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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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“Councilman Joe Webb Day” in SA

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The family of Joe Webb, Sr. received a Proclamation from the County and is inviting the community to come out to celebrate “Councilman Joe Webb Day” Sunday, September 18, 2022. There will be a balloon release in honor of his legacy and first year of his death. The celebration will take place at the Joe Webb Bridge at 2:00 p.m.

Former City Councilman Joe Webb was a man of firsts. He was the first African American Manager of an HEB store; he managed Store #7 on New Braunfels Ave. for many years and then worked his way up to Store Director for different areas within the city of San Antonio. Webb eventually opened up his own full-service store called WebbWay on the city’s Eastside. Webb was also the longest serving councilman for District 2. He was elected in 1977 and served in that position until 1991.

At the age of 86, Joe Webb, Sr. passed last year following complications from kidney failure. Webb was a pastor and a devote servant of the Lord. For those who didn’t know him he was also known for his melodious baritone voice.

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Community

The 39th Annual Jazz’SAlive

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SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The City of San Antonio’s Official Jazz Music Festival is ensuring Jazz Is Alive in San Antonio! The San Antonio Parks Foundation, in partnership with The City of San Antonio and Michelob Ultra, present the 39th Annual Jazz’SAlive Festival on September 23 and 24 in downtown San Antonio. In addition to stages in historic Travis Park, for the second consecutive year, festival organizers will program a stage at Legacy Park. The San Antonio Parks Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization providing improvements to parks and the park experience to the area’s 250+ parks and over 150 miles of walking and biking trails.

Jazz’SAlive General Admission is free, all ages, and open to the public! No outside food or beverage is allowed. Tickets are available for premium seating and VIP areas.

Jazz’SAlive offers a limited number of premium Patron Seats at the main stage for those who want to upgrade their viewing experience and leave the lawn chairs at home. Patron Seats are sold as single-day tickets. Fans who wish to have a Patron Seat on both Friday and Saturday will need to purchase a ticket for each day. Each ticket includes 1 priority seat the main stage in Travis Park with access to a cash bar and cocktail service.

For more information visit https://saparksfoundation.org/event/jazzsalive/,

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Art

Introducing Labor Plaza – A Public Art Tribute to the Labor Movement in San Antonio

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DOWNTOWN PLAZA FEATURES SCULPTURES, POETRY AND VISUAL ARTS THAT WILL EDUCATE AND INSPIRE VISITORS.

SAN ANTONIO (September 2, 2022) – The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture invites the community to visit the newly completed Labor Plaza, which highlights the contributions of the labor movement and labor leaders in San Antonio and the United States. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg will be on-site for the official ribbon cutting ceremony which will be held on Monday, September 5, 2022 at 11:45 a.m.

Located in the River Walk Public Art Garden on Market Street across from the Henry B. González Convention Center, Labor Plaza is located in a space that was originally home to a sculpture of labor leader Samuel Gompers, created in 1982 by Betty Jean Alden. Due to irreparable structural damage caused by time and weather elements, the sculpture had to be decommissioned and deinstalled. The Department of Arts & Culture collaborated with American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) on a contemporary way to replace the sculpture and continue to recognize labor, civil rights and social justice in San Antonio in the space.

“Labor Plaza is a tribute to the contributions and sacrifices of labor leaders throughout the history of San Antonio,” said Department of Arts & Culture Executive Director Krystal Jones. “We hope that the community will find this space to be engaging, inspiring and educational as we commemorate the labor movement from the past to the present.”

Visitors to Labor Plaza will find etchings and visual artworks embedded throughout the plaza including a poem titled So that Our Crossing May Never be Obstructed and five artworks by Octavio Quintanilla, San Antonio Poet Laureate 2018 – 2020; an excerpt from labor anthem Solidarity Forever written by Ralph Chaplin in 1915; and biography etchings recognizing eight notable San Antonio labor figures. Influential leaders, who are honored at the space, include Emma Tenayuca, Hank Brown, Rebecca Flores, Joan Suarez, Robert Thompson, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Mario Marcel Salas, Samuel Gompers and Shelley Potter.

In addition, a sculptural series titled I Remember Everything by Washington-based artist Ries Niemi is installed within the plaza. The Department of Arts & Culture worked with San Antonio landscape architect firm Terra Design Group to craft the layout of the space to inspire learning and reflection on labor in San Antonio.

Linda Chavez-Thompson was the first Hispanic woman to serve as an Executive Board member of the National AFL-CIO in 1993 and then elected to a newly created position of Executive Vice-President of the National AFL-CIO in 1995. She served in office thru 2007, when she retired and came back home to San Antonio.  “We are grateful to the City of San Antonio for recognizing the hard-fought efforts and accomplishments of the local labor movement through this beautiful Labor Plaza,” said Chavez-Thompson. “Personally, it is an honor to be included alongside such influential labor leaders, who have all had a tremendous impact on the labor movement so that working people today have better wages and working condition and workers’ rights.” 

Labor Plaza is part of the River Walk Public Art Garden, which functions as an outdoor public art exhibition featuring works from San Antonio and international artists. Some artworks by San Antonio artists also featured here include  “Bloom” by Leticia Huerta, “Green Spaces at Market Street” by Cade Bradshaw and Ashley Mireles, “Spheres of Reflection” by Kaldric Dow and “Najo Jām” by Carlos Cortés and Doroteo Garza.

For more information about Labor Plaza, the River Walk Public Art Garden and the Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Program, visit SanAntonio.gov/arts or follow the Department of Arts & Culture on social media at @GetCreativeSA.

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