INSTITUTIONAL POVERTY HAS BEEN PUT ‘ON NOTICE’- WE ARE COMING FOR YOU!
As a student of history, I have thoroughly enjoyed examining moments in time, imagined elements of historic events in my mind, and wondered what it was really like to have lived through those instances. I imagine being present when President Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg address, what was the atmosphere like, and did he realize how his speech would send ripples of elation and despair throughout our Country.
I wonder what 1900’s America looked like in the deep South. With the rise of the KKK, it could not have been good, in fact, it was probably even far worse than the history books have described. It was a time when the lines of segregation were being manufactured by those in power. Black and Brown families would be adversely affected for generations by the racism of that era. As a result of these segregated communities, the climb back out has been an arduous one.
I wish I could have been in the room when President Lyndon B Johnson drafted his notion to declare “War on Poverty” and signed into law major Civil Rights legislation. As a student of history, I would like to know what he truly envisioned would be the outcome from those initiatives. Furthermore, why did they fail to end generational poverty fifty-five years ago. As a result of his work, he also set in motion ripples that would push the movement to address poverty and inequities even further. However, the fact that poverty still exists in many of the same San Antonio neighborhoods that were impoverished in the 60’s, it is not hard to conclude that his War was not won.
Why is this point relevant? It is because Alamo Colleges has in its own way declared war on poverty too. We have been building our Army of advocates and supporters, and have unearthed champions across the City, County, and State to help. Our weapon is called the Alamo Promise and we are already marching forward. We have put institutional poverty on notice, we are coming for you – AND – WE will give everything we have to win. It is our moment in history. Our opportunity to take on an enemy that has kept large portions of our community impoverished.
Like many wars, things occur that were unexpected and as we get ready for this fight, we have recently encountered a formidable threat that was not on our radar 8 months ago. The culprit is COVID-19, and it has wreaked havoc in our community, thrown off some of our momentum, and forced us to modify our approach, BUT it has not and will not derail us.
Even before COVID-19, we recognized the climb was going to be steep for some of our first time in college students. COVID-19 has simply magnified some of those obstacles. As I prepare for our budget meetings next weekend, I will continue to examine budget allocations and their impact on District 2. I have an aggressive agenda for ensuring our district, and our Alamo Promise scholars, receive the resources they need to help them succeed. I will keep fighting for District 2.