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.

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.

Evolution: Integrator of the Sciences and Spiritual Inspiration

October 3, 2004/Edited in November-December 2007

Introduction
Evolution seems to be one of the ultimate battlegrounds between science and religion, despite its overwhelming support from the scientific community, science itself, and acceptance of by most religious denominations—with the glaring exception of fundamentalism. In ancient times, when people needed explanations, religion offered something far more often than science. Too often, religious explanations either took the style of the horrible monarchs that ruled their countries and broke their own laws or simply gave fanciful myths or miracles. Unfortunately, the benign early chapters of Genesis gave way to doctrines of humans as fallen creatures in need of atonement and rescue.
However, the reader could accept evolution and still believe in a Savior God rescuing the world from the sin. Religious evolutionists still admit that humans are quite selfish, if not fallen, the result of being big-time winners in the evolutionary struggle. I want this revised Evolution service to be accessible to more faiths than Unitarians, liberal Christians and whatnot. So there are three issues here: the start and continuation of life together with the events surrounding the first people, and the nature of mankind. Even that first australopithecine couple may have really gotten God mad. I doubt it, but there’s a lot of cultural baggage that threatens us into believing it. The fall of Adam and Eve may remind me of the North Korean policy of imprisoning the grandchildren and children of political prisoners, but so what?
Today, many can throw out radioactive dating or that stars have a life and death as if these weren’t part of natural law. Others feel that they’re too good to have cavemen as distant ancestors but cling to original sin beliefs while the war machine and terrorists grind on with torture coming out of our closet.
I hope we can proclaim evolution as more than the integrator of the sciences but as a glorious account of what has really happened on Planet Earth. However, evolution offers a model of reality that’s value-free; we still need a system of ethics. Certainly we don’t need to praise “survival of the fittest” like the Social Darwinists of old. Yet we can praise God as that spark of life—moving creation onward. Getting away from the special creation in Genesis doesn’t mean renouncing God whatsoever. In fact, through an acceptance and understanding of evolution, we should be able to praise God in a more coherent and up-to-date fashion.
Let’s remember two key facts: (1) Theory in science is far more conclusive than the use of the term “theory” in everyday life, (2) Evolution refers to changes in populations not individuals; furthermore, this change is inheritable through genetic material. Unfortunately, some dictionaries even offer faulty definitions of evolution. No wonder the layman often has a confused notion of evolution. Indeed, I’m going to gamble later on discussing evolution in language and food, despite that these can’t be genetic changes but do explain culture changes in populations.
When biologists say that humans and chimpanzees evolved from the same common ancestor, it means that “heritable changes in the two separated populations have occurred since they became isolated, according to an article at http://www.talkorigins.org. But evolution is like a branching bush, not a ladder. Only one of the nineteen three-toed horses evolved into Equus, the one-toed horse of today.

First Reading: Keynote Statement for Religious Naturalism
“We find our sources of meaning within the natural world, where humans are understood to be emergent from and hence a part of nature. Our religious quest is informed and guided by the deepening and evolving understandings fostered by scientific inquiry. It is also informed and guided by mindful understandings inherent in our human traditions, including art, literature, philosophy, and the religions of the world.
The natural world and its emergent manifestations in human creativity ad community are the focus of our immersion, wonder, and reverence. We may describe our religious sensibilities using various words that have various connotations—like the sacred, or the source, or god—but it is our common naturalistic orientation that generates our shared sense of place, gratitude, and joy.
We acknowledge as well a shared set of values and concerns pertaining to peace, justice, dignity, cultural and ecological diversity, and planetary sustainability. We may differ on how these concerns are best addressed, but we re committed to participating in their resolution.” http://www.religiousnaturalism.org This statement doesn’t have to be a call to praise the creation instead of the creator but a call that acknowledges we’re reminded of the Divine when we see the creation.

Exploring, Part One: Evidence for Evolution
Charles Darwin and Archaeopteryx
Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, was jolted into developing the theory by way of a trip to South America and the Galapagos Islands—off the coast of Ecuador. Darwin, a naturalist, noticed that the animals on the mainland differed from related animals on the islands. Moreover, there were even different species on the different islands of the Galapagos: finches, tortoises, and iguanas to name a few. Finally, Darwin asked himself, “Why did recent fossils like glyptodonts and ground sloths resemble current species, but still were different? Darwin realized that life must have evolved and wasn’t created all at once. Darwin wrote his Origin of the Species in 1859.
Just two years later, the first missing link was discovered: Archaeopteryx. Archaeopteryx was half bird and half small theropod dinosaur, a creature like Velociraptor of fame from the Jurassic Park movie. And it too lived during the Jurassic Period, roughly 140 million years ago. Since 1861, seven more Archaeopteryx have been discovered. Furthermore, paleontologists discovered seven more dinosaur-like birds that are 30-40 million years more recent than Archaeopteryx.

