MLK Presentation in Tyler 2013: Fred McClure, Keynote Speaker, Reported by J.D. Meyer

MLK Presentation in Tyler 2013: Fred McClure, Keynote Speaker,
Reported by J.D. Meyer

Tyler celebrated the 27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Community Program at the Immaculate Conception Catholic cathedral. The event is sponsored by the Tyler Together Race Relations Forum (TTRRF). The invocation by Max Lafser of Tyler Unity included a Bible verse that indicated where we’ve been in the past doesn’t necessarily have a bearing on the future. The local unit of the Korean War veterans presented the colors. The whole audience sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and the lyrics were provided in the program. Father Anthony McLaughlin did the welcome. He noted that racism is an inherent evil–meaning it’s everywhere–and the Catholic Church is determined to work against racism. Mayor Barbara Bass was the next speaker, and she shared her reflections on Dr. King. Mayor Bass observed that Dr. King “lived his faith every day.” God called MLK for a special purpose even if it meant risking his life. The movement has grown beyond the borders of the US. The mayor concluded by asking us to grow each day as a community.

Jeff Williams of Exclusivity Marketing delivered the “Occasion for Gathering.” First, Mr. Williams thanked the crowd for coming to the event because MLK Day is a holiday, and we could have gone anywhere or stayed home. He noted that we live in a time of more division than unity. There can be resistance to changing the status quo whether it was the Civil War, women’s vote, or the Civil Rights Movement. You can see further when you’re higher in the elevator. Mr. Williams reflected that Lyndon B. Johnson knew how to get things done. When LBJ met MLK, Blacks were routinely denied the right to vote but paid taxes and died in war. MLK told LBJ, “There’s always the right time to do the right thing.” LBJ asked Dr. King to help him put enough pressure to do the right thing. Mr. Williams reminded us that both Johnson and King were southerners. Johnson was from Texas, and King was from Georgia. As a member of Tyler Together, Mr. Williams wants to know your perspective, what matters to you, and to meet you, so TTRRF can help build a better community. He proclaimed that we can’t afford to lose brain power in the community.

Steve Russell of Empowering Texas Youth introduced the keynote speaker, Fred McClure. They have been friends since high school through belonging to Future Farmers of America (FFA) in neighboring cities. Fred McClure graduated from Nacogdoches High School where he also played football and was a pianist for the band. Mr. McClure earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M in 1976 where he became that university’s first African-American student body president. I should add that Texas A&M had fewer than 5% Black enrollment in that era. On the other hand, agricultural economics was Texas A&M’s most popular major back then. After getting a law degree from Baylor, McClure became an advisor to President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, and Texas Senator John Tower. Mr. McClure became a member of the Texas A&M Board of Regents in 1995 and later joined the board of directors for the 12th Man Foundation. Now Mr. McClure is the director of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation at Texas A&M http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/.

How To Make Sense of the Pandemic as a Ruist (Confucianist) ?

Confucius Academy

Hallo, my name is Bin Song. I am a Ru scholar, therapist, and college professor in the disciplines of philosophy, religion, and theology. This audio is written and recorded by me to help make sense of the cause of this pandemic in light of the spiritual practice of Ru meditation.

Before you start to listen to my words, I recommend you to do a short breathing practice to calm our heart and illuminate our mind. So, please position yourself well, sit, incline, or simply lie down. Using your belly muscles, be aware of the minor movements of your body, and then, focus upon your breath. Breathe in, deeply, slowly, and comfortably. Breathe out, feel the release, and feel the relax. And a short pause. Again, breathe in, breathe out. remember, no matter how bad the pandemic is, how frustrated you feel about your situation, there is always air and oxygen…

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—January 20, 2020—Tyler, TX                    34th Annual Interfaith Community Program

          By J.D. Meyer

The 34th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. continued its traditional program by meeting at the Downtown Square and marching to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 423 South Broadway Avenue for a program. This year’s theme was “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

Some Signs on the March

Here are five signs that I saw while downtown, and they are quotes from Dr. King:  (1) “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way. (2) “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” 93) “Time is always right to do right.” (4) “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” (5) Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.” The International Education Lab of Tyler Junior College carried a sign proclaiming, “We are the dream.” The John Tyler, Robert E. Lee, and Grace Community high school marching bands participated in the march too.

