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Top 11 Misconceptions Many African Americans Have About Coronavirus

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Nationwide — Coronavirus, also known scientifically as COVID-19, has been a global nightmare. One by one, the virus has infiltrated nearly every country and about 10% of those who have contracted the virus have died. Sadly, there are many African Americans who still don’t fully understand what the virus is, and how to prevent it.

Here are the top 10 most common misconceptions that many in the Black community have:

#1 – Black People Can’t Get It: This is simply not true. To date, at least three African American NBA players have contracted the virus. In addition, several African nations including Rwanda, Nigeria, and Kenya have all reported individuals who have tested positive for the viral. Therefore, Black people are not immune to the virus.

#2 – Vodka Kills the Virus: Most vodka brands are only 40 percent alcohol, and that is not high enough to effectively kill microbes. The CDC recommends using handsaniter that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

#3 – You Need Health Insurance to Be Tested: Definitely not true. The U.S. government has mandated free testing to all individuals who have the symptoms of Coronavirus. All hospitals are required to comply, but not all hospitals may have enough test kits. In addition, there may be a long waiting line to get tested.

#3 – You Should Call 911 If You Have the Symptoms: Unless you are suffering from an immediate life-threatening emergency, you should not call 911. You should, however, call your doctor and/or visit your local hospital’s emergency room if you are not feeling well. Those who have questions or confusion about the virus can also visit CoronaVirusHelpline.org or call the toll-free Coronavirus Helpline at (888) 581-5029 for more information.

#4 – The Flu is More Dangerous: This also is not true. Although it is true that last year more than 60,000 people died from the flu. The Coronavirus has been proven to be more contagious, more deadly, and also more misunderstand. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than 1% of people who typically contract the flu die from it, but so far, about 3.4% of those who have contracted Coronavirus have died.

#6 – You Must Have Multiple Symptoms: This also is not correct. Many individuals who have tested positive for the Coronavirus have only been found to have just one of the major symptoms. According to the Washington State Dept of Health, those symptoms are shortness of breath, cough OR fever.

#7 – Only Elderly People Die From It: While it is true that people age 60 and over are more likely to contract and die from the virus, younger people must also exercise plenty of caution. The truth is that many patients that are age 22-59 are also being affected. South Korea reported 2,718 cases among patients under the age of 30.

#8 – All Chinese People Have the Coronavirus: Again, not true. It is true that the virus originated in China, but this does not mean that all Chinese people are infected nor does it justify any type of racial discrimination against people from China or Chinese-owned businesses. Remember that many Chinese Americans have never even been to China.

#9 – There is a Cure: Currently, there is no cure or medical treatment available for those who contract the virus. Depending on the location, if a person tests positive for the virus, he or she will be quarantined and/or sent home and encouraged to self-quarantine. Drinking plenty of water, eating healthy foods with high nutrients, and taking immune-building vitamins are encouraged.

#10 – You Should Stock Up on Water and Toilet Tissue: No government agency has ever made this suggestion. This is a panic reaction from the general population. The truth is that by being inside a grocery store or big box retailer trying to hoard items like this, you are only increasing the chances of being exposed to someone who could be infected and may not even know it.

#11 – All Travel Has Been Banned: As of March 16, 2020, no type of domestic travel has been restricted. However, the U.S. government has initiated several international travel bans to many countries in Asia and Europe. Most of these travel bans, however, do not affect American citizens but affect non-U.S. citizens.

Those with more questions about the virus are encouraged to visit CoronaVirusHelpline.org or call the toll-free Coronavirus Helpline at (888) 581-5029 for more information.

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Principal Change At Sam Houston H.S.

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By LaNell Taylor

Some may call it déjà vu, but unfortunately the situation is not rumored but rather it is true. The leadership at Sam Houston High School is changing once again.  Last, week an article was published in a local newspaper and much chatter took place via social media that Dr. Mateen Diop, Principal at Sam Houston High School would no longer serve as the school’s principal at the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year. The announcement came as a surprise to some while others applauded the SAISD board’s decision.  It is believed that the decision was solidified following the class valedictorian’s graduation speech that vilified the school, Dr. Diop and his administrative team.

