Martin Luther King Day 2021 in Tyler, Texas, by J.D. Meyer

This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day was held in the front yard of the new location for the Texas African-American Museum–coincidentally on MLK Blvd. in a former fire house. Martin Luther King BLVD is the major East-West Street in North Tyler, a predominantly Black neighborhood in Tyler, which includes Texas College–an HBCU and the first institute of higher education in this city.  The keynote speaker was Rev. Dr. Orenthia Mason.

The opening prayer was delivered by Bishop Laramie Jackson. It included a bridge to the past and a bridge to bring people together—struggles and achievements. Demerick Tezino sang “Amazing Grace.” LaToyia Jordan offered welcome before Gloria Washington announced the occasion. She reminisced about an early MLK Day observation in Jasper, Texas–25 years ago after an ice storm. “So we may be outdoors, socially distant during this coronavirus pandemic, but it was a rougher to hold a big event back then.” Plenty of chuckles responded.

Today included a celebration for having a new-and-improved location for the African-American Museum; it used to be further north in an abandoned elementary school, but now it’s on a major street. The late councilman, Ed Moore, was instrumental in getting the deal between the city and the museum, and a cornerstone has been planned in his honor. Shirley McKellar has become his successor as councilwoman. Some reconstruction is planned, and they will need donations.

Pastor Nicholas McGrew noted that he memorized the famous, “I Have a Dream” speech –so did his daughter! “We stand in the shadow of the Emancipation Proclamation, but 100 years later we still stand in an island of poverty in an ocean of the rich. To be satisfied, we need to have mobility, vote, and have justice. We still have the dream despite frustrations. Let us be judged by the content of our character; that’s one of MLK’s most famous sayings. Let freedom ring! We need to have integration of races and creeds. Then we’ll be free at last.”

Ms. Verlinda Stanton sang, “”Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the African-American National Anthem. She has worked with such stars as George Clinton and James Earl Jones. She has sung at an event for President Barack Obama too. 

Stanley Cofer introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Orenthia Mason. He observed “the integrated crowd as a dream of Martin Luther King. Esteem others higher than yourself; it’s like giving flowers to those who are still alive. All men are created equal.” Rev. Mason taught in Tyler ISD for 27 years. She was also a principal and on several boards. She retired as minister of St. James Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) church. By the way, Texas College is a CME institution of higher education.

Reverend Orenthia Mason gave a scholarly and “hard-hitting” speech. She noted our continued struggle for freedom and congratulated the museum and city. She asked, “What condition is our condition since MLK’s, ‘I Have a Dream’ speech?  We live through recurring cycle of racism, extremists, and hatred. Malcolm X told us to face reality, not a blurred version of the truth. Justice, whoever says it, benefits humanity.” To me, that sounds like a great critique of the ad hominem argument; ignore the idea because of disliking the speaker. Robert Kennedy asserted, “We should make an effort to understand others,” according to Rev. Mason.

She continued, “What condition is our condition in? When minorities vote more than average, it’s labeled as fraud. We are in perilous times.” Black kids are being threatened again. Reverend Mason recalled walking to school in groups with other Black kids, back in the 60s. That was because they could get attacked anyway—sometimes with baseball bats! She recalled, “You had to be better than best.  How about the average? The struggles and heart aches of the past are still being felt. We have a long way to go to reach the Promised Land. “

Reflecting on the present, Rev. Mason lamented, “Artifacts of the past include menacing white drivers ‘varooming’ their cars behind her on South Broadway! Many Tylerites don’t even know where Texas College is located.” {It’s located at 2404 N. Grand Avenue, north of MLK Blvd]. She felt more respected during segregation. “The ‘haves’ have more. We’re in the ‘midnight of life,’ ‘strangers in a strange land.’ Let’s sit down at the Welcome Table. Listen; look at character, intellect, and ability. All of us should be who we ought to be.”

Rev. Mason is proud to be a resident of north Tyler. She has been a member of Leadership Tyler, an integrated local think-tank. “We’ve never been more divided in the USA, but we’ll overcome some day. United we stand; divided we fall.”  She concluded with a quote by Henry David Thoreau, “It’s never too late to give up prejudice. Speak and listen.”

After another excellent song by Demetrick Tezino, Clarence Shackelford showed a model of the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in Washington, DC. Leroy Francis donated the statue. Then Mr. Shackelford announced the Award Presentations. Mr. Shackelford, a noted photographer and Army veteran, is the founder of the Texas African-American Museum.  Dr. Donna Pitts, a dentist won an award. She’s a graduate of Prairie View A&M and Howard; both are HBCUs. Our new Vice-President, Kamala Harris, is a Howard grad too; it’s located in Washington, DC. Dr. Pitts works for Franklin Dentists in Tyler, and she’s a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (pink and green colors). Vicki Betts, a librarian, won an award for historical research. (By the way, she’s a little White lady). Rodney L. Atkins also won an award for historical research by writing two books: Remembering When We Were Colored in Tyler, Texas and The History of African-American Teachers in Tyler ISD. He’s connected with the Victory Temple Church.Andre Crawford won the Golden Eagle Award for being the current director of the Tyler Barber College—the first Black institution of its kind in the USA! Tyler Barber College spread to other states. Barber shops have a long history of being community gathering places in Black neighborhoods.

