Houston Public Media’s Public Affairs Radio Show “Houston Matters” to Explore Race and Policing During Live Town Hall on Nov. 15

Houston Public Media’s public affairs radio show “Houston Matters” will hold an hour-long candid panel discussion about the relationship between Houston’s African-American community and law enforcement during a live town hall on Nov. 15 at noon on News 88.7.


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Lori Pennington
Carbonara Group
o: (713) 524-8170

Cherri Carbonara
Carbonara Group
o: (713) 524-8170

Houston Public Media's public affairs radio show "Houston Matters" will hold an hour-long candid panel discussion about the relationship between Houston's African-American community and law enforcement during a live town hall on Nov. 15 at noon on News 88.7. The show will launch DiverseCity, a yearlong multi-media initiative focused on examining the opportunities and challenges faced in Houston, which is often celebrated as the "most diverse city in America."

The "Houston Matters" town hall will also be streamed live online with video on The community is invited to join this important conversation via social media using the hashtag #HMTownHall.

"We've had a number of discussions on ‘Houston Matters' in the last couple of years about the relationship between law enforcement and Houston's black community," said host Craig Cohen. "We see this town hall as an opportunity to bring our community together to explore what may lead, at times, to disconnects, miscommunications or misunderstandings. We also want to highlight the good work being done in Greater Houston to bridge any such divides, especially in light of the many high-profile incidents of violence that have taken place over the last year or two."

Cohen will guide the conversation with representatives from both communities about their experiences as well as potential solutions to improving their relationship. The panel of guests will include:

  • Newly elected Harris County Sheriff
  • Michael Dirden – executive assistant chief for Houston Police Department
  • Everette Penn, PhD – professor of Criminology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and director of the Teen and Police Service (TAPS) Academy
  • Assata Richards, PhD – director of Sankofa Research Institute and vice chair of the Emancipation Economic Development Council
  • Cherry Steinwender – executive director of Center for the Healing of Racism
  • Ashton P. Woods – community activist and organizer with the Houston chapter of Black Lives Matter

As part of the DiverseCity initiative, Houston Public Media will explore Houston's racial, ethnic, economic, gender, political and neighborhood diversity through the lens of three primary questions:

  • What does Houston's diversity look like?
  • How does this diversity shape Houston?
  • What does diversity mean for Houston?

"As part of Houston Public Media's commitment to deliver thought-provoking content that expands minds and generates insightful dialogue, we will utilize our radio, TV, mobile, web and social assets to engage the community in this important topic," said Joshua Adams, executive director of operations for Houston Public Media. "Our goal with this yearlong initiative is to explore Houston's identity and the evolution of our diverse, world-class city."

Beginning the week of Nov. 14, the "Houston Matters" team and News 88.7 newsroom reporters will collaborate to delve into topics associated with police training, hate groups and hate crimes in Houston. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16, 2017, Houston Public Media will air a new groundbreaking TV8 documentary, "In Black and White," exploring race relations through the generations in Houston.

Watch for more details about DiverseCity (#DiverseCity) to unfold in the coming weeks on

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About Houston Public Media

Houston Public Media combines broadcast and digital assets to serve residents of Southeast Texas with a curated mix of trusted local news and entertainment with exceptional national programming from NPR and PBS. Houston Public Media is a public service from the University of Houston, its license holder, and is supported with financial gifts to the Houston Public Media Foundation. With a combined weekly audience of more than 1.5 million, Houston Public Media is committed to delivering content that expands minds and possibilities with trusted information. Connect on Facebook at and Twitter at