Not much has been shared from either party (SAISD nor Dr. Diop); however, SAISD Board of Trustee Alicia Perry did offer the following statement:

We will have a change in leadership at Sam Houston High School next school year. These changes are always made with students in mind and their best interests at heart. We value the community and will ensure that stakeholder input is considered as we search for a new leader. We will strive hard to ensure that the campus moves in a positive direction. We take the concerns of our students seriously and we want to ensure that they have a successful learning environment. District Administration will review the concerns in an effort to ensure that they are addressed appropriately.” 

As an alumna of Sam Houston High School in the San Antonio Independent School District, a former teacher of the school, a parent of a Sam Houston athlete, a tax payer in the District, I personally know that the stability of leadership at Sam Houston H.S. has been on shaky ground for at least almost two decades now.  When I taught there from 2001-2006 we had 5 principals (Donald McClure, Joanne Cockrell, John Simpson, Joanne Cockrell again, and Melanie Iglehart – Hammonds) in the five years that I was there and unfortunately that cycle of the forever changing leadership hasn’t changed much since then; therefore, making it a very systemic problem and not good for kids.

Again, not many details have been released as to why this current principal change has occurred, but for many outsiders looking in, we are in an awaken state of looking at the systematic failures of organizations and institutions that have failed Blacks (particularly Black men).  I just believe folks need to make sure history isn’t repeating itself.  In speaking to other individuals, a former principal, mentor, and friends of mine, it was expressed that if I were to dig deeper I would probably uncover evidence of suppression of Black men in SAISD. Immediately in my mind I reflected back to the likes of Mr. Donald McClure; Mr. Everett Fuller; Mr. Charles James; Mr. Lewis Barr; Mr. John Simpson; Mr. Derrick Cade; Mr. Darnell White; Mr. Stanton Lawrence; and Dr. Mateen Diop and wondered what adversities they may have faced within the system.

To all who have walked in the shoes of educators they know “Teaching Ain’t Easy” and sometimes it is not for everyone. Again, I am not defending nor agreeing with anyone on the matter; however, I know that “Great Leaders” are important, but no one leader should EVER stop a show. If ALL parties (parents, students, community, principals, administrators, board members, stakeholders, etc.) TAKE RESPONSIBILITY and are doing their part within an institution, despite the efforts of whomever the principal is, SUCCESS WILL PREVAIL! I’m part of that proof. As I mentioned earlier, I taught at Sam Houston H.S. when we had 5 principals in five years; however, as a campus we were still able to perform and on some occasions even outperform other schools in and out of the District to include areas of academics, athletics, graduating children., etc.

People should also consider that in most school systems today, most principals don’t run campuses like the days of old. Administrators, Vice Principals, Assistant Principals, Academic Deans, Counselors, etc. are the day to day faces we encounter because principals are like CEOs, they are often required to attend meetings and trainings at the District office, on and off campus, in the community, out of the city and state, perform classroom and campus walkthoughs, manage construction, manage budgets, and lets not forget those infamous “other duties as assigned.” I say all that to say that it should not be a surprise that at many campuses individuals are confused as to who is running the campus.

In closing, I’d like to note that when I worked at other schools in SAISD principal turnovers were just as frequent then as they are today, and I never understood how that was good for kids. Much can be said about schools that have or had consistency in leadership.  Shouts out to Mr. Charles Muñoz former Principal at Edison H.S. who served for two decades or more; Ms. Raquel Sosa, former Principal, Highland Hills Elementary in the 80s, and two of my current favorite principals Mrs. Natasha Pinnix of M.L. King Academy and Dr. Derrick Thomas of St. Philip’s Early College High School. Much can be said for their leadership and track records.

I challenge all to look at ALL the data in order to make best decisions.  And please let the good outweigh the bad.

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SAPD Chief’s Termination of Officer Matthew Luckhurst upheld

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Officer Matthew Luckhurst (SBG Photo)

On Friday, June 19, 2020, an arbitrator upheld San Antonio Police Chief William McManus’ second termination of former SAPD Officer Matthew Luckhurst. The former police officer was initially fired, or indefinitely suspended, for placing a feces sandwich in a food container and giving it to a homeless man. However, Luckhurst appealed to an arbitrator, and under a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with police union, he was reinstated by claiming that the incident occurred more than 180 days before the suspension was issued.