Mayor Don Warren was invited to give some comments. Mayor Warren noted that when he saw an episode of Good Morning, America, kids quoted Martin Luther King, and then asked, “What’s wrong with America?” Mayor Warren, previously a long-time councilman, “wants to work with all of Tyler, so it will be unified and peaceful. “

The program concluded with miscellaneous remarks. A new Councilman for Section 1 said he used to be a fire chief in Tyler. Ed Thompson will do the construction work, and LLC will be the architect on the new museum. It is 5000 square feet—far bigger than the previous museum. The goal is $300K in renovations, but some of the money would go to outdoors construction–such as a playground and outdoor dining area. I suggested building an urban garden to Stanley Cofer, and I later sent my article on the topic. Lunch trucks would be invited as two were here for the festivities. Somebody was selling an African-American News Journal, based on newspaper articles for over a century. If the Texas African-American Museum gets 10K likes on Facebook, then they can have some advertisements there. TAAM is up to 5K likes at the time of the MLK Festival. Sadly, a minister noted that his kids were threatened in Whitehouse lately, a town just southeast of Tyler.

The 2021 Martin Luther King Day celebration was really different this year because of acquiring a better museum and having a North Tyler program. Due to the pandemic, there wasn’t the usual march down Broadway Avenue, followed by the program at Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral. Nevertheless, this year’s program was very uplifting and indicated real opportunities for Northside Revitalization that is now being pursued by the City of Tyler.  

Footnote: You can check out the edited version that was published in The Tyler Loop also. Thanks to Jane Neal. It’s posted at the top under the title.

Kwanzaa Reflections in 2020, by J.D. Meyer

We aren’t meeting in the Tyler, Texas Library in 2020 for Kwanzaa because of the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve been delivering official Kwanzaa speeches off-and-on since 2002—all but Faith Night out of seven nights. Of course, I check out Rev. Reginald Garrett for that last night.  I’ve published articles as well over the last couple of decades, and I’ve given some general Kwanzaa talks

But we need to do som’n in cyberspace for Kwanzaa. I want to go in the direction of health, specifically the OTC vitamins/minerals that I take on a daily basis. We need to boost our immune system, in case we catch the pandemic COVID19 virus!  OK, I’ve been on SSDI for a while for COPD, and I was invited to join the local Community Health Workers (CHW) coalition because of my Word Press articles and whatnot.

Here’s a great article about four great vitamins to boost your immune system: Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc and something called Quercetin. https://www.fox29.com/news/studies-suggest-4-vitamins-to-prevent-severe-cases-of-covid-19?utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=trueanthem&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR2mhleKuo_ULIzTTnIKZoO7X3LsDdEK9T7K3F9ZgwNE0LFKRZIhv-5S-Jw It’s a well-known fact that Vitamin D is activated by sunlight darkening your skin. So darker people need more Vitamin D.

Not all multiple vitamins are alike. Spring Valley Super Vitamin B-Complex has 9 vitamins–including C & B12. Nature Made B-Complex has 6 vitamins–including C. Ocuvite for macular degeneration has zinc, among 6 vitamins and minerals plus lutein.

My Return to Slice of Life (SOL): The Welcome Dog Figurine–A Present from a Student, by J.D. Meyer

I am returning to Slice of Life (SOL) Tuesdays, for I ran across some old posts on my main Word Press site and became nostalgic–such fine feedback from other participants. I’m going to start with the tale of my dog figurine with a “Welcome” sign; the sign dangles from a chain in his mouth. A student gave me the coffee mug-sized doggie as a present, back when I was a full-time Developmental English instructor at Texas College (2001-06)–the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities) of Tyler, TX.

I tutored Spanish for free–not part of my job description–chiefly because our Spanish instructor–Mr. Idrogo–was an adjunct, who taught a couple of nights per week while he taught Spanish full-time for one of Tyler’s two public high schools. We met a few times, and I found him to be likeable, and he approved of my tutoring efforts. I was the main translator for our classroom building’s custodian also; she was basically “Spanish Only.” I also developed a website through McGraw-Hill Pageout with a major Spanish section, but that company ended this program many years ago.