Introductory Remarks.

The Call to Order/Invocation was given by Bishop Nick McGraw. He read an excerpt from a letter that a Caucasian girl from White Plains High School sent to Dr. King after he’d survived an injury early in his career. Dr. King stated that if he’d sneeze, he would have died. The young lady wrote, “I’m glad you didn’t sneeze.” This became the title of one of his speeches. An early civil rights speech was at Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

Reverend Jonny Williams gave the Invocation. With God, you can do all things, moved by the Spirit—the source of all joy. The Presentation of the Colors & Pledge of Allegiance was performed by Boulter Middle School. The “Star-Spangled Banner” by Mrs. Jessilyn Yarber presented a wide vocal range and dramatic changes in volume, building to a loud climax at the end.  “Father Hank Lankford and County Commissioner Joanne Hampton gave the Greetings. Ms. Hampton noted that Dr. King’s last talk was on April 3, 1968, in Memphis. She noted the theme of this year’s 2020 event and urged us to make MLK’s dream a reality here.

The favorite MLK quote of Tyler Mayor, Martin Heines, is a question, “What are you doing for others?” The Mayor noted that it is life’s most persistent question, and he asked the Tyler councilmen in attendance to stand. Mayor Heines told us about his 14-year old daughter who already wants to do service. She attends a sports school in Florida. A third of the school comes from other countries; their soccer team includes kids from China. The Mayor proclaimed that the world interacting together is wonderful globalism. I was happy to see such a prominent local figure give a cheer for globalism in an age of increasingly negative populism. It’s his last year as mayor and he closed by asserting we’re all dream makers that aren’t satisfied by the status quo.

Kids Aspiring to Dream (KATD) took the stage—a group of three kids. They thanked Dr. King and declared we’re not afraid to let our light shine.  At least be the best shrub on the side of a hill. Others sacrificed so we could dream. Rise together so we can be a better people and nation.

“Lift Every Voice & Sing” was performed by the Jarvis Christian College choir—a large group with roughly 30 members! Jarvis Christian is an HBCU in nearby Hawkins, Texas. That song is considered the National Black Anthem.

Now it was time for the introduction of the speaker by Kenneth Cobb. He hopes that the program inspires, even if it’s just one. We hope you make it and tell us how you did it.

Keynote Speaker: Mrs. Sha’Rell Webb–Education Specialist, Lunar & Planetary Institute.

          Sha’Rell Webb overcame a tragic childhood to become a leading science educator. She was adopted at the age of two by her aunt and uncle because her Mom was and is hooked on crack cocaine. She completed high school in Houston, becoming a dental assistant while there and wanted to become a nurse. Mrs. Webb won an academic field trip to California and $75, 000 in grants. She graduated from Jarvis Christian College and became a science teacher. While at Jarvis, she attempted suicide twice but got well.

At times, Mrs. Webb cried a little during her speech and got the crowd to shout with her, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars,” the theme of the 2020 MLK Program. She taught at Stewart Elementary in Tyler ISD. Her goal was to make science “fun but relatable…culturally relevant.” She believes Black kids are “underestimated and under-represented.” She founded Coding with a Twist—a computer science, coding, and robotics program. Now she works for NASA in Houston at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Kids that don’t speak might make something. What you do now makes a difference for later. Webb stressed the importance of having dignity, being the best you can be, and commitment to beauty, love, and justice.

Closing

Reverend Jerome Milton started the MLK program in Tyler 34 years ago. He’s another Jarvis Christian College graduate. Now the program is sponsored by the Tyler Together Race Relations Program (TTRRF). Jeff Williams, the TTRF President, spoke as well. We need to build bridges to get out of our comfort zones. We may have come here on different ships but we’re in the same boat now. Father Matt Boulter of Christ Church did the Benediction.

