Achievements & Awards


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Champion of Justice, 2010
AARP Legislative Achievement Award, 2009
Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas James Madison Award, 2009
Honored by National Women’s Political Caucus for a lifetime of service, 2007
University of Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2005
Frederick Douglass Equal Justice Award in Washington D.C., 2004
Houston Metropolitan Award, 2002
Texas Monthly Magazine “Ten Best Legislators” Awards, 2001
Small Business United of Texas Christopher Scott Award for Legislative Leadership, 1999
Texas Child Care Organization – Legislator of the Year Award, 1997


Member, American Red Cross
Board of Directors, Center for Policy Alternatives
Member, Houston Bar Association
Houston Lawyers Association
Chair, Board of Directors, Innocence Project
Member, National Association of Securities Dealers
Member, University of Texas Law School Foundation Board
Member, Board of Directors of LBJ Foundation
Member, Board of Directors, Utley Foundation
Member, American Bar Association, 1979-present
Member, National Bar Association, 1979-present
Member, Texas Bar Association, 1979-present
Board Member, Alliance for Digital Equality
Member, Board of Directors, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Chair, Innocence Project, Incorporated of New York
Founder, Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP)

Caucuses/Non-Legislative Committees

Energy Council
Member, National Commission on Energy Policy
Co-Chair, Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate Change, and the Environment
Member, Council on Foreign Relations
National Commission on Energy Policy
Director, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People