More Missing Links
Missing link abounds in the fossil record. The path from fish to amphibian is the route of coelacanths like Eusthenopteron to a strong-tailed amphibian named Ichthyostega. How about the path from amphibian to reptile? We got Seymouria, discovered right near Wichita Falls, Texas. How about reptile to mammal? We have quite a fossil record there. Pelycosaurs, like the famous finback, Dimetrodon, were followed by therapsids, like the husky Moschops, and finally cynodonts, or mammal-like reptiles, like Cynognathus.
What skeletal changes do we see from reptile to mammal? The five-piece reptilian jaw streamlines to a one-piece mammalian jaw bone. Meanwhile, reptiles only have one simple ear bone, but that evolved to three ear bones in mammals.

Radioactive Dating
Certain elements like Uranium 238, Potassium/Argon, and Carbon 14 are radioactive. Uranium changes to lead, potassium changes to argon, and carbon 14 changes to carbon 12. These three isotopes can be found in rock of varying ages with uranium good for dating the oldest and carbon 14 best for dating the youngest.
It “takes a certain length of time for half of the atoms to decay, and it will take the same amount of time for half of the remaining atoms, or a fourth of the original total, to decay. In the next interval, with only a fourth remaining only one eighth of the original total will decay” and so forth. Moreover, these rates of radioactive decay don’t vary even
when subjected to extreme heat, cold and pressure. Are we ready to accept that formulas in math and science are as much a part of God’s laws as not lying or stealing? How about shouting a “Praise God!” for radioactive formulas?

Stratigraphy
Younger layers of rock are deposited on top of older layers of rock. Old fossils are never found with younger fossils. The only way an older rock formation can be found on top is through an occurrence like the Llano Uplift near Austin, Texas. Forces pushing from below made the older rocks go to the earth’s surface. Really famous fossils are called index fossils because you can use the fossil to date the rock in which it was found.

DNA and RNA
Since 1960, we’ve had another scientific proof for evolution: DNA and RNA, the degree of difference between proteins is proportional to the time since they split apart. Thus all living things on earth, from viruses to people, share this DNA code of life, protein synthesis machinery, and the ATP system of energy transfer.
Andrew Peacock, a biochemist and Anglican priest, pioneered the early DNA research. Peacock sees the remarkable sharing of all life forms in DNA sequencing and proteins as strong evidence for a “common origin of all living organisms and evolution.” Reverend Peacock hails the epic of evolution from the “Hot Big Bang” to Homo sapiens as an illumination of how the creator God has really been creating. “We witness an increase in complexity and a capacity to be self-conscious and relate the Creator,” according to the theistic naturalism of Reverend Peacock.

Evolution as a Model in Language Development
I will conclude offering evidence for evolution from science through using evolution as a model in cultural change: language and national cuisines. Thus this is certainly not evolution in a genetic change sense, but we can see a change in populations beyond the individual. In addition, these changes take place in a historical perspective not the millions of years to see something like fish evolve to amphibian.
First, I’m going to start with a linguistics professor from Zaire (now Congo again) who teaches at the University of Chicago, Salikoko Mufwene. Dr. Mufwene speaks the king’s English, French, and whatever African languages, and he does it while analyzing the evolution of language, whether standard or somewhat slang. “Competition and Selection in Language Evolution” is one of his many scholarly articles.
An easy way to understand language evolution is to see that Latin evolved into the Romance languages: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Romanian. Language splintering follows colonization. Before the evolution of Latin, we had the splintering of the Indo-European languages from a common proto-Indo-European language. Bantu languages in southern Africa diversified too.
Importantly for evolutionist, language is like a species, a construct extrapolated by individual idiolects. Each language learner integrates what (s) he has heard in a manner like gene recombination. Languages change simply through the efforts of speakers to accommodate each other, “Watchale Border Spanish” changed from “Mirale el espanol de la frontera.”
As mainly a teacher of English writing and grammar, I want to get to the bottom of the reasons for the mutilated subject-verb agreement and irregular verb usage that I live with daily. Importantly, many a scholarly black speaker will deliberately use the dialect vernacular on occasion for aesthetic preference as well as a persuasive rhetorical tool. Dialect in this instance has to be verbal, not visual. How can you have an Ebonics run-on sentence?
When I heard that Black English is rooted in African language grammar rules, I answered, “Which one?” There are roughly one hundred languages spoken in each of the three regions of the Sudan alone. So some Internet surfing revealed that Dr. Mufwene found that the Niger-Congo language family had somehow surpassed the other African languages as a viable cluster of grammar rules for the creolization process of English.
I finally communicated with Dr. Mufwene by email in Summer 2007, and he told me that a full-blown Black English couldn’t have developed before 1877 until the end of Reconstruction when segregation was strictly enforced. Paradoxically, a Black English couldn’t have evolved during slavery since southern blacks and whites still interacted, albeit in a tragic way. Creole languages, like the Gullah, evolved on the islands off South Carolina in a way that reminds me of those Galapagos species much earlier.

