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Diversity and Inclusion at Alamo Colleges

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By: Jose Macias Jr., D2, ACCD,

When people say things like the “system is broken” or “everything is fixed” – what they are really saying is that they have little faith or trust in the system. Instances of corruption, oppression, and a lack of accountability over the decades, have done little to restore confidence in government. Government seems to benefit those “who have” verse those “who have not.”

I have been addressing this issue for over ten years as an elected official. I won my first election in 2010 due to the climate of distrust in Judson ISD over a bond package that was mismanaged. A stadium renovation project that voters approved for 4 million dollars ballooned to over 10 million dollars. The construction company said that operational cost had increased since the bid as justification for the increase. It is something I never believed.

Anger in the community was off the charts, and as I began my work in trying to understand the process, I began to understand how the “system” was built. I also understood how linked bond and construction projects were directly tied to the classroom and to student success. Poor facilities meant that our students were not getting the very best environment to learn, and taxpayers were not getting what they paid for. As a school board member, I had to be diligent about understanding our construction strategies just as much as I had to be about our curriculum, teacher retention, and support programs.

In my role serving District 2, I can apply that experience to helping Alamo Colleges grow even stronger. Since it is all about student success, it is imperative we build an efficient system. During my first 100 days in office, I met with many minority business owners in D2 and asked them about their experiences in doing work for Alamo Colleges. Many of the responses were not kind. There was an overwhelming sentiment that we were not being inclusive of small minority businesses.

I recognized immediately the significance of this disconnect, and I committed then to help my district. I reached out to the Alamo Black Chamber of Commerce, The Hispanic Contracting Coalition, and the Fair Contracting Coalition (FCC) and began significant dialogue about creating inroads to greater inclusion of small minority businesses at Alamo Colleges.

Many hours and countless conversations have taken place across District 2 in preparing to take next steps to increase diversity and inclusion practices at Alamo Colleges. It is critical that our business partners reflect our community, and just as important that our tax dollars benefit businesses operating in our community as well.

Our data does reflect a strong record of utilizing minority businesses at Alamo Colleges, but our current course has not bridged the disconnect felt by a large group of minority business owners. With some modifications in our strategies and policies, we can bridge that disconnect.

The issue of diversity and inclusion is something that I know is important to my constituency, and if it is important to those I represent, then it is important to me. After all, the core of representative governance strongly implies that you must “Represent” and “Fight” for the community you serve. That is what I call “Truth.”

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Free Fruit Tree Adoption Event

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Parks and Recreation Department Hosts Drive Thru Jammin’ Jams Fruit Tree Adoption Event & Debuts New Tree Mascot

SAN ANTONIO, TX (March 3, 2021) – San Antonio Parks and Recreation presents Jammin’ Jams (South), a free, drive thru fruit tree adoption event on Saturday, March 6 at Texas A&M University – San Antonio (One University Way) from 8 a.m. until Noon or while supplies last. Six hundred (600) fruit trees will be available including apple, fig, lemon, lime, nectarine, orange, and pear. Quantities are limited and are first come, first serve. One tree available per car. 

The Department’s new tree mascot, Parker, will make its debut at Jammin’ Jams. Parker is a Texas Red Oak, a native Texas tree, who will be on hand to greet and entertain visitors while helping adopt out fruit trees to San Antonio neighbors.

“While we’ve had to pivot on our service delivery throughout the year due to the pandemic, we’re excited to bring Jammin’ Jams to our neighbors in a new way. We’ve expanded locations and included additional dates to offer residents more opportunities to adopt a fruit tree this season,” said Homer Garcia III, Director of Parks and Recreation. All trees are provided by the Parks and Recreation Department through the Tree Canopy Preservation & Mitigation Fund. This is one of three drive thru fruit tree adoption events scheduled. 

Details:

Jammin’ Jams (South) – March 6
8 a.m. – Noon or while supplies last

Texas A&M University – San Antonio

Directions:

Jammin’ Jams (South) is at Texas A&M University – San Antonio located at One University Way, San Antonio 78224. Use the S. Zarzamora Street entrance to Jaguar Parkway. The tree adoption will be in Parking Lot 3.  

Save the Date
Jammin’ Jams (East) – March 20

8 a.m. – Noon or while supplies last

Wheatley Heights Sports Complex
(200 Noblewood Drive, Parking Lot)

Safety Protocols
For the safety of patrons and team members, this year’s events are drive thru only. Patrons will need to remain inside their cars and wear a mask when interacting with Parks and Recreation team members. No walk-ups will be allowed. Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who has been exposed to COVID-19.

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Slipping Out of Darkness

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Now that we’ve thawed out a bit and temperatures have been warmer and closer to average, maybe we can return to some normalcy. However, around this time last week countless individuals and families had taken in the exquisite views of measurable snow in San Antonio, a rare scene for locals since 1985 and a very first for others. There were plenty of snowball fights, constructed snowmen and snowwomen that stood out in front of yards along with a great deal of makeshift snow-surfing festivities that took place; all were a nice little mental and physical break from the harsh realities of our “new norms” in the age of Covid-19. Unfortunately, little did San Antonians and Texans know that this excitement was just a little “calm before the storm,” and like the remnants of Covid-19, we’ll be paying the price for the pleasure.