 

 

33rd Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Tyler, TX 2019: “Living Together as Brothers.” By J.D. Meyer

The 33rd MLK Day celebration in Tyler once again began with meeting at the Downtown Square and marching to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral at Broadway AV & Front ST for a program with many speakers. At the Square, someone quoted MLK with, “No individual or nation can live alone. We can live together as brothers or die together as fools. Someone carried a cool sign with the following MLK quote, “We may have come in on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” The sound system wasn’t working downtown, so that part of the program was cut short, and the crowd marched down Broadway Avenue—Tyler’s major street—to the cathedral. There were at least a couple of drum corps marching with us: Texas College and Grace Community HS.
In the introduction, the speaker noted that scientific progress has made the world a neighborhood. Once again, someone asserted that a person or nation can’t live alone. That reminded of the current American president’s desire to withdraw from NATO—a military alliance between the USA & Western Europe since 1945 for protection versus Russia, formerly the Soviet Union.
Somebody wore a cool T-shirt declaring, “Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama ran, so our children could fly.” #LegacyMatters.
Joanne Hampton began by noting that we need to be mindful of our giving. Lift each other up by being aware. Local business success promotes sustainability. Yet we can stimulate global culture.
Mayor Martin Heines asked, “What are we doing for others?” Service to one another strengthens the community. To build a more perfect union, we all have a role through building with our service. This leads to more abundant opportunities for our children.
Next were four charming little kids with “Kids Aspiring to Dream (KATD) with their theatrical performance, culminating with Jonathan Martin’s dramatic soliloquy. The theme was “The Dream Lives on “It is Me.”
George Faber played, “Take the A Train (1941)” before a statement highlighting the term, “propel.” Through our roles in life, we encourage and propel equality by coming together often. Sometimes we don’t have the answers. We encourage our kids; something will propel them too.
The Keynote Speaker was Peggy Llewellyn, a History-Making NHRA Pro Stock Motorcyclist. She was the first minority woman to win an NHRA event. The speaker’s mom rode motorcycles too, and her dad was a motorcycle and car mechanic. Ms. Llewellyn likes to research new cities that she visits—noting that Tyler is the Rose City and home of actress Sandy Duncan, Keke Shepherd, and the HGTV Dream House.
Ms. Llewellyn’s Dad is Jamaican and he moved here in 1967—just three years after the Civil Rights Act. Racial tension was still strong. She noted that her family could have played it safe for Jamaica is a beautiful island with great cuisine. Nevertheless, the USA is a land of opportunity—in spite of struggles with racism. They settled in San Antonio, Texas. By 1977, her dad owned his own business. Nevertheless, some customers wouldn’t deal with him when they found him to be Black. Other customers wanted him to succeed, for they lived together as brothers.
Young Peggy didn’t grow up with dolls; she raced her brother on motorcycles. She liked the smell of burning rubber and reached speeds of 190 mph. They raced at Alamo Dragway. Color was not a measuring tool for herself. Novelty was something different for the team.
Sometimes her ability was questioned because she’s small, Black, and Jamaican. Ms. Llewellyn was determined to look past the negativity and going to race and win. We should love one another regardless of race or religion. Hate is too much burden; love is actually simpler, according to Ms. Llewellyn. Recall that saying, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” Have faith so we work together, play together, and struggle together. She quoted Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong of good courage. God goes with you and won’t leave or forsake you.” All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed. We must fight discrimination on basis of sex or whatever. In closing, Peggy’s Dad knew she had talent, and he prepared her for obstacles. Look past and above the negative. Love and respect helps one’s perspective. It’s a topic and attitude.

Here’s a photo of me at the MLK march; it was taken by Sarah Miller, the main photojournalist for the Tyler Paper. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107171117769518&set=pcb.10218140711931630&type=3&theater

“Skillful Teaching through Facilitating Discussion—Teaching skills is an essential pillar of a competent CHW and CHWI,” a lecture by Dr. Shannon Cox-Kelley, summarized by J.D. Meyer

This was the first lecture at the 2018 Community Health Workers Conference for the NE TX CHW Coalition, July 13, 2018.

The NE TX CHW Coalition Conference featured two main lectures and three breakout sessions. The first main lecture was by Dr. Shannon Cox-Kelley –Dean of Health Science–who teaches in the Community & Public Health degree program at NE TX Community College. She received all of her degrees at Texas A&M at Commerce and is a noted online distance educator.

Dr. Cox-Kelly cited four occasions to use discussion: (1) Evaluate evidence. (2) Formulate application of principles. (3) Foster motivation for further learning. (4) Articulate what has been already learned—theory behind the discussion.