Evolution of Cuisines (added in 2007)
Did you know that Soul Food is basically British food jazzed up with black and Native American spices, along with extra vegetables like okra and yams? Hmmm.
We could look at changes in food over the centuries as a type of evolution in cultures that we can see historically. It may not produce changes in one’s genetic code, but it surely produces change in populations. The Spanish Conquest of Latin America brought tomatoes to Italy, potatoes to Ireland, and more. Later those potatoes were made into vodka in Russia. The Americas got rice and wheat out of the deal. All of this happened after 1520.
The French conquered Southeast Asia in the mid 1800’s. The French bread roll is the start of the Vietnamese sandwich; moreover, the word for bread in Vietnamese, banh, is almost the same as the Spanish and French word—pan. Pate, French goose liver, is spread on the bread, and the Vietnamese like the French vegetable trilogy of celery, carrots, and onions too. We could go on-and-on about food, but I bet that you watch the Food Channel anyway.
Agriculture produces change in all kinds of domestic animals and plants; moreover, we witness that type of evolution historically—a real genetic change seen in populations.

Evolution Sermon: Part 2
John Shelby Spong
Let’s start the more religious component of this service with some thoughts from John Shelby Spong, a famous retired Episcopal bishop. Spong writes “The Bishop’s Voice.” (e-publication) and at least once, he wrote about his strong support for evolution.
First, Spong defines anthropology as “the study of human nature, human institutions and the interpretative myths of human beings.” Spong’s thesis asserts that Christian anthropology is very negative in describing humans as wicked and fallen from perfection. The human race even supposedly inherits the first sin of Adam eating a fruit because Eve tempted him after the Devil as Snake tempted her. Importantly, Spong observes that no parental training could produce healthy children with such rhetoric. “Original sin is pre-modern mythology and post-modern nonsense,” declares Spong. Spong clearly represents the extreme revisionist side concerning evolution. Like I wrote earlier, you can believe in evolution and a need for humans to be saved from sin through choosing the right theological belief.
But Darwin’s evolution implies God isn’t finished with us yet notes Spong. The intense struggle to survive has led to victory for human but admittedly as radically self-centered. Spong defines salvation as a “call to go beyond our limits” and enter a new spirituality.”Spong doesn’t see Jesus as the one who died for our sins but still as “Christ
and a defining God presence.” Thus Spong offers a positive theology that still accounts for human evil’s real root.

PBS: Scientists who are Christian and Pro-Evolution
Francisco Ayala cites Pope John Paul II (1996) who observed that the “conclusions reached by scientific disciplines can’t be in contradiction with divine revelation,” thereby accepting the scientific conclusion that evolution is a well-established theory. Religious scientists are quick to assert that neither science nor religion is the only way to know about God’s laws or reality.
Mark Noll expresses his belief as God speaking to us through two books—Scripture and Nature. The Bible isn’t threatened by responsible scientific investigation. Don’t read early Genesis as if it “were written by a fact-checker at the New York Times,” jests Noll. Already I inserted the section by DNA researcher/Anglican priest, Arthur Peacock in the first half of this service in that biochemistry section.

