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80 Years And Counting

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Alamo City Ques at 80: Our Story

Written By: Jeremy Neal & Scott L. Earle, Sr.

November 1, 2020, will mark 80 years of service to the Alamo City by Psi Alpha Chapter.  In 1940, eight professional men from varied careers ranging from four educators, a dentist, a civil servant, a physician, and a businessman who had become members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated during their college years, decided that the time was right to form a Graduate Chapter here in the City of San Antonio. They were as young as 24 years of age to 49 years of age.  They all had attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) due to segregation in the United States at that time in history.  Some were raised in the city, some from the state of Texas, one from Georgia, and one from Virginia. After compiling all of the necessary information and paperwork and complying with the National Body’s Guidelines, the Local Chapter was chartered by the Supreme Council of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated on November 1, 1940, and given the name Psi Alpha. The Charter members were: Brothers Dr. W. V. Hurd DDS, S. D. Kane, Dr. M. L. Preacher, Joseph Paul Chretien, Ernest M. Foxx, Valmo Charles Bellinger, Dr. Richard Kidd, and G. P. Inge, Jr. Brother S.D. Kane was our first Basileus (president). 

These men were influential in the community and were known more for just bringing Omega Psi Phi to the Alamo City.  All eight men did a great deal in the City but three had a substantial impact. Brother Dr. Hurd, a WWI veteran, was much respected in his field and at the time as the only individual to serve as President of the Gulf State Dental Association of Texas twice, once in the 1940s and again in the late 1950s. He served as the past president of the Lone Star State Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association, and a former board member of the National Dentist Association. He also, chaired and was a member of various boards at the National Dentist Association. 

Brother G.P. Inge, Jr., a WWI veteran, was a believer in the philosophy of progressive education and served as principal of Phillis Wheatley High School from 1941 to 1963. During the 22 years as the leader of one of the largest segregated schools in the state, he graduated record numbers of students, and their sports teams dominated the states segregated schools in the Prairie View Interscholastic League, and they all knew they could compete with predominantly Anglo institutions. Brother Inge Jr. instituted the “No Pass No Play” rule for athletes during his tenure at the school before it was passed at the state level. 

Brother Valmo Charles Bellinger was a prominent businessman and political party boss who also was the editor of the San Antonio Register.  Founded by Valmo, the paper began printing in 1931, running without interruption for 47 years. Though its initial goal was preserving the political influence of Bellinger’s father, the paper later focused on local, state, and national news of specific concern to San Antonio’s African-American community. Valmo hired his future wife Josephine who assisted him in making the newspaper a success. Valmo donated an archive of the San Antonio Register to the University of Texas at San Antonio’s John Peace Library in 1979. The archive consisted of 22,000 issues and offered an almost complete run of issues from 1945 to 1978. If you ever have a chance to look over these archives, the Psi Alpha History coupled with the Black History of South Texas is remarkable. There are virtually no complete collections of black newspapers in the southwest and only two or three in the entire United States. Many of the articles written were published in Jet and Ebony magazines along with major newspapers reprinting the stories originating in the Register.

Currently, Psi Alpha Chapter has a total of 170 members. Psi Alpha Chapter’s Basileus, Brother Jimmie E. McMillion, has held this role for the past three years. “The Psi Alpha Chapter has been a pillar in the San Antonio community for 80 years. The Omega Men of Psi Alpha in San Antonio have been leaders in various occupations such as business, engineering, education, law, and medicine for many years,” McMillon stated. Our Psi Alpha Chapter historical note to mention is that in the late 1960s, Bro. Warren Eusan, WWII Army Air Corp and Tuskegee Airman Veteran, Theta Chapter ’39, was the driving force that brought the IHQ 47th Conclave to San Antonio which was the key focal point to break down discrimination in the San Antonio Area, becoming the first southern city to fully integrate. In the past years, the Psi Alpha Chapter has brought back a lot of IHQ recognition:

Brother Greg Thompson (Chairman of the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce): International Omega Man of the Year in the early 2000s

Brother Brandon Logan (Former President of the Rotary Club of San Antonio): IHQ Citizen of the Year in 2015

Brother Lionel Lyde: IHQ Colonel Charles Young Award Winner in 2017

Ms. Breanna Toney (Represented by Psi Alpha): Winner of the IHQ International Essay Contest in 2016

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated has 10 International Mandated Programs: Achievement Week, Scholarship, Social Action, Talent Hunt Program, Memorial Service, Reclamation and Retention, College Endowment Fund, Health Initiatives, Voter Registration Education & Mobilization, and NAACP. In the Omega Year, which runs from November-October; several of these programs have been key highlights in Psi Alpha Chapter for the 2019-2020 year.

Scholarship: The Psi Alpha Scholarship Foundation awarded a total of $32,300 in scholarships and grants. A total of 20 seniors in the San Antonio Area were awarded scholarships totaling $30,000.

Talent Hunt Program: Psi Alpha Chapter awarded $1500 in scholarships as Ms. Zora Dickson, a junior and Bexar County Home School Student with a 4.0 GPA, walked away with winning honors.