Memory is linked to how deeply we think about something. A research interest cited in Dr. Cox-Kelley’s biography really clicked with me: “the impact of educational attainment on health outcomes in diverse communities.” My disabling condition is COPD, but as a Master’s degree holder and former all-level teacher (mainly Developmental English/Writing: the Pre-College Composition course), I’ve learned to study my conditions. (Yes, I have other health issues). I write Word Press articles on health and make binders full of info on medicine, ER reports, and journal articles.

Returning to Dr. Cox-Kelley, she notes that relationships are key, and we have a need to know why and how information is needed. The CHW Instructor could start with controversy like a “devil’s advocate,” but one should announce it in advance to maintain trust. Uncertainty arouses curiosity; switch sides. Focus on solving problems rather than the solution.

Many students are passive and quiet since we’re taught to memorize in secondary education. An increasingly popular practice is to flip the class and have the lecture at night on You Tube or something like it. Then the classroom becomes a place for total discussion. This flip improved passing rates at Dr. Cox-Kelley’s junior college. Think, don’t memorize.

How to start with questions means to start with desired outcomes. Factual questions increase problem-solving. Application and interpretation questions find connections. Problem questions can induce critical thinking. Comparison questions can evaluate readings.

Dr. Cox-Kelley cites principles behind case studies: (1) Increase focus. (2) Break cases into sub-problems. (3) Socratic questioning, and (4) Lead students toward intended outcomes. Once again, passive students can be a possible barrier, as well as failure for students to see value.

Dr. Cox-Kelley cited Discussions as a Way of Teaching, by S.D. Brookfield and S. Breskill (1999) as a fine relevant book. Students can experience a fear of looking stupid and the inability to consider alternative sides because of emotional attachment. Are they trying to find a correct answer or explore? Helping emotional reactions includes asserting the value of discussion and keeping opinions and verbalization in perspective. To conclude, collaboration is better than competition.

“Skillful Teaching through Facilitating Discussion” lived up to its subtitle of teaching skills being an essential pillar of both the Community Health Worker (CHW) and CHW Instructor (CHWI). Furthermore, Dr. Cox-Kelley’s lecture reached out to teachers looking for a second career or a stimulating cause in retirement.

SOL 18: March for Our Lives—Tyler, TX—My Statement, by J.D. Meyer

Tyler, Texas was one of the hundreds of cities which had a March for Our Lives event on Saturday March 24th from 10-Noon. It was held on the Downtown Square, just like the Dreamers event on March 6th. It was estimated that 200 people attended the event; all ages were represented, and lots of folks had signs.

Tyler is in Smith County–a city of 105K, roughly 100 miles east of Dallas. Politically, Tyler is known for always voting Republican but having a low voter turnout. Economically, Tyler is classified as an “Eds and Meds” Economy with two large hospitals and three colleges. There are lots of restaurants and hotels too. A quarter-million people work in Tyler during the day; then just over half go home to some small town.

Anne McCrady was the host of the event. She is locally famous for the annual Art of Peace event in Fall–as well as poetry and activism in general. We heard from Reverend Stuart Baskin, a Presbyterian minister–who gave a stirring speech at a Martin Luther King celebration several years ago. The 2010 MLK Community Celebration fulfilled Dr. King’s prediction that one day the sons of the slave master and slave would sit at the table of brotherhood together. The other keynote speaker that day was Wallace Jefferson–the first African-American Chief Justice in Texas. Reverend Baskin’s great, great grandfather once owned Judge Jefferson’s great, great grandfather! http://english.ohmynews.com/ArticleView/article_view.asp?no=385940&rel_no=1 I told him about my account of his talk that I’d had published in South Korea. His daughter remembered me as her substitute teacher at a nearby high school. Then it was time to “pass the mic around.” Here’s my take, to borrow an expression from Fareed Zakaria.

“I’m a former teacher too. Assault rifles should be for the military, not civilians. And not many military need assault rifles either–except the infantry and some others. You don’t need an assault rifle if you’re taking care of a helicopter.
We should be embarrassed at being the most dangerous advanced country. It’s not enough to be safer than Honduras.
And finally, when we closed our eyes and thought of a shooting victim, I remembered a favorite student and got misty-eyed. Not all gang violence is Crips vs. Bloods. It can be Intra-Crip violence. Thank you.”

