90-Year-Old Texas Woman Who Walked to D.C. Hopes Obama Makes Juneteenth an Official Holiday

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By Becky FogelJanuary 11, 2017 11:20 am

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Three months ago Opal Lee set out with a purpose. The 90-year-old Fort Worth woman started walking from North Texas to the nation’s capital in an effort to make June 19 a national day of observance. It’s better known as Juneteenth – which celebrates the day that news of slavery’s end arrived in Texas.

I just thought if a little old lady in tennis shoes was out there walking, somebody would take notice,” Lee said. “And maybe let the White House know I was coming.” 

Today, Lee will reach Washington D.C. and end her trek. But she still hasn’t achieved her goal. While 45 states do recognize the holiday – the federal government still doesn’t. That’s not stopping Lee from holding out hope that President Obama might make Juneteenth an official holiday before leaving office.

I’m making a last ditch stand to get ahold to him,” Lee said. “But if I don’t hear from him, the next president is going to hear from me.”

In the last leg of her journey this afternoon, Opal Lee will walk from Frederick Douglass’ house, cross the Potomac River, and end on the steps of the Capitol building.

After leading the Austin police department for years – Art Acevedo was sworn in as Houston’s Police Chief back in November. This week, he sat down with the radio program Houston Matters to talk about his top concerns leading one of the country’s largest police departments. Houston Public Media’s Eddie Robinson has more:

It’s not a matter of if, but when. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says among his biggest short-term concerns at his new post is preparing for potential violent acts such as mass shootings. 

“That homegrown extremist threat that comes from people that are radicalized for whatever reason, whether they’re anti-government, because they want to support ISIS, whatever it can be,” Acevedo says. “That lone wolf really does keep me up late at night thinking about not if but when it will happen.”

He says other types of violent crime along with traffic fatalies are among the biggest challenges facing his department in 2017. Issues he has to address with an inadequate amount of officers on the beat. Acevedo says he plans to deal with that by improving relationships with communities.

The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office is searching for whoever shot a bald eagle in the Anahuac area. The bird was so severely injured it had to be humanely euthanized.

Bald Eagles are federally protected – so whoever shot the bird could face fines and potentially jail time.