Lakesha Holmes knew from jump that she wanted to grow up to be a lawyer.
“That’s the only thing I wanted to do,” the Baytown native said. “I had two cousins, they’re sister judges. One is a judge in New York and one’s a judge in New Jersey and I was inspired by them.”
Holmes, who graduated magna cum laude from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and went on to receive a law degree, also magna cum laude, from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston, helps clients start small businesses, work with contracts, trademark and copyright law. She also helps families do estate planning at an affordable price.
She was one of seven Baytown area residents featured Thursday night at the “Making Black History Today” showcase at the J.D. Walker Community Center.
The others included author and speaker Andrew J. Landry; Baytown Police Department Sgt. Craig Green; educators Kirven Tillis, Precious Reimonenq and Heron Thomas, and historian J. Warren Singleton.
“During Black History Month, the month of February, we always can tell who we’re going to be talking about. It’s always going to be the Martin Luther Kings, the Malcolm Xes, the Rosa Parkses, who are outstanding people who have done amazing work and who have gotten us to where we are today,” Gina Guillory said.
“But I didn’t want us to lose sight of the fact that we’ve got some people who are still making history in our local community that we can see at the grocery store, when we’re volunteering out in the community, at church sometimes.
“They’re not all deceased, they’re not all on a shelf and they’re not in a book. You can see them and they are giving back to our community. This showcase is to acknowledge the people who are working and doing the boots on the ground while they still have breaths in their body and we can touch them.”
Guillory, a Lee College regent, joined with Anthony Eagleton, manager of the Community Center to host Thursday night’s program, which was more of a community visit than a program. The featured history-makers were stationed at tables around the perimeter of the Community Center’s meeting room and those attending walked around the room and visited one-on-one or in groups with each.
“This event was amazing,” Landry said. “I really enjoyed it, and it was great to be recognized as a leader in the community.”
Landry authored two books on sex addiction and victimization: “Overcoming the Addiction That No One Has” and “After the Violation: A Comprehensive Guide to Healing After Being Sexually Mishandled.” Owner of a Master Degree in Christian Ministries with a focus on Pastoral Counseling, Landry formed a non-profit organization called Where Men Hurt to provide men a platform to talk about real life issues in a non-judgmental settings.
Weekly meetings are held in person and by Zoom on Monday nights in a barber shop setting in Humble but there is no requirement to talk, other than introductions.
Green, a graduate of Houston Worthing High School and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, was the first African American supervisor in the Baytown Police Department.
He has been a member of the department for 25 years and has served in specialized assignments like the Harris County Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Forces, the Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force and accident reconstruction team. He currently supervises BPD’s Narcotics Division.
Reimonenq, a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, with masters’ and doctorate degrees from TSU in Houston, has worked for 24 years for Goose Creek CISD, as a teacher, then administrator. Outside the classroom, her roles have included dyslexia specialist, principal and Director of Social-Emotional Learning and Student Wellness.
Under her leadership, the district has won awards from the Center for School Behavior Health and the National Alliance for Mental Illness.
“I enjoy education,” she said. “I started out as a teacher, now I’m a district level educator. I love kids, I love educators and lifelong skills.”
Singleton is a Baytown native who attended George Washington Carver High School, the city’s formerly all-Black high school, and was a track star. A former Gulf Oil employee, Singleton has dedicated his life after retirement to recognizing local African Americans for their outstanding accomplishments for our community.
Thomas is a graduate of Baytown Lee High School who has been an educator for almost 20 years at Goose Creek and Barbers Hill school districts. His non-profit organization, Thomas Institute of Excellence, teaches young men of all colors self respect and respect of others.
“One of the things we teach is how to tie a tie,” Thomas said. “We teach the difference between dressing classy and dressing for success. We teach etiquette and we teach the difference between renting and owning your own home.”
Tillis, the first African American administrator in the Barbers Hill ISD, is a nationally known consultant dedicated to helping educators better themselves. He teaches the importance of positive relationships discipline strategies that are empathetic.
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