Mrs. McCrady and I happened to attend the same church today, and she congratulated me for my talk. I visited with her husband, Dr. Mike McCrady before the service. It turns out Dr. McCrady knows my pulmonologist, Dr. Luis Destarac. This has been a good weekend.

Art of Peace Statement 2017, by J.D. Meyer

The Art of Peace implies a wide range of peace-making efforts. I’m going to analyze this issue according to four views: (1)my North Korea approach, (2) health, (3) apprenticeships, (4) the fiscally responsible approach to defending DACA and fighting The Wall. But first, I’d like to give an account of my spiritual experience some 30 years ago like a previous speaker. Self-confidence in one’s sincerity is the goal of the unity of knowledge and action (chih hsing ho-i). “Spontaneity as conforming to pattern-principle” (tzu-jan chi li) is another way to express having self-confidence in one’s sincerity.

I‘m a devout Twitter fan. I offered a different view of the North Korea crisis. “#NorthKorea wants praise for its nuclear weapons as a cash crop—their only crop! Make sure the bomb isn’t ticking #Diplomacy,”

I’m a member of COPD internet support groups and have written about health issues on my Word Press blog. Wear oxygen canula under your nebulizer mask to improve its efficiency. Also utilize your C-PAP while awake to end a bad exacerbation. I helped a depressed diabetic friend recently by telling her about the benefits of eating cactus (nopalitos). I buy my cactus already sliced, usually pickled in a jar. I don’t battle the quills.

How about more apprenticeships, as proposed by Tim Kaine and three other senators? The business would get a tax break, and the intern would make some money while they learned a valuable trade. People with a good job are more likely to be peaceful.

I’m a member of the local Indivisible group, a Fareed Zakaria Fan Club, and related closed Facebook groups. Let’s defend DACA and renounce Trump’s Wall through fiscal responsibility. It would take an average of $10.4K per person to expel a Dreamer. Moreover, we’ve heard many big business honchos, such as Mark Zuckerberg, protest against this proposal. Check out Congressman Henry Cuellar (D–Laredo, TX). 40% of agriculture workers overstay their visas. The Rio Grande is safer than the U.S. average. A wall is a “14th Century solution.” Texas Republican Senator, John Cornyn, prefers drones in environmentally-sensitive areas, such as the Santa Ana Refuge. The Wall would hurt ecotourism and reduce money coming into South Texas, among other atrocities. So when I say, let’s save focusing on humaneness concerns for a future generation, I sound like Booker T. Washington in a parallel universe!

So now we’ve examined a variety of ways to make peace. The possibilities are endless. To conclude, try to bring serious data to your argument in this hot-headed era. Strong self-respect is important; don’t let yourself get run over. For improving self-knowledge, check out a free online MBTI-style site, such as http://www.16personalities.com

#SOL17: ETHNN Transportation Committee Talk about Austin conference

I spoke at the East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN) Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 28th. The focus of my talk was the Transportation Works conference in Austin by Texas Society of Independent Living Councils (TX SILC) that I attended at the start of March. I was a one of 30 selected as Consumer Advocates in Transportation, or CAT. I had already written a 1 3/4 page article about the conference on my Word Press. I was glad to see Leroy Sparrow, the VP of Tyler Transit in attendance, as well as our Transportation Committee Chairman, Kristy Range, who had formally invited me to speak, and of course, Christina Fulsom–the Director of ETHNN.

I started my talk by mentioning my day’s earlier errands and the bus routes that I’d taken. My day had begun with a visit to my University of Texas at Tyler counseling intern at the Andrews Center–a Blue SW (south) drop point after a Green North run to the Downtown Bus Hub. Then I took Blue SW (north) ride back until I reached S. Broadway at the Downtown Square. After a bank visit, I caught the Red South to Bergfeld Center, where I picked up my Asthma-COPD drugs from CVS Pharmacy. Bergfeld Center is the second bus hub in Tyler. I caught the Yellow SE bus to ETHNN Headquarters on Hightech DR near Shiloh & Paluxy. Yes, I took four out of five lines–all but Purple–and rode the bus five times. Alertly, Christina made notes of the time my errands actually took in addition to the lengthy time involved. I pointed out that I ate during wait times.