Notes from Seven Great Post-Biblical Revelations
I bet this service subtitle would appear as an oxymoron to most fundamentalists. It’s sad that old biblical story-telling can be viewed as a substitute for science anymore than someone attempt to rationalize coveting, stealing, or killing—whether it’s from evolutionary science, politics, or psychology. Survival of the fittest was twisted in Social Darwinism and its justification for racism. But evolution can reconcile science and religion in a positive way—clearly the opposite of evolution posing a threat. Moreover, evolution can serve as a bridge to other religions not a prelude to ideological invasion. This worldview should inspire us to “ensure a good future by co-creating evolution (God’s) next adventure in cooperation and complexity.” Humans can live in symbiosis with nature and technology too. Is this positive or what?
Meaning changes over time and there is never only one right interpretation of anything. Meanings vary according to being useful, inspiring, and empowering. Traditional religious values still remain at the heart of individuals maturing and fulfilling our evolutionary potential. Sure nobody has a chance of becoming perfect, but we can make a comeback after a setback. Beliefs like the level of oxygen gas needed for life on earth evolve with time. Vital, life-giving beliefs can become counterproductive and stifling later.
As a species, we’re expanding in communication, thought processes, and technologies of discovery like n God can be viewed as the largest nesting doll—transcendent yet including the other levels of reality. In contrast, the devil personifies entropy: violent, chaotic, and destructive. The cosmos tends toward greater differentiation, complexity, and self-awareness.
Evolution, as a cultural phenomenon, leads to cooperation at an ever-increasing scale. But the fundamental barrier to cooperation is self-interest, often revealed through freeloading and cheating.
Come to think of it; not all cooperation is good when we examine warfare. Warfare seems to look unfair to the previous age. The terrorists blow up civilians and themselves without warning, which goes beyond kamikaze pilots blowing up fellow warriors and themselves. Likewise, the Japanese had to get used to the 13th century Mongols not introducing themselves before combat. Our American revolutionaries wore camouflage and hid among the trees rather than marching into the prairie to battle the British redcoats.
Yet we have leaders like Norman Schwarzkopf do research on friendly fire, soldiers accidentally shooting their own comrades, so it won’t happen again. We try to restrain chemical and atomic warfare. Therefore, all that expanding and differentiation can lead to good or evil.

Connie Barlow: Is This Not Divine?—a UU and missionary for evolution
The death of stars leads to its recycling, so new stars are born. This would have been impossible to witness before advanced telescopes. Belief that stars have a life and death mysteriously can interfere with some folks’ religious doctrines. Copernicus got in trouble for the transition phase of replacing the earth as the center of the universe with the sun. Religious figures just didn’t mind their own business.
Let’s examine the thought of Connie Barlow, a UU who focuses on the divinity of evolution. One of her services notes various facts found during the modern age. We know that the squirrel buries the acorn, leading to more oak and hickory trees. Gymnosperms used to be the dominant trees. We know that plants give off oxygen and animals breathe oxygen. Meanwhile animals exhale carbon dioxide while plants take it in. Finally, Barlow concludes that our notions of the self must expand, or evolve, to include other creatures and our planet—a religious value shift that is under way for many of us.

Conclusion
We started our service on Evolution as Integrator of the Sciences and Spiritual Inspiration through the scientific evidence together with the cultural and spiritual ramifications. The range of back-up from science ties so many disciplines together that evolution literally unifies the sciences. We have chemistry tell us about radioactive dating; biochemistry tells us about DNA and proteins; stratigraphy explains that older rocks are deposited before younger rocks; paleontology shows us transitional species, and so forth. Much of agriculture is based on making evolution happen through manipulating the genetics of domesticated animals and plants for food. Evolution works as a cultural model also. Languages evolve with time as does cuisine.
And a belief in a divinely guided evolution is spiritually inspiring through offering a grounding—a blueprint– for respecting creation and leads to ethical thought on a larger, less tribal scale. We’re making progress even though sometimes it seems like two steps forward and one step back. Above all, don’t make a false idol out of survival of the fittest. We shouldn’t bully those, physically or psychologically, that aren’t as strong as us nor given to bad-hearted schemes.
Consider stop looking at divine law as humans inheriting a fallen nature requiring saving from damnation through belief in one creed., but you don’t have to leave orthodox Christianity to believe in evolution. We’re inclined to be selfish but generally are pretty good creatures.
In fact, good humans are probably getting better at praising God through more denominations from which to choose and improved technology to transmit the message. Moreover, a divinely guided acceptance of evolution gives us a more coherent way to view God’s creation as well as God too.