That dog sculpture is white with black spots and is sitting on his /her back legs with the front legs straight. Recently that “Welcome Dog” has been sitting on round table between my futon sofa and the TV. Right now, that doggie is on my desk-top computer desk and may stay there–less crowded furniture. Viewing that dog brings back great memories. I won a few formal teaching awards that normally ended up being a certificate pinned to the wall. Strathmore’s Who’s Who was an entry in a giant book. But that dog figurine from my student is really special. Here’s my current Spanish tutorial website, and it includes links to my main website at Academia.edu. https://spanishtutorialdotnet.wordpress.com/

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/.

Riding Yellow SE from Wal-Mart/Troup to Bergfeld Center during Reduced Schedule, by J.D. Meyer

Due to the Coronavirus crisis, Tyler Transit has temporarily ended the Green & Purple Lines while reducing times for the other three lines: Red, Yellow, and Blue. Update: The Red Line will follow the Purple North pathway after leaving Bergfeld Center; thus, it will go down Beckham AV and the two hospitals.

Since I need to catch the nearest Yellow SE to Bergfeld Center—Tyler Transit’s second bus hub–I need to work out a schedule.  I’m going to list the times for stops at the Yellow SE line.  Meanwhile, I‘ll acknowledge the gap of time when the Yellow line is in the Southwest.

6:00 am — 8:53 am.

11:22 am – 1:00 pm

3:22 pm – 5:45 pm.

https://www.cityoftyler.org/home/showdocument?id=1484   Yellow Line: Complete Map with Schedule & All Stops.

Reduced Yellow SE Line Schedule

6:00 am – 8:53 am

Yellow SW from 6:00 am – 6:52 am

6:52 Wal-Mart/ Troup

6:50 Golden/VA Clinic

7:08 UT-Tyler

7:18 Reach Bergfeld Center

8:14 Leave Bergfeld Center

8:19 Green Acres Shopping Center

8:29 Wal-Mart/Troup

8:37 Golden/VA Clinic

8:43 UT-Tyler

8:53 Reach Bergfeld Center

No Bus Until 11:22, Leave Bergfeld Center

11:22 am – 1:00 pm

11:22 Leave Bergfeld Center

11:27 Green Acres Shopping Center

11:37 Wal-Mart/Troup

11:45 Golden/VA Clinic

11:57 UT-Tyler

12:07 Reach Bergfeld Center (Go SW)

Yellow SW from 12:07 pm—1:00 pm

No Bus from 1:00 pm — 3:22 pm

Yellow SW from 3:22 pm – 4:10 pm.

3:22 pm – 5:45 pm

4:13 Leave Bergfeld Center

4:18 Green Acres Shopping Center

4:28 Wal-Mart/Troup

4:36 Golden/VA Clinic

4:42 UT-Tyler

4:52 Reach Bergfeld Center

Yellow SW from 4:52 pm – 5:45 pm

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.

 

 

Affordable Housing & Increased Interest in Downtown Revitalization in Tyler, Texas by J.D. Meyer

“Affordable housing in Tyler: What do you want to know?The Tyler Loop, an in-depth digital magazine, and the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Tyler’s daily newspaper, are teaming up to help our community better understand a topic that’s on a lot of people’s minds.” My editorial will provide some answers to two of the five questions. “What does affordable housing in Tyler look like today? Where is it?” https://thetylerloop.com/what-do-you-want-to-know-about-affordable-housing-in-tyler-were-reporting-together-to-answer-your-questions/ Furthermore, I will address the “increased interest in downtown revitalization” too.

As a former teacher, who has a HUD-subsidized apartment, I feel compelled to provide information and maybe some commentary. Furthermore, I have been volunteering with the East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN) for several years, and their Housing Committee provides these findings. http://www.ethnn.org/housing.html

The WorldPopulationReview.com http://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/tyler-tx-population/cites the census for its statistics on average income and rent. The Tyler Texas 2019 population estimate is 105,729. Tyler median household income is $46,463/year, and the median rent is $864/month. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/  Spending no more than 30% of your income on rent is acceptable; this figure is only 22.21% on rent. Yet the average earnings are only $31, 414/year. According to this figure, we spend an average of 33% on rent. Poverty is 20.21%.

Section 42 Internal Revenue Code makes apartments affordable through cooperation of private industry and the federal government. Even if I wasn’t on HUD, there’s a smaller discount for those looking for affordable apartments. My complex has the plaque on an office wall. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-Income_Housing_Tax_Credit

Here’s a list of 20 Low Income apartments in Tyler. Our listings include:
  1. HUD apartments
  2. Section 8 apartments
  3. Public Housing apartments
  4. Non-profit senior and family low income apartments
  5. Low income tax credit apartments (LIHTC)

https://www.lowincomehousing.us/TX/tyler.html

This should represent a good start for a study of affordable housing in Tyler. Tyler attracts a wide age range through its three colleges, and it is a senior welcoming city. Healthcare, with its two large hospitals and many different types of doctors, is the leading employment field of the city. https://livability.com/tx/tyler Cities like Tyler are nicknamed “Eds & Meds” economies.