Reclamation and Retention: Psi Alpha Chapter was awarded the Mighty 9th District Reclamation Large Graduate Chapter of the Year.

Fatherhood Initiative: Psi Alpha Chapter was announced as the winner of the best Fatherhood Initiative in the Mighty 9th District. For this mention, President Dr. David Marion awarded the chapter a $5000 award.

These programs were led by our Vice President, Brother George Mayers, who will transition into the role of President on November 5th as Brother McMillion’s award-winning 3-year term is up.

Psi Alpha Chapter will celebrate their 80th year serving the city on Sunday, November 1st. The day will begin with Brothers visiting the gravesites of the Charter Members who are laid to the rest in the city from 12 PM – 3 PM. The effort will be split into teams of 3 to maintain social distancing. From 5 PM – 7 PM, a Virtual Celebration over Zoom will be held where Brothers will be able to have a meal and socialize as we go through the program. During the program, Brothers from the 40s to the present will discuss the Charter members’ influence on them and any experiences they may have had with the Charter line.

Psi Alpha Chapter recently celebrated our beloved Godfather, Brother Earl Campbell, on October 25th with a drive-by celebration where over 45 vehicles lined up beeping our horns and watching him smile and wave to us as he celebrated 95 years of life. Brother Campbell, a 1944 initiate of the Epsilon Sigma Chapter at Tillotson College which is now Huston-Tillotson University, also celebrated 76 years of serving Omega on October 17, 2020. He was recently interviewed by the Psi Alpha Fatherhood Initiative Committee, where he provided a toolbox of knowledge in speaking on the importance of fatherhood. A point in the interview was when Brother Campbell was asked, “Out of the 4 F’s Faith, Family, Fellowship, and Friendship, which was most important and why? Brother Campbell replied, “Faith is the most important. All of us must have faith in God. He is our creator, having that faith means that fellowship, friendship, and loyalty will follow. In life, whatever we encounter, our faith is the most important thing that we have. Love your neighbor as yourself! (Mark 12:31) If you live by that creed alone…you will certainly live a great life and our lives will be so much better.”

Community

Applicants Sought for Community Action Advisory Board

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The City of San Antonio is accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on the Community Action Advisory Board (CAAB). The CAAB advises the City’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and San Antonio City Council on needs, concerns, and goals of low-income persons; recommends policies; and advises on the allocation of federal Community Services Block Grant funds. The CAAB also oversees key responsibilities regarding the Head Start Policy Council of the City’s Head Start Program for its benefit and effective governance. DHS  also administers the Community Action Program for the city and Bexar County. 

“This is an opportunity for residents to get involved & make a difference in the lives of low-income children & families in our community,” stated Minerva Hernandez, Family Support Coordinator with the Department of Human Services.

Applications will be accepted for representative(s) of low-income individuals and families in the following areas: 

  • Area I – City Council Districts 1 & 2 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area II – City Council District 5
  • Area III – City Council Districts 3 & 4 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area IV – City Council Districts 6 & 7 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area V – City Council Districts 8, 9 &10 and Adjacent Bexar County area

Applicants interested volunteering on the CAAB, must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of a selected service area and committed to serving low-income individuals and families living in poverty.

The Board is comprised of 15 members: five elected public officials (four City Council Members and one County Commissioner), five representatives of the community’s low-income residents, and five representatives from private groups and organizations.

Interested residents can apply with the Office of the City Clerk on the City’s website. If you have any questions or need assistance with your application, please contact Nancy Cano, Boards & Commissions Coordinator, at (210) 207-7257 or via email at Nancy.cano@sanantonio.gov.

The deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, Dec.6, 2022, by 4 p.m. with the Office of the City Clerk.

In the event more than one candidate applies for Low-Income Representative from the same area CAAB Elections for Low Income Representative(s) will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following polling locations:

  • Area I – West End Park Senior Center – 1226 N.W. 18th St., 78207
  • Area II – Normoyle Senior Center – 700 Culberson, 78225    
  • Area III – Willie Cortez Senior Center – 5512 S.W. Military Drive, 78242
  • Area IV – Doris Griffin Senior One-Stop Center – 6157 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 120, 78238
  • Area V – Northeast Senior Center – 4135 Thousand Oaks, 78217

Each election site will have paper ballots available with the name of the candidates for each area. For information about the Community Action Advisory Board Contact Liaison: Minerva Hernandez LMSW at 210-207-5917 or email: Minerva.hernandez@sanantonio.gov.

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Community

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

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Texas’ Biggest Christmas Celebration Offers the Largest Light Display in the State and an Exciting New Christmas Nativity Musical Extravaganza

Beginning November 10, SeaWorld San Antonio is trimming the tree and hanging the lights for the return of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, the biggest Christmas event in Texas. For 42 days the marine life park will transform into a holiday wonderland featuring millions of sparkling lights, decorations, holiday festivities, and scrumptious holiday treats and eats. Along with returning favorites, the park will premiere the brand-new O Wondrous Night, an exciting, multi-faceted live action musical!