Kwanzaa #3: Collective Work & Responsibility—Smith County 2015 Education Report & Kwanzaafest of Dallas are Examples, by J.D. Meyer

Welcome to Principle #3 Night: Collective Work & Responsibility. According to Dr. Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa, Collective Work & Responsibility is “to maintain and build our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our own and solve them together.” http://www.officialkwanzaasite.com

The Public Intellectual

I believe that Kwanzaa is the effort to serve as a public intellectual. Dr. Ali Mazrui of the Institute of Global Studies in New York defined the intellectual as “a person who has the capacity to be fascinated by ideas and has acquired the skill to handle some of these ideas effectively.” Dr. Mazrui continues that a public intellectual “communicates and influences debate outside of one’s own field.” http://binghamton.edu/igcs/docs/Newsletter30.pdf He was a Top 100 Thinker, according to ForeignPolicy.com in 2005.

My former teaching colleague, Ibiyinka Solarin, offers a description of the public intellectual and how Wole Soyinka of Nigeria fits that model. Mr. Soyinka was the first African Nobel Prize in Literature. Dr. Solarin notes that the the real intellectual is engaged with society and contributes in his/her own way to impart knowledge and lower ignorance. The intellectual has varied reading , exposure to other cultures, and shows courage versus the establishment. http://www.gamji.com/article3000/NEWS3736.htm

Smith County 2015 Education Report & Claritas/PRIZM Zip Code Clusters

We saw a great example of the Third Principle of Kwanzaa at the Rose Garden, October 20th. The Tyler Area for Partnership in Education http://www.tylerareapartnership4education.org/ launched the Smith County 2015 Education Report—an unprecedented collaboration between education groups, city leaders, and non-profit agencies. http://www.tylerareapartnership4education.org/#!community-report-card/ax6nf

They discovered that only 20% of Smith County students earn a post-secondary credential, a figure that sinks to just under 10% among economically disadvantaged students. Economically disadvantaged students are defined as those who qualify for a free or reduced price lunch. Not only is this a slump from the 35% figure for adults with a post-secondary credential, but 65% of jobs will require such education nationally by 2020.

Tyler (71.8%) and Chapel Hill (71.3%) have the highest percentages of economically disadvantaged students in the eight-city Smith County—well over the 60.2% for Texas. Meanwhile, Bullard (34.8%) and Lindale (45.9%) have the fewest poor kids.

However, Tyler has a solid average income of of $47.4K per year. How can both figures be possible? Could that mean we have a tiny middle-class here? Let’s look at Claritas/PRIZM zip code clusters for zip codes 75701, 75702, and 75703. https://www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/Default.jsp?ID=20&pageName=ZIP%2BCode%2BLookup&menuOption=ziplookup# Out of 66 clusters, only #53 Mobility Blues is present in all three Tyler zip codes in the Top Five. Furthermore, 75702 ranks in the top 1/5th nationally for #62 Hometown Retired. Only 3-15 clusters rank in the top half while two barely miss the top half at #34 and #35.

The Three Focus Areas for Education

There are three focus areas: (1) Kindergarten Readiness, (2) Middle School to High School Transition, and (3) Post-Secondary Readiness, Access, and Success. One statistic really jumped out at me: the discrepancy between high school graduation rate and college readiness. Virtually all graduate from high school: 94% in Smith County and 88% nationally. However, only 56% of both groups are college ready, and just 58% in Smith County and 54% nationally even enroll in education after high school. Students could take the traditional four-year bachelors degree or two-year associates degree routes, but there also shorter certificate and apprenticeship routes.

The answer for lacking readiness beyond an apprenticeship is developmental, or remedial, education. There are three subjects: (1) Developmental English/Writing, (2) Developmental Reading, and (3) Developmental Math.

Post-Secondary Readiness: Developmental English/Writing Study Guide for the Exit Exam

I taught Developmental English/Writing for ten years: five as an adjunct in Mountain View Community College in North Oak Cliff and five full-time at Texas College, the HBCU in North Tyler. By the way, this course is called Developmental Writing in junior colleges and Developmental English in four-year colleges. The Smith County Education Report called for a “restructuring of Developmental Education,” a common suggestion. I wrote an article that I called “Follow-Up to the Smith County 2015 Education Report.” It’s 6 1/3 pages with ten sections and a staggering 21 references. I published four of these articles. https://www.academia.edu/19181221/Follow-Up_to_2015_Smith_County_Education_Report I concluded the article by asking if the over-emphasis on literature in high school at the expense of grammar after middle school could be a major cause for a lack of readiness for College Composition, the first official college English course. The final link goes to my study guide for the Developmental English/Writing exam. It’s based on the official practice exam and includes that link. My analysis reviews the test maker’s categories and my impressions, along with questions and answers.https://www.academia.edu/18726274/THEA_Study_Guide_for_Developmental_English_Writing_Exit_Exam

