Black preachers in Houston are seeking ways to deal with the epidemic of youth violence in their communities, The Houston Chronicle reports. “We’re going to scream from the rooftop” until the politicians respond, said the Rev. Robert Jefferson, pastor of Cullen Missionary Baptist Church. Jefferson, who’s over special projects for Houston Ministers Against Crime, was speaking at news conference convened a day after Police Chief Harold Hurtt pleaded with area churches, schools, businesses and other groups to help him come up with a way to curtail the regularity of Black men killing one another. According to the Chronicle, the number of young Black men murdered in Houston jumped from 42 to 129 during the study period. “Success doesn’t just happen,” Hurtt said. “It takes a lot of work and concerted effort.” The Chronicle also cites a national study released last month, which found a 13-percent increase in the number of Black suspects in Houston homicides between 2000-01 and 2006-07. That was the largest percentage increase among 28 U.S. cities, according to the study by Northeastern University criminologists James Fox and Marc Swatt.
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A flight attendant whose psychiatrist says felt “disrespected as a Black woman” is suing the wife of the pastor of one of the nation’s largest evangelical churches, saying she was assaulted on a flight from Houston to Colorado. Sharon Brown is suing Victoria Osteen, who is married to televangelist Joel Osteen, with whom she co-pastors the Lakewood Church in Houston, a converted football stadium that draws some 42,000 members each week. Brown claims that Osteen threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in her breast before the start of a flight three years ago, The Associated Press reports. The fracas on the Continental Airlines flight apparently began over a spill about the size of a 50-cent piece on a seat in first class. Osteen allegedly was agitated that the spill wasn’t being cleaned up fast enough. Another flight attendant, Maria Johnson, testified Thursday that Osteen was out of control and corroborated Brown’s claims. “She was demanding that attention be given to her immediately,” Johnson said. Osteen kept saying: “This is ridiculous. I’m a first-class passenger,” Johnson added. She confirmed Brown’s assertion that Osteen was so upset that she tried to force her way into the cockpit. “She took Sharon by the shoulders and pushed her out of the way. Sharon stumbled,” Johnson testified. Johnson, who is White, suggested that race might have been a factor, noting that Osteen only wanted to deal with her and not the other two flight attendants, who are Black. But Rusty Hardin, Victoria Osteen’s attorney, said the lawsuit is all about money. “This is nothing more than an attempted extortion,” Hardin told jurors during opening statements. While admitting that Victoria Osteen is sometimes a “very excitable and expressive person,” Hardin said she was never out of control. AP reports that Brown’s psychiatrist, Shayna Lee, testified that “Brown has suffered depression and post-traumatic stress disorder because of the incident. She also felt disrespected in her role as a leader and as a Black woman, and had her faith affected.” Brown’s attorney, Reginald McKamie, told jurors that Brown was only doing her job. “Sharon was attacked by someone in the community who supposedly represents a higher degree of human decency,” he said. Brown is seeking an apology and 10 percent of Victoria Osteen’s net worth as part of her suit. Is this about money or did Victoria Osteen mess up in a major way?