Former Houston City Councilmember and Mayor Pro-Tem Jew Don Boney, Jr. (November 16, 1951) is a native of Temple Texas. His involvement in Texas politics began with the 62nd Legislative Session, when he worked as a legislative assistant to State Representative Curtis Graves. The following year, in 1973, he accepted a position as a legislative aide to former U.S. Congressman Craig A. Washington, who was then a freshman Texas Legislator. “One of the key things I learned from my earliest experience in politics is that the most important work is not necessarily done in front of the cameras on the legislative floor; it’s in the office, in the background where the real work gets done.” Boney would go on to enjoy an impressive career as a radio journalist but political and community organizing would eventually become his primary passions.
During the 1980s, Boney received national notoriety for his activism, which involved organizing the Coalition to Free Clarence Brandley, a multiracial and ecumenical alliance of Houstonians that successfully galvanized international support for Brandley’s release. Brandley was falsely accused of murder and sentenced to death row yet after serving a decade of his life in Huntsville, he was finally exonerated in 1990. “I believe having the opportunity to serve in a capacity that actually helped save a human being’s life is the most significant contribution anyone can make,” says Boney. Boney’s activism was depicted in the Showtime movie, “Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story,” which starred Eamonn Walker as Boney.”
In 1995, Boney was elected to Houston City Council District D and served three consecutive terms until 2001. As a member of City Council, he was widely recognized for building consensuses between various constituencies around public policy issues and strong leadership on fiscal issues. He served on every committee that held oversight of major fiscal operations for the City of Houston and chaired several, including Regional Planning, which oversaw the financing of Houston’s Downtown Convention Center Hotel, Housing and Community Development, the Sub-Committee of International Trade in Africa and the Caribbean and the Ad Hoc Committee on Election Procedures and Voting Systems.
Following Boney’s tenure on City Council, he was appointed Associate Director of the Mickey Leland Center on World Hunger and Peace at Texas Southern University. There he administered the Center’s widely acclaimed leadership development programs, including the Texas Legislative Internship (Sponsored by Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis), the Mickey Leland Congressional Internship and the Mickey Leland International Enhancement Program, a Study Abroad program that enabled more than 200 TSU students to travel to locations as diverse as the Hague, Switzerland, Brazil, England, Thailand, South Africa, Tanzania and Zanzibar. Under Boney’s leadership, the Mickey Leland Archives were restored, digitally preserved and made available to the public for the first time.
Jew Don Boney is the son of late educators Dr. J Don Boney of Calvert TX and Clara Bernice Payne of Houston. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and M.A. in Communications from Texas Southern University and an Executive Masters of Public Administration from TSU’s Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. He is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum. Jew Don is the father of three adult children: Jew Don (III), Ebony Nicole (Nikki) and Jewetta Bernice (Precious). He is married to Dorca Medina, a first generation Dominican American and native of New York City. In their spare time, the couple enjoys traveling and collecting art, as well as spending time with family and friends.
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