Luckhurst received a second suspension for a separate incident when he purposely failed to flush feces in the toilet in the Downtown Bike Patrol women’s restroom. On the same occasion, he spread a brown tapioca-like substance on the toilet seat to give the appearance of feces. By his own admission, he took these actions because a female officer had placed a sign in the room requesting that it be kept clean. Hearing Examiner Thomas Cipolla found that Chief McManus’ decision to terminate Luckhurst’s employment was warranted due to the egregious nature of Luckhurst’s conduct aimed at women.

“This individual clearly has no business wearing an SAPD uniform, and it should never have been this hard to fire him,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “I am pleased that this is behind us, but the contract provision that gave him more chances than he deserved remains an obstacle to the Chief’s ability to discipline officers who fail to live up to SAPD’s standards.” “The vast majority of our officers respect their oaths to serve the community, and they resent it when individuals like Luckhurst discredit the badge,” said Chief McManus. “For both the department and the community, it was critically important that he not be allowed to have his job back. Although the limits imposed on me by the Collective Bargaining Agreement made firing him more difficult than it should have been, justice was finally served in this case.”

San Antonio: America’s 21st Century City
San Antonio is a global city with a dynamic economy and workforce, deep cultural heritage and diverse communities that are resilient and welcoming. It is one of the strongest fiscally managed cities in the country, nurturing entrepreneurship, encouraging investment and funding infrastructure. America’s seventh-largest city offers a vibrant business climate and growth opportunities in bioscience, financial services, aerospace, cyber security, energy, transportation, manufacturing and healthcare. In 2015, UNESCO designated San Antonio’s 18th century Spanish colonial missions as a World Heritage Site – the first in Texas. Proudly called Military City, USAR, San Antonio is home to one of the largest populations of active duty military, veterans and crucial military commands. For more information, visitwww.sanantonio.gov<http://www.sanantonio.gov>.

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2020 Fire Chief of the Year

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Congratulations are in order for San Antonio’s very own, Chief Charles N. Hood on being named 2020 Fire Chief of the Year.  This National Award from the Metro Fire Chiefs Association is well deserved.

Chief Hood has served the City of San Antonio since 2007, and is well recognized for being the First African American to oversee the local fire department.

Chief Hood leads one of the largest fire departments in the nation, commanding approximately 1800 personnel with a budget of over 292 million dollars. He is ultimately responsible for providing fire, emergency medical, special operations, and emergency management and fire prevention to over 1.4 million citizens.

Chief Hood joined the City of Phoenix Fire Department in 1984 where he rose through the ranks. Chief Hood was a member of the Phoenix Fire Department’s Urban Search & Rescue team and FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue’s National Incident Support Team. National responses include the 2004 Winter Olympics, Democratic National Convention, The Rodeo Fire and Challenger Space Shuttle incident and most recently served as the Liaison Officer with the City of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Chief Hood’s progressive leadership style and vision has resulted in many achievements. The SAFD is responsible for over 310,000 Unit Responses per year. Since joining the SAFD, Chief Hood has doubled the size of both the HAZMAT and Technical Rescue Teams. In 2010, Chief Hood established a Health & Wellness Program and recently added a Certified Athletic Trainer. In addition, Chief Hood has collaborated to establish a Fusion Center; created a Safety Division, and Fitness Program which includes becoming an official CrossFit Affiliate. In 2015 Chief Hood launched a Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program which represents one of the most progressive evolutions in the delivery of community based care. In an effort to improve department communication, he implemented an annual State of the Department Address presented to all uniform and civilian employees.

EDUCATION

Chief Hood holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Service Management from the University of Ottawa and has attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education. He is an Adjunct Faculty at Texas A&M University National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center.

In 2010, Chief Hood was the recipient of the Metro Fire Chief of the Year presented by the members of the Black Chief Officer’s Committee, IABPFF. In 2014, the Fire Administrator of the United States Fire Administration appointed Chief Hood to the Board of Directors of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for a six-year term.

PERSONAL

An Arizona native, Hood is the proud father of four sons, Tevin, Jaxon, Langston and Sheridan.

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