My focus was on the need for sidewalk repair; a transit trip needs to be “enjoyable, not just possible,” to cite a speaker at the conference. Since the conference, it was revealed that the City of Tyler made a sidewalk survey in 2010–in stark contrast to some city employee’s belief that the nearest landlord was supposed to repair sidewalks. Leroy brought up that a new sidewalk study had begun, but it could take a year to complete. Furthermore, the City of Tyler hired an agency to help with photographing the sidewalks after I’d suggested a cheaper, grass roots “foot soldier” report by citizens. I saw a video on Facebook after the conference, in which a lady complained about no sidewalks on well-to-do Rice RD, where she walking her dog.

One of my sidewalk suggestions was to remove the “no asphalt” law, especially in cases in which one sidewalk block becomes slightly raised–and easy to trip over. Moreover, sidewalks sometimes shrink because of the land–such as on Beckham at the bridge where Ferguson ends. Sidewalk crumbling isn’t always due to giant tree root growth.

We need to install bicycle racks at the two main bus hubs and next to Neighborhood Services. Moreover, a previous Tyler Transit director stated that the city had won some bike racks in a grant, so they must be in storage somewhere. It would be so easy to plunk a bike rack in those few key places while sidewalk repair could take quite a while. The Bergfeld Center’s bus stop bench has ample concrete-paved space behind it.

Eventually, we’ll schedule bus strips for the two remaining bus lines. In April, we’ll plan a Red South bus trip to the Broadway Mall for lunch at Chipotle’s (probably) and wander around a bit. Later, we’ll shoot for a Green South bus trip to restaurants in the UT-Tyler area. Hopefully, we’ll expand the trips to include more committees of ETHNN, and maybe head a different direction on the lines. Riding the bus represents a cultural change. Some acquaintances expressed fear of riding the bus–wondering if a poor, often minority crowd would attack. I responded that plenty of us are too old and disabled to cause much trouble. After the meeting, I told Kristi about folks visiting each other on the bus.

#SOL17: Tyler Spoken Word Returns on International Women’s Day & a Ruist (Confucian) Response

by J.D. Meyer
Tyler Spoken Word returned after a two year absence. Now it’s at El Guapo Records on S. Broadway between W. Front and W. Erwin in the new Off Downtown commercial block–west side of the block only! East Texas Brewery is another store on the block. Tyler Spoken Word used to be at Cafe Bhojana Java until it closed. This event gives participants a chance at entertaining public speaking. You could do poetry, singing, rap, stand-up comedy, etc.

In my case, I discussed how Confucianism (Ruism) could benefit International Women’s Day, March 8th. I began by stating that it’s International Women’s Day, and that Iceland has achieved gender equality–something I’d read from the “On This Day” section of Facebook. But the real purpose of my talk was to discuss some Confucian concepts I’d discussed at Friends from Afar, a relatively new closed Facebook group. Now I can comment and discuss articles of relevance with others of our spiritually pan-Chinese orientation. We have an open Facebook group also–the Ruism Discussion Group.

By the way, we prefer to be called, “Ruists,” because it pertains to the sage-scholar nature of the government officials, who passed civil service exams based on the Classics. Confucius is not only the Anglicizing of his real name, Kung Tzu, but the philosophy he founded was never named after him in the Far East. I didn’t give this disclaimer at last night’s event because I wanted to focus on gender equality.

Let’s start by looking at two of the Five Virtues. Jen (benevolence) is revealed through its presence, or lack, in expressions of propriety (li). Propriety is the externalization of humanity. The etymology of jen is a person next to the number “two,” a four-stroke character. Thus, being mean to women or anyone represents a failure in this connection. on another note, my explanation of the Chinese character for benevolence was the only Chinese footnote that I gave in my talk–unlike this article. Later I even joked that I was glad not to be providing Chinese footnotes for the concepts.

Here’s a similar argument. Sincerity (ch’eng) requires the presence of inner reverence (ching)–another inward–outward connection. Furthermore, making sincere the will (ch’eng-yi) is virtually identical to extending authentic conscience (chih liang-chih). In other words, you can’t honestly tell us that discrimination against women is an honest practice.