Now let’s look at Downtown Tyler and the interest in continued revitalization. It began with the Heart of Tyler https://www.heartoftyler.org in 1987. It became a Main Street program in 1990. The Main Street 4-Point Approach is Organization, Promotion, Economic Restructuring, and Design. Tyler Center is Houston ST on the south, Beckham AV on the east, Palace on the west, and Bow on the north by https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/tx/tyler/city-center.   This website analyzes the real estate situation. Nearly 1/3 of rental properties are small 2, 3, or 4 unit apartment buildings—higher than 95% of the USA. Median real estate price is $73, 655—less expensive than 90.5% of Texas. Rental price is $953/month, better than 81.7% of Texas. The majority of the Tyler Central population is low income—more than almost 94% of the USA! More people are moving to Downtown Tyler, as almost 98% didn’t live there five years ago. At 25.6%, the real estate vacancy is higher than 91.5% of the USA.  To conclude, Central Tyler should continue to draw in more residents.

This analysis of Downtown Revitalization could have focused on a variety of factors—such as the Art Gallery, restaurants, murals, etc. However, I chose to analyze who actually lives there and why you could move there too.

Walkability, by J.D. Meyer

Let’s explore walkability—a key concept in urban studies/planning. Does your city have enough sidewalks—especially downtown? Downtown Tyler, Texas has a commendable Walk Score of 72, but the overall city only scores 35. https://www.walkscore.com/TX/Tyler  I’ve lived in four Tyler neighborhoods; walkability scores range from 24 to 66. Midtown/Hospital District is the best (66), and Hollytree in South Tyler is the worst (24).. Suburban sprawl is based on the domination of cars, and that leads to more traffic and air pollution. Can you easily walk to nearby bus stops?

The only time I really love the term—conservative—is when it’s preceded by the adjective: “fiscal.” I’m not the kind of liberal who would claim a need for concrete sidewalks on both sides of virtually all streets—unless it’s downtown. As long as one side of a major street has a paved sidewalk, your walking experience will be adequate. Moreover, flat land could get away with a trimmed dirt path through the grass. Not just a bus rider, I have considerable experience walking in Tyler—mainly in Midtown (66), Downtown (72), North Tyler (49 & 55), and Southeast Tyler (31).

Sidewalks could be downright dangerous if the land is slanted at a 45 degree angle! Hopefully, the pedestrian would have crossed the street by that time. On the other hand, a hilly path like across the street from Shiloh Road Learning Center could be a hazardous walk without paving or a trail. I recall a sidewalk in Midtown that was dangerously broken, and it could have been improved with some asphalt. Furthermore, bus ridership can improve with good sidewalks on the way to the bus stops.

Let’s hope my observation as a bus rider/pedestrian helps in our development of walkability. Check out this most walkable cities article with a map (at least a 100K population). http://www.governing.com/topics/urban/gov-most-walkable-cities.html

 

 

Cactus (Nopalitos): Why Fresh is Better than Pickled, by J.D. Meyer

I’ve been a major fan of sliced cactus (nopalitos) for many years.
I’d compare the flavor and texture to a cross between a bell pepper or
poblano pepper and okra. Admittedly, I’ve never bothered to buy the
whole pad from the vegetable section of the grocery store and carve
the quills out of them in my kitchen. However, usually I get the pickled
variety in a jar, and I save the jars for leftovers. Fresh bags of sliced
nopalitos in the vegetable section are confined to Mexican grocery
stores—such as La Michoacana. Cactus (Nopalitos) seems to find its
way to restaurants/taquerias either with beef fajitas or scrambled eggs
in a breakfast taco.

Finally, I read the nutritional information from two empty bags of
fresh nopalitos, and two jars from pickled nopalitos. The nutritional
data is staggering. Vinegar and salt deplete nutrients!
Let’s start by looking at that fresh bag of sliced cactus by Latin
Specialties. One cup contains the following: Calcium—39%,
Potassium—17%, Vitamin A—22%, Vitamin C—36%, Dietary
Fiber—20%, Iron–8%, Sodium—2%, Protein—6%, Carbohydrate—3% &
Fat—0%. The statistics for Ortega’s Nopalitos are virtually the same,
except the Potassium amount is unknown.

On the other hand, let’s look at the convenient pickled cactus in a
jar. Two tablespoons of Dona Maria Nopalitos has no Calcium, no
Potassium, Vitamin A—2%, no Vitamin C, no Dietary Fiber, no Iron,
Sodium—23%, No Protein, Carbohydrate nor Fat. Meanwhile, a half
cup of El Mexicano Nopalitos has the following: Calcium—5%, no
Potassium, no Vitamin A, no Vitamin C, no Dietary Fiber, Iron—6%,
Sodium—21%, Protein—2%, Carbohydrate—1% & Fat—0%.

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