Mr. Speaker, what do a university teacher and a star hip-hop artist have in common? They both care deeply for a young girl named Bella.
Giving back to others comes naturally to Bernada Baker. As a faculty member at Texas Southern University, she shapes and molds her students, encouraging them to think ‘‘outside the box’’ not only about their academic work but also about their professional and personal lives.
She is the founder of the Princess Within, a foundation dedicated to empowering young women and giving them the tools necessary to believe in themselves and achieve success as professionals, students, and friends. But her latest act of generosity tops all of her previous charity.
The devastation of Hurricane Harvey rendered Bella, an innocent infant, and her father homeless after the terrible storm swept away the car that had been serving as their living space. Desperate for help, her father put out a plea on social media for aid in caring for his young daughter.
Baker happened to see his post and volunteered to help babysit the infant. She reached out to some of her friends and managed to raise a modest sum of money to purchase some clothes and crib for her.
She was, as she said, ‘‘just trying to help.’’ Baker eventually took Bella into her home as her father began to search for employment. As the days passed by, Baker grew to love the young girl and eventually found that she wanted to adopt her to be her own daughter.
Bella’s father agreed—it was in his daughter’s best interest for her to be under Baker’s care and thus consented to transfer his parental rights. The adoption process is long and expensive, and Baker found it difficult to raise the money required to officially bring Bella into her family.
Cue Paul Slayton, better known by his stage name Paul Wall as one of the most renowned hip-hop artists to come out of Houston. He heard about Baker and Bella, and he thought back to the kindness shown to him by his stepfather growing up, who decided to adopt him after his biological father rejected him.
Thus, he decided to come to Baker and Bella’s aid. In conjunction with Cricket Wireless’s foundation, Cricket Cares, he surprised Baker with several gifts for Bella and a check for $5,000 to help her pay to complete the adoption process.
Mr. Speaker, the largesse of Bernada Baker and Paul Wall is an exceptional demonstration of the Golden Rule, and their kindness and love for Bella help make America the great country that it is today.
And that is just the way it is.