In a discussion at Friends from Afar, Dr. Bin Song reminded me of Wang Yang-ming’s assertion that broken rocks sadden him because of the pervasive, all-encompassing nature of jen (benevolence)when one truly chooses to embody it. That brought me back to my impending crusade for local sidewalk repair. At the Texas State Independent Living Council (TX SILC) Transportation Conference, we learned about developing collaborations and partnerships in order to get things done. What better expresses the externalizing our humanity in propriety, as well as showing appropriate-assertiveness (i).

Let’s hope that my discussion of some relevant Ruist (Confucian) concepts helps in the quest to bring about gender equality. Obviously, progress has been made over the centuries, but improvement is needed. It’s well-known that women in the USA only make 80 cents for every dollar that men earn. In past decades, we heard that women’s place was in the home, and only a few professions were even open to women, such as elementary education teaching. A just society is a more productive and respected society.

Unity Night of Kwanzaa 2016: Some Friendly Muslim Thought Leaders, by J.D. Meyer

Welcome to Unity Night of Kwanzaa, Tyler Texas—the first night of our seven-night festival. Furthermore, it’s the 50th Anniversary of Kwanzaa! How does Kwanzaa’s founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga describe Unity? Unity invites an “alternative sense of solidarity…the world’s health and wholeness require education to know about others.” In this year’s Unity address, Dr. Karenga asserts, “For we come into being and best express and develop our humanity in relationship.” This reminds me of benevolence, the first of the five virtues of Confucianism (Ruism) Benevolence is a simple four-stroke character, a person standing next to the number “two,” symbolizing society.

Perhaps never before in Kwanzaa’s history have Unity Night presentations got the opportunity to repair an upset, divided country following the last election. In other words, our talks could go beyond the Afrocentric Black Elite. First of all, I resolve to stay positive and not bash ideological opposites. Who remembers that great soul song by the O’Jays, “Unity”? The chorus asserts, “Unity, we must have unity. For united we stand, divided we fall.” I’m going to focus on some great work of fine Muslims in this country and elsewhere.

Fareed Zakaria
Let’s start with my hero and favorite journalist, Fareed Zakaria https://twitter.com/FareedZakaria —the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN on Sunday morning at 9 am and re-run at noon. The GPS stands for Global Public Square, and he has interviewed many of the top leaders in the world. Since delivering this Kwanzaa talk, I accepted an invitation to his closed Facebook group: Fareed Zakaria GPS Fan Club! Of course, I was already getting Fareed Z’s Daily Briefings in my email.

Fareed is a Muslim immigrant from India, and he has a Ph.D. in Political Science from an Ivy League university. He also writes for the Washington Post and published a book, The Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education. However, Fareed isn’t a practicing Muslim but somewhere between deist and agnostic; plus his wife is Christian. Perhaps you could call him a cultural Muslim, but my point is that there is a continuum of beliefs within any religion from nominal to fundamentalist to fanatic.

Ulil Abshar-Abdallah & Indonesia
Our next standout is Ulil Abshar-Abdallah, and we’re friends on Twitter. https://twitter.com/ulil What is the most populated Muslim country? What Muslim country enjoys complete religious freedom in their constitution? The answer to both questions is Indonesia, and Ulil is the founder and leader of the Liberal Islam of Indonesia, also known as the Jaringans. The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, is known for his love of Heavy Metal music–notably Metallica and Megadeth. Indonesia has plenty of popular native heavy metal bands too, such as Burgerkill. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jul/11/joko-jokowi-widodos-metal-manifesto

I just checked Ulil’s Twitter site, and his pinned tweet states, “Don’t let politics ruin friendship.” A pinned tweet is always first on your list. A few days ago, he retweeted an article from the British journal, Independent, that warned about Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar financing extremist Islamic missionary groups in Germany. A few weeks ago, I shared some news with Ulil and everybody else from the Saudi hashtag #EndMaleGuardianship. It was a cluster of articles about Saudi women battling for equal rights. On Christmas, Ulil tweeted a New York Times article about being okay to wish Muslims a Merry Christmas. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/opinion/why-its-not-wrong-to-wish-muslims-merry-christmas.html Christians and Muslims share some of the same miracles.