NEW O Wondrous Night Stage ShowThe greatest story never told – the story of the Nativity as seen through the eyes of the animals who experienced it – makes its debut this year at SeaWorld San Antonio. This magical experience features amazing puppetry, more than 30 inspirational carols, and dance set against the backdrop of the very first Christmas. This glorious live stage show celebration will charm, entertain, and delight people from all walks of life as they experience the true glory of the season. Singing, special effects, and holiday spirit combine to make O Wondrous Night yet another reason to make SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, the largest in all of Texas, an annual part of family holiday traditions for years to come.

NEW Christmas Party Zone, Snowman Jam – SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration may be a winter wonderland, but things will heat up at the holiday party zone! Amongst the many holiday areas to visit, guests can catch a special Christmas vibe at Snowman Jam. A DJ spinning the sounds and Festive Flurries fill the air with snowflakes at this club-like section of the park, all centered around the new Frozen Fusion Bar that will serve up specialty cocktails like the Mistletoe Margarita!

Returning Favorites– Guests can renew holiday traditions and encounter 12 uniquely themed holiday areas. Guests will experience the joy of the season while enjoying returning favorites like millions of festive twinkling lights and displays around the entire park, meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, watching the Sesame Street Christmas Parade, or strolling through Christmas Market and visiting Santa himself. Park-goers can also savor the season with chef-created holiday treats served up in cozy holiday settings with visits from Santa, Rudolph, and a cast of memorable holiday characters. Returning holiday festivities include:

  • Twelve Yuletide-Themed Areas – A country Christmas can be discovered at Christmas Market, with a unique Christmas tree made entirely of cowboy boots. Park goers can also stroll through Christmas Cove, a 1950s-inspired wonderland, as well as enjoy a whimsical Snowman Village where they can pose with life-sized snowmen. Additionally, guests can make their way through nine more holiday themed areas featuring millions of lights adorning every corner, putting guests in the ultimate holiday mood.
  • Holiday Shows and Festive Animal Presentations – World class entertainment awaits those craving the holiday spirit. Enjoy a bit of Fiesta flare with the Merry Mariachis, hear the story of the first Christmas told through song in Peace on Earth, and be inspired by the festive beluga whale and pacific whitesided dolphin presentation, Ocean Discovery: A Splash of Christmas set to the music of The Nutcracker.
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Friends – Guests can immerse themselves in the story of Rudolphwhen strolling past life-size story book vignettes featuring the classic tale and can meet beloved characters including Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and Bumble.
  • The Sesame Street Christmas Parade features fantastic, festively decorated floats with show-stopping performances that celebrate the magic of the holiday season! The whole family will experience an energetic Christmas celebration with Sesame Street friends, including Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Bert, Ernie, and more. Families are sure to sing, dance, and be merry with their favorite furry friends!
  • Coca-Cola presents Fireside S’mores and a Holiday Scavenger Hunt – Families and friends alike can create memories as they cozy up around a toasty fire and experience the tradition of roasting marshmallows for delicious holiday smores. Afterwards, guests have the chance to become Insta-famous and featured on billboards around San Antonio by participating in a jolly photo scavenger hunt. Upon completion guests will receive a Coca-Cola theme festive holiday prize.
  • Festive Food and Beverages – Plenty of holiday inspired treats and eats will satisfy cravings with seasonal candies and baked goods, festive funnel cakes, piping hot chocolate and coffee, and winter cocktails including and the NEW Santa-Gria and the Grinch Cocktail with melon liqueur, and rum! Those wanting a traditional holiday meal can join Mrs. Claus in her kitchen for Dinner with Santa as she serves up a Christmas feast and welcomes the big guy to read stories to the kids! Families can also delight in holiday food and fun as they Dine with Rudolph and Friends. (Reservations required for Dinner with Santa and Dine with Rudolph.)

No visit to SeaWorld is complete without spending time with some incredible marine animals. Guests have the opportunity to view, engage with, and learn about everything from orcas, dolphins, belugas, sharks, and puffins; to tropical fish, sea turtles, birds, and more.

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Community

Neighborhood Leadership Academy 

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Applications Now Open for City of San Antonio’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy

The City of San Antonio is now accepting applications for the eighth cohort of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. The Neighborhood Leadership Academy equips residents with the skills, knowledge and resources to better advocate for their neighborhoods. There is no fee to apply or participate.

The Neighborhood Leadership Academy brings together neighbors from all parts of San Antonio to learn more about how their local government works. This valuable program also helps our neighbors learn how they can make their voices heard for issues that are important to their own communities,” said Alanna Reed, City of San Antonio Director of Communications and Engagement. 

Participants in the program will hear from guest speakers and City staff about pressing local issues and how they can get involved and share feedback. They will also participate in group discussions, networking opportunities and a specially curated behind the scenes tour of City facilities and services. Past participants have included neighborhood association leaders and residents who are interested in leading their own association or community group. 

Applications are open to anyone who lives within San Antonio city limits. There is no cost to participate in this program. Program sessions will take place once a month from January 2023 through June 2023. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2022.

For more information or to apply, visit www.saspeakup.com/2022NLA101.

Interested residents can also email Neighborhoods@sanantonio.gov or call 210-207-6920.

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