Downtown SA Lights Up for the Holidays
Downtown San Antonio will sparkle this holiday season with an array of lights and holiday events.
Set against the backdrop of one of the city’s most historic and charming walkways, five blocks of Houston Street will buzz with twinkling lights, decorations, entertainers, and vendors from Nov. 24 and runs through January 2.
Additionally, on Nov. 24, kick off the holiday festivities with the Annual H-E-B Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Travis Park. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. and include live entertainment, food trucks, letters to Santa, giveaways, holiday crafts, a special visit from Santa, and a movie screening of “The Grinch.” The tree-lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m., followed by the movie at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Get front-row seats to the 42nd Annual Ford Holiday River Parade, which offers a spectacular one-hour parade along the San Antonio River Walk starting at 6 pm at the Tobin Center. This year’s theme, “Holiday Stories,” will kick off the San Antonio tradition. Always held the day after Thanksgiving, the parade and river lighting ceremony will feature 28 illuminated floats and over 100,000 lights (2,250 strands) illuminating the River Walk. The lights turn on from sundown to sunrise every day until the weekend following New Year’s Day. Seating ranges from $15 to $40. It is broadcast live at 7 p.m. at the Arneson River Theatre.
The Rotary Ice Rink, presented by Valero, will also return this fall at Travis Park in downtown San Antonio. Since 2019, nearly 200,000 people have enjoyed the rink and surrounding festivities. For more information, including hours of operation, pricing, and specials, visit (rotaryicerink.com).
For more events, go to (VisitSanAntonio.com).
PepsiCo Fighting Food Insecurity at HBCUs
Almost 40% of HBCU students report being food insecure, a statistic that carries more weight as many campuses encounter record attendance rates this semester, according to data released this year from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study.
PepsiCo is announcing a $250,000 donation or $50,000 each to help fight food insecurity across five Historically Black Colleges and Universities or HBCUs. The campuses are Prairie View A&M University, Morgan State University, Florida A&M University, Jackson State University, and Bethune-Cookman University. This donation is part of PepsiCo’s larger HBCU Tour to celebrate, inspire and recruit HBCU students.
Tailored to each university’s needs, the donation from PepsiCo is designed to support each campus’s unique efforts to help students who struggle to balance the cost of their education and their next meal. With the rate of food insecurity among college students growing nationally, those at HBCUs are historically impacted the most.
Across the five campuses, the grants will support more than 37,500 students facing food insecurity by funding on-campus food pantry supplies and groceries, meal plans for homeless students, workshops for cooking and meal prep, stipends for student staff within the pantries, and more. In addition, PepsiCo will also supply free meals for approximately 2,000 students at select universities during their respective winter finals weeks in December.
“As a longtime supporter of HBCUs, PepsiCo has always aimed to help students thrive, both on campus and beyond. This year, our HBCU Tour continues to celebrate each universities’ rich culture and recognize the wealth of talent on campus while also addressing the barriers students can face in completing their education,” said Kent Montgomery, senior vice president of Industry Relations and Multicultural Development, PepsiCo. “Our donation to tackle food insecurity is another example of our commitment to empower students and ensure their success in every aspect of their educational journey.”
The funds will be distributed to Prairie View A&M University, Florida A&M University, Morgan State University, Jackson State University and Bethune-Cookman University during key university events throughout November, including the SWAC and Florida Classic games on November 18.
In addition to bringing authentic and engaging experiences to students and alumni this football season, they will also show up to support students throughout the semester with recruiting efforts, including on-campus events, intimate dinners highlighting local businesses, and the opportunity to engage with PepsiCo leadership– inspiring the next generation of diverse talent.
Black Men’s Health is on Fire
We see these phenomenal physical specimen on the football field, the basketball court, the track field, and on the baseball field performing fantastical feats and displaying tremendous levels of athleticism.
We have this image of the Black man and his physical superiority and uncanny athletic abilities in our heads. And then we see the numbers regarding Black men and premature deaths due to health complications. How can this be so, we ask? How can the images we see on television reconcile with what the medical doctors, scientists and medical journals are saying? The stark reality of life is that two things can be true at the same time.
Black men die earlier at a much higher rate than all other races. Period. We suffer from hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes at a much higher rates than every other demographic. And there are a multitude of reasons for this.
Let’s just admit it, our diets are horrible. On the whole, we eat an abundance of fried foods, and we consume copious amounts of pork, which is high in sodium. A lot of us grew up consuming these kinds of foods, because our parents grew up on these foods, because their parents grew up on these foods. These are the legacy diets of slavery, where Black folks were forced to eat the throw away parts of the animals that white people deemed undesirable. Pigs feet, ox tails, hog mogs, neck bones, etc… And while I’m not knocking anyone for their taste in cuisine, it is important to understand where our taste for these items come from. And perhaps it is time to revisit our consumption of some of these less than healthy food choices.
The other component of this equation is exercise. The simple fact is, Black men work, and we have to work harder than every other demographic to provide a similar lifestyle for our families. Statistics show that a Black college graduate and a white high school dropout have an equal amount of wealth and income in this country. We almost literally have to work ourselves to death to provide a standard of living equal to a white high school dropout. Who has time to drag themselves to a gym after working 40, 50, or sixty hours a week, and then rushing home to maintain the lawn, help with the kids, take the kids to football, basketball, karate, or baseball practice? And also, when was the last time you saw a Gold’ gym conveniently located in one of our neighborhoods? How about Planet Fitness? A Bally’s?
Of course we have to touch on the economics of eating healthy. Whole Foods is expensive folks, and when was the last time you saw one of them in our neighborhoods? We live in a time where soda is cheaper than water. Don’t believe me, go to the store and price out a two liter bottle of soda, and compare that price to a 20 ounce bottle of water. Prepare to be shocked. It’s cheaper to grab a 5 for 5 from Wendy’s, than to cook baked chicken, broccoli, and a baked potato at home.
So, let’s recap. Everything that I’ve said to you today can be traced back to one thing, legacy. A legacy of the food scraps we were given during slavery, a legacy of healthy food deserts in our communities, and legacy of economic and structural racism and discrimination. If only we had trust funds, or had been left generations of property and wealth, then maybe we wouldn’t have to work so hard and maybe then we could go to the gym or even afford to buy a home gym. And then there is the legacy of distrust of medical institutions (Can you say Tuskegee Experiment?), which is why Black men shun trips to the doctor for preventative care. And finally, there is the tremendous pressure and stress or being a Black man in this country. Being father’s of Black men, our stress levels go through the roof each time our sons walk out the front door. We don’t know if they will fall prey to police or to someone who looks like them.
We know the reasons why Black men’s health is worse than every other demographic in this country, but can we stop tip-toeing around and say the quiet part out loud? There is an economic component to it, and it stems from the legacy of racism and the centuries of structural impediments and the baggage that goes along with those things.
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