“What is Liberal Islam? (a) open to all forms of intellectual exploration, all dimensions of Islam; (b) prioritizing religious ethics, not literal textual reading; (c) believing that truth is relative, open for interpretations and plural; (d) siding with oppressed minorities; (e) believing in the freedom to practice religious beliefs; (f) separation of world and heavenly authorities, religious and political authorities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaringan_Islam_Liberal Islam is a “living organism that makes us feel enthusiasm.” When Mohammad said, “There’s no compulsion in religion,” it was in response to a follower asking Mohammad if he should go get his son, who had moved to practice Christianity–an older religion. Ulil cited a Moroccan feminist, who felt the veil was no longer valid, but it simply serves the political interests of men. Originally, the head coverings were to protect Muslim women from being harassed just to bother Mohammad.But lets keep the burka. I’ve seen some beautiful models wearing them. Furthermore, who could object to an American flag motif?

Unfortunately, Indonesia has radical Islamic terrorist groups, but the government works with the USA in developing counter-terrorism strategies in USINDO. Indonesian police have successfully raided terrorist training camps. Furthermore, the founder of a leading Islamist group, Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) was imprisoned. http://www.usindo.org/resources/counter-terrorism-strategy-in-indonesia-adapting-to-a-changed-threat-2/ Ulil asserts that the roots of Muslim fundamentalism are a feeling of being left behind in science and economics and becoming spectators of Western injustice. Some Muslims protest the mayor of Jakarta–“Ahok” Basuki, a Chinese Christian.

Edarabia
Edarabia is the Middle East’s #1 Education Guide; helping students, parents and educators to interact and select the best institutions. Edarabia is based in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—all on the Arabian Peninsula. https://twitter.com/Edarabia “Visitors can find the latest industry news, upcoming events, job listings, research updates, compare ratings, add reviews and engage with others in the community forum. Edarabia.com covers all areas of education including but not limited to universities, colleges, schools, nurseries, language institutes, training academies, music schools, online degrees and much more.”

Edarabia’s pinned tweet is a roundup of books recommended by teachers and their reasons why. They have a Paper.li account called The Edarabia Times. Paper.li accounts are a daily newsletter gathered from those you follow in cyberspace. Edarabia and I are Twitter friends too; plus, they added me to an influential educators list. My Paper.li account, The BohemioTX, is my pinned tweet.

On Christmas, I found an awesome article by Edarabia entitled, “Five Tips in Building a Community of Learners.” http://www.edarabia.com/110008/3-tips-in-building-a-community-of-learners/ It was largely a reaction to the possibilities that technology bring to the classroom. Here are the five points: (1) Use an innovative approach. (2) Embrace new learning opportunities. (3) Encourage a ‘community’ between your students. (4) Make learning relevant. (5) Let students know you care about them.

This article reminded me of including edited student essays in my Developmental English textbook. Two of the standouts are about a veteran driving tanks in Bosnia and an account of the “chopped” technique in Houston’s Rap music.
I sent this article promptly to an American education leader, Angela Maiers, the founder of the #YouMatter paradigm. Many of us love to be scholarly with our cyberspace friends and include links to articles and hashtags in our tweets and posts.

MENA-ICT
Let’s close with an account of the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Information and Communication (ICF) Forum. https://twitter.com/MENAICT It’s the premier ICT industry event in this region. The forum is held once every two years in Jordan through the direction of King Abdullah II since 2002. King Abdullah II is one of our best friends in the Muslim world. A former front-line soldier, King Abdullah II supports our military actions in the Mid-East, avoiding front-line conflict, which would look like a Christian-Islam apocalypse.

“The MENA ICT Forum showcases the entire region’s ICT success stories, and discusses latest trends, opportunities, and future outlooks.” The MENA-ICT Forum launched a 1000 Entrepreneurs National Initiative this year. Israel is a member of MENA, as is all of the Mid-East and North Africa. The first Arab Spring country, Tunisia, is still doing rather well as a democracy

CONCLUSION
I hope my Kwanzaa Unity talk has shown that we have strong allies in the Islam world, and not just an odd mix of “frenemies” and enemies. We started in the USA with Fareed Zakaria before examining Ulil Abshar-Abdallah and his country, Indonesia; Edarabia, a leading education site, based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the UAE, and the MENA-ICT conference and its sponsoring group. Many Muslims are battling for progress in education, religion, technology, and economics.