HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In 2022, ABC-13 launched "ABC 13 We Belong," a community affairs show focused on the diverse and rich cultures within the greater Houston region. For our first show of 2023, we focused on Black History Month as well as Lunar New Year, both important occasions that occur in the beginning of the year.
If you have walked around Downtown Houston lately, you may have been stopped by one of those astonishing, multi-story murals that grace the sides of several buildings. It was no accident. Harris Precinct 1 County Commissioner Rodney Ellis first saw large murals in another city. He tracked down the people working on the project, and vowed to bring it to Houston.
"It gives you a reason to get out and walk, to move around downtown," said Commissioner Ellis. "It's exciting. I mean, and look, we want do as much as we can to get people back into the core of the city. And it's a real challenge. You know, we doing better than most cities in the country."
Over the past two years, Commissioner Ellis convinced Houston's Downtown District to jump on board. With the addition of several corporate sponsors, there are now around 10 murals that dot downtown. One shows lady justice, another a boy on a bicycle. Still another shows a Native American girl staring into a jar of fireflies.
"I think what is getting a lot of buzz in Houston is the fact you look up and you see a, uh, African American on a mural. You see a Hispanic or two on a mural. You see Asian Americans, on murals. You see a Native American on the mural," said Ellis, who expects more murals to be painted. "I think that's creating a bit of a buzz. You normally don't see that. So look, the concept is big art, bigger change. So as beautiful as the art is, it's really to inspire a conversation."
In another segment of ABC-13 We Belong, we chat with anchor Melanie Lawson about her role as a judge in the Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory competition, held every year around MLK Day. Having spent 40 years at ABC-13, Lawson has seen the legacy of MLK transform Houston first hand. Her father, the Rev. Bill Lawson, was active in the Civil Rights Movement alongside Dr. King.
BLCK Market, a Black owned retail shop that showcases Black owned products, was also featured in ABC-13 We Belong. J.O. Malone, who operates the Pearland area store and showcase, prides himself in finding high quality products for his customers. "It's Black History Month, 365 for us," Malone said.
Finally on ABC-13 We Belong, we turn the focus to Lunar New Year! ABC-13's Race & Culture reporter Rosie Nguyen profiles the first ever Houston Police Dept. Lion Dance Team. The team of full time police officers just formed a few months ago, and are already performing across Houston. In addition, Rosie also talked to Soaring Phoenix, one of the largest Lion Dance troops in Houston. The group performs hundreds of times each Lunar New Year season.
You can stream ABC-13 We Belong on our ABC-13 news App. Or watch it right here, on Abc13.com
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