Middle School to High School Transition: Bilingual All-Level Academic Vocabulary (BALAV)–A Focus on Cognates

Let’s backtrack to the Middle School to High School Focus Area. I’ve published material on Bilingual Academic All-Level Vocabulary (BALAV)–A Focus on Cognates. https://www.academia.edu/1744169/Bilingual_All-Level_Academic_Vocabulary While informal English has most of its roots in German, technical English has most of its roots in Latin, and French is the main source for formal English. Spanish and French are Romance languages, meaning they’re descended from Latin. Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian are the other Romance languages. For example, “inundacion,” is the Spanish word for “flood.” If  I were to say that the Bangladesh prime minister is a leader in climate change because her country is frequently inundated, that’s using sophisticated English.

The Hispanic population in Smith County is rising, especially among the young. Meanwhile, the African-American population is remaining steady and the White population is falling. Tyler ISD’s largest ethnic group has been Hispanics for several years, and many are in the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) group—those who need ESOL or Bilingual Elementary education. Most secondary education textbooks actually have glossaries in both English and Spanish. I like the glossaries that alternate back and forth between languages for each term, rather than first all the heavy words in one language followed by the other.

I can attest to figuring out a new language through an incredibly great lesson in ESOL class. Our instructor divided us into groups, and we deciphered an essay in Portuguese based on our knowledge of Spanish. I love reading public signs written in Spanish and English to keep my skills solid. At Church’s Chicken the other day, I found out the Spanish word for “simmer;” “biscuit” is exactly the same in both languages. There’s a weird myth that Mexicans and others from Spanish-speaking countries move to the USA with little kids only, so they don’t need Spanish subtitles after fifth grade. Maybe their teachers can get away with grunting to them about the glossaries. I’ve seen LEP newcomers in high school simply copying their English textbook into their notebooks since they didn’t know what was going on in class.

Eds & Meds” and the Local Home Construction Boom: Help the Home Health Care Aides & Start More Construction Apprenticeships.

The main approach I took in follow-up article was to analyze the dominant occupations in Tyler, especially Colleges and Hospitals, affectionately nicknamed “Eds & Meds.” More descriptive than prescriptive, I cited the pros and cons listed by experts on urban planning, such as Dr. Richard Florida. Many of the success stories are in large cities, such as Houston, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.

Later, I found a list of the 15 fastest growing occupations in the USA. Home health aide is by far the largest nationally, and it’s a low-paying job that doesn’t require a high school diploma. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t05.htm What if there were grants, scholarships, and maybe communes available for star home health aides so they could pursue a certificate or associates in fields like surgical technology and physical therapy assistant at Tyler Junior College?

A sound man/boat house builder friend told me about the home construction business boom. http://www.kltv.com/story/28527392/home-construction-booming-in-e-texas Then a star local construction business owner (home and business) liked my article, as well as the idea of apprenticeships. My Twitter M.D. friend voiced her support for apprenticeships as a way to move up without debt. Think about it; if post-secondary credentials are rare among the poor, have quick programs.

Kwanzaa Today: Kwanzaafest of Dallas and More

Now that we have shown how a major city project fits in with a Kwanzaa principle, how is Kwanzaa doing these days? It’s spreading around the world from the USA. Education World reported in 2014 that Kwanzaa is “the world’s fastest growing holiday.” http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson039.shtml I noticed celebrations in South Africa last year, England this year. Older folks born between 1948-1964 are more likely to celebrate Kwanzaa in this country http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2011/12/who_celebrates_kwanzaa_the_holiday_in_statistics.html , but there are more Black Studies programs in colleges than there used to be.

Kwanzaa spin-offs have had major success, notably Kwanzaafest of Dallas–held on the second Saturday weekend of December. This festival had its 25th anniversary this year, selling 60K tickets. http://www.johnwileyprice.com/kwanzaa-main.php Kwanzaafest has health screenings, recycling, high school debate, an obesity 5K walk/run, and more. John Wiley Price, long-time councilman, is the master-mind of this project.  Amherst University Black Student Union presents awards to students exhibiting the best of the seven principles in early December http://amherststudent.amherst.edu/?q=article/2015/12/08/unpacking-kwanzaa-critical-reflection-cultural-holiday.

Conclusion

Once again, the seven principles of Kwanzaa–Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith–are principles universal to all humanity.The “made-up” accusation carries little weight in the light of Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, and the other folks’ religions or holidays. But Kwanzaa endeavors to improve the community and to offer activists a chance to serve as a public intellectual.