About Us

Our History - Our Journey

From a meeting of two community members and a Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD) staff member at a local restaurant, to the DRAFT of an Affiliate Agreement with FBISD for the Sugar Land 95 Memorial Project, here is how it happened:

On September 15, 2022, a community leader requested a meeting to discuss the status of FBISD’s Sugar Land 95 Memorialization Project; the FBISD staff member was to provide first hand background information. The community leader requested a list of community organizations previously involved in the SL95 Project, which was provided later that day.

On September 30, 2022, the first Convict Leasing Task Force meeting took place with 5 community members present. The task was to establish a clear mission; establish a local, state and national advocacy agenda; share convict leasing community education responsibility; recruit or establish a new 501(c)(3), non-profit organization to partner with FBISD and appoint a liaison to meet with FBISD and the architectural firm, MASS Design Group.

It was determined that the Task Force would revisit forming a 501(c)(3) in 4-6 months, but continue seeking to identify and establish 501(c)(3) nonprofit partnership(s) on behalf of FBISD. The Task Force Chair informed the members about stepping down at the beginning of 2023.  In January, 2023, the Task Force was renamed, “Forced Labor Justice Coalition of Fort Bend” (FLJC), in addition to the Task Force mission, our task was to recruit new members and increase engagement of African American students at SL95 events hosted by FBISD.

Prior to moving on, the Chair requested that the FLJC host a Candlelight Vigil at James Reese Center in conjunction with FBISD’s Sugar Land 95 Discovery Day in February, 2023;  the Vigil was held, which included songs, music, poetry, a speech and a Call to Action.  

In March, 2023, FLJC members participated in a SL95 Stewardship meeting hosted by the Missouri City and Vicinity NAACP for local organizations interested in the SL95 Project.  This meeting reignited FLJC's pursuit of working with FBISD on the Memorial Project and in April, re-grouped with a new name, "Friends of the Sugar Land 95" (FOSL95).  

The first Friends of the Sugar Land 95 meeting was held June 16, 2023 and Executive Officers were selected as follows:  

Since there were no other community organizations partnering with FBISD, FOSL95 voted to seek nonprofit status with the State of Texas and 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt designation with the IRS. 

On June 21, 2023, an introduction letter from the FOSL95 was sent to FBISD Superintendent Dr. Christie Whitbeck, seeking to partner with FBISD’s SL95 Memorial Project. Dr. Whitbeck responded and was excited about the opportunity to work together. In August, 2023, members of FOSL95 met with Chief of Communications Kim Smith, with Dr. Whitbeck and later with FBISD Board Chair Judy Dae to discuss a partnership with FBISD.

On September 7, 2023, FOSL95 was informed of the DRAFT of an Affiliate Agreement to partner with FBISD on the Sugar Land 95 Memorial Project. Once the Agreement is received, reviewed and signed by both parties, Friends of the Sugar Land 95 will be the only community partner that will have signed an Agreement and at that point, making it the Official Partner of the Sugar Land 95 Memorial Project.