communities across the state. We are proud of the work we have done thus far, but know that there is more to be done for current and future generations of Coloradans.”

Colorado’s natural gas and oil industry, in partnership with dozens of government agencies, has implemented the most robust regulatory framework in the nation. Granger acknowledged that the industry’s growth, and the burgeoning opportunities it provides, can only be sustained with an all-hands effort toward keeping public health and safety paramount.

“None of what our industry does would be worthwhile if not for a round-the-clock effort to mitigate any environmental impacts that could have adverse effects on Colorado communities,” said Granger. “These efforts have been my top priority since assuming this role, and I want the people of our state to know that I will be fierce in promoting a balance between sustainability and the opportunities our industry brings to the table.”

Granger, in closing, recognized the existing disparities in Colorado’s economy, and expressed determination on behalf of her industry to be proactive in addressing the issue.

“People have moved to Colorado in droves from across the country, which has certainly presented challenges. We are committed to turning those challenges into opportunities. Colorado’s economy consistently ranks as best in the nation, but these economic opportunities feel out of reach for too many people in our state. The natural gas and oil industry is committed to being a partner in changing this dynamic. Everyone deserves a shot at the American dream, and the Colorado Petroleum Council and our member companies are unwavering, through investments in education, innovation, and directly into communities, to bringing these dreams to life.”

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