KVUE Highlights Black History Month: Celebrating Local Leaders and Innovators in the Austin Area

Updated: Apr 24

February is Black History Month. All month long, local KVUE news staff has highlighted black leaders and innovators making a difference in our community.

See the full article at KVUE.

Brenda P. Kennedy

Brenda P. Kennedy serves as judge of the 403rd Judicial District Court and as the Presiding Judge of the Travis County Criminal Courts. In 1982, she became the first African-American female assistant district attorney in Travis County. In 1988, she became the first African-American elected in a contested county-wide election and continues to preside over the Youthful Offender Program for felony offenders ages 17 to 25.

Rick Garrett

Rick Garrett is a local entrepreneur with ownership in TES Holdings. Garrett's work focuses on diversity in hiring practices for mid-sized and large employers across the country. He also brings healthy restaurants and concessions to traditional street-side locations as well as non-traditional locations such as ABIA. He serves on the board for RBI Austin, a non-profit that focuses on inner-city Austin youth engagement through athletics, academics, and spirituality.

Joel G. Baker

Appointed by Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk as Fire Chief of the Austin Fire Department in December 2018, Atlanta native Joel G. Baker began his professional fire service career with the City of East Point Fire Department (Georgia) in 1986. In 1988, he joined the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, rising through the ranks to Fire Chief, a rank he held until his retirement in February 2018 after 30 years of service. Chief Baker holds several degrees, including an Associate of Applied Sciences in Fire Science Technology, a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources and Policy Studies from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and a Master of Public Administration from Columbus State University; he is also a graduate of Harvard University’s Senior Executive Education in State and Local Government program. Chief Baker’s commitment to the fire service and the citizens he serves has garnered him numerous recognitions from various public and private organizations throughout his career. Joi Chevalier