Things quickly took a turn for the worse by the evening of February 14, 2021. With record breaking temperatures in the forecast and potential snowfall, many rushed out to local grocery stores in an effort to shop for essential food and water in the event roads and stores would be closed. Shoppers arrived at stores having to wait in long lines only to discover semi-bare shelves and slim pickings of items to purchase because many heeded protocols and prepared home-cooked meals and celebrated their first socially distanced Valentine’s Day at home with loved ones. Adding insult to injury, thousands of San Antonians began experiencing the bitterness of frigid nights and temperatures that led to incredible snowfall amounts. Then what started as rolling electricity blackouts (typical in summer months in Texas) to protect and conserve the entire Texas power grid abruptly became a little more permanent for millions of residents across the city and the state. And as if sitting in the dark for hours and then days was not enough, it immediately became clear that loss of electricity would cause a hurdling domino effect of catastrophic events. CPS Energy, San Antonio’s municipal electric utility company shutting off of electricity started to trouble the city’s water supply because pumps that assist with water pressure and flow were disabled causing businesses and residents to experience low water pressure, and in far too many cases residents experienced having no water at all.

The historic 2021 winter storm nicknamed “SnowVid” really made its presence known. Major roads and highways closed, school districts canceled classes for the week, Covid-19 vaccinations were brought to a halt, basic essentials like food and water were scarce, and people were basically trapped in their homes ingesting a great amount of uncertainty. And now that power and water have been restored, pocketbooks and bank accounts will take another hit as business owners and citizens repair busted pipes, service vehicles, replenish food pantries, and most likely bear the burden of higher utility bills, etc. in an already bleak future.

According to reports ERCOT (The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc.) which operates Texas’s electrical grid and supplies power to more than 25 million Texas customers and represents 90% of the state’s electric load) says Texas was 4 minutes and 37 seconds from total blackout that could have lasted months. Undoubtedly, this storm will never be forgotten; the good, the bad and the ugly.  Kudos to all the essential workers who endured the storm to in an effort to keep us all safe, functional and informed.

Several resources are currently available to assist with recovery

The City of San Antonio, Bexar County and San Antonio Food Bank opened a total of 13 bottled water distribution sites that will remain open for two weeks. Residents will be able to pick up one case of bottled water per day per household. The sites will remain open through March 6.

Bottled Water Distribution Sites

  1. Wheatley Heights Sports Complex – 200 Noblewood Dr.
  2. Brooks – Challenger Dr. @ Research Place
  3. Texas A&M University – San Antonio – Main Campus – One University Way
  4. Port San Antonio – 907 Billy Mitchell Blvd
  5. SeaWorld San Antonio/Aquatica – 10500 Sea World Drive
  6. Six Flags Fiesta Texas – 17000 IH 10 West
  7. Food Bank – 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Pkwy  
  8. Our Lady of the Lake University — 411 SW 24th St
  9. Community Bible Church – 2477 N Loop 1604 E
  10. Heroes Stadium – 4799 Thousand Oaks Dr.
  11. Rolling Oaks Mall — 6909 N Loop 1604 E
  12. Bullis County Park – 27583 Old Blanco Rd
  13. Julius Matthey Middle School – 20350 Red Forest Ln

The locations were selected to be within the closest proximity to areas that are still facing water outages. 

The City will also provide bottled water delivery to homebound seniors, San Antonio Housing Authority properties without water, nursing homes, boarding homes, some dialysis facilities and residents with medical needs. These locations have been identified and coordinated with partner agencies. Delivery availability is limited but can be requested by calling 311.  

The sites will abide by COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. 

For more information or to receive the latest weather information from the city of San Antonio and Bexar County.

  1. Download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores
  2. Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates
  3. Follow @COSAGOV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  4. Bookmark www.sanantonio.gov
  5. Follow other partner agencies on social media:
    1. SAPD: https://twitter.com/SATXPolice
    2. SAFD: https://twitter.com/SATXFire
    3. Bexar County:  https://www.facebook.com/BexarCountyTX
    4. TxDOT San Antonio: https://twitter.com/TxDOTSanAntonio
    5. CPS Energy: https://twitter.com/cpsenergy
    6. SAWS: https://twitter.com/MySAWS
    7. VIA Metropolitan Transit: https://twitter.com/VIA_Transit
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City of San Antonio creates text alert notification for COVID-19 vaccine availability

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Residents can text Vaccine to 55000 or Vacuna to 55000 to sign up for alerts

The City of San Antonio has partnered with some of the Bexar County vaccine distribution sites to create a vaccine availability text alert system to keep the community informed about the release of more COVID-19 vaccines. Residents who wish to receive updates about COVID-19 vaccination availability can now sign up to receive text notifications directly to their cell phone.  

As more providers and pharmacies are allocated vaccines from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the City wanted to create a tool that would alert the public when COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available. The City of San Antonio will collaborate with local vaccine sites that are open to the public and send a text notification to also reach those without internet access. Metro Health community health workers, partner agencies, and 311 will continue to sign up residents who do not have a cell phone or access to the internet.

Individuals who decide to opt-in, can text VACCINE to 55000 or in SpanishVACUNA to 55000 starting today. By signing up they will receive a text notifying them which locations have available appointments. Opting in to this text alert system will not sign you up for a vaccine or add you on to a wait list. This is an additional method to inform the community when new appointments are available.

In March 2020, the City of San Antonio had approximately 1,500 subscribers to its text message alert program. Throughout the pandemic, the service has been promoted through more avenues, including the Mayor’s nightly briefings. More than 40,000 subscribers now utilize the service to receive City news and information.

For more information please visit covid19.sanantonio.gov. 

FOUR WAYS TO SIGN UP FOR COVID-19 ALERTS

  1. Download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores
  2. Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates
  3. Follow @COSAGOV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  4. Bookmark covid19.sanantonio.gov

Public service announcements on social distancing, prevention and testing are available here.

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