Dear Editor:

The tragic events which have transpired over the last several weeks have weighed heavily on my heart. As a native of New Orleans, resident of Houston for over 30 years, and a 60-year-old white man, I will never know the pain of my black or brown brothers and sisters. I watched in total disbelief the video of the Minneapolis Police Department officer who murdered a man, while other officers watched and did absolutely nothing to help Mr. George Floyd. My wife, Julie, and I have three children, a daughter and two sons. I never had to prepare them for what could go wrong during a traffic stop, jogging down the street or how people would perceive them while they are out in public. I never consider that without cause, my children could automatically be deemed a threat just for the color of their skin. As a man who grew up in a racially mixed community in Algiers, Louisiana, I stand with the black community as well as communities of color against intolerance, discrimination and racism. Houston is the most diverse city in the nation. We as a city are proud of that, we promote and celebrate our diversity, but how can we be proud of that diversity when we are not treating black lives, brown lives, all communities of color with the dignity they deserve? I am a man of faith and believe these unfortunate events have provided us with an opportunity to grow as a society, embrace this pain together and put a stop to systemic abuse. This is painful, scary, hard, uncomfortable, raw and a true awakening. We must stand together against what happened to George Floyd and the many other heartbreaking ends to black lives throughout history. I am committed to listening. I am committed to creating awareness among my white peers. I am committed to being an ally of the black community.

Dave Martin, Mayor Pro Tem
Houston City Council



Dear Editor:

As many of you know, Texas businesses began reopening in phases earlier last month in compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s order. During this time, your parks remained open to provide a much-needed and well-used relief valve to let us get outdoors safely and responsibly. Soon we will resume normal parks and community center programs. Stay tuned for additional information and announcements on our Facebook page. Safety remains a priority in Precinct 4. We continue to encourage social distancing and proper hand-washing in our parks while limiting access to contact points like benches and playgrounds. With your help, we can help prevent new cases of COVID-19 in Harris County. Although our programs and activities remain on hold, we offer a variety of online material for parents and educators to use at home or in our parks. Visit our Precinct 4 Learning page to learn about nature and the outdoors, participate in online crafts, or download material for a self-guided tour at Mercer Botanic Gardens. You can learn more about this valuable resource online. I also encourage you to check out a feature on Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve’s orientation class in August. This fun-filled activity prepares you for exploring the outdoors and embarking on your next outdoor adventure. As a reminder, hurricane season began June 1. I encourage everyone to start preparing now.

Jack Cagle, Commissioner
Harris County



Dear Editor:

Trump recently has squandered two opportunities to help Americans. One opportunity concerns our coronavirus problem, for which we were unprepared. Instead of acting promptly, Trump downplayed it. When asked on 1-22-2020 if he was worried about a pandemic, Trump answered, “No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control.” Today (6-7-2020) the U. S. death toll stands at 112,099, and it’s projected to be 140,496 by 8-4-2020. The 2nd opportunity concerns Colin Kaepernick (former San Francisco 49ers quarterback), who in 2016 knelt as the national anthem was played at football games. Kneeling was his way of protesting racial injustice and police brutality against blacks in the U. S. Kaepernick’s actions infuriated Trump, who said, “Get that son of a bit— off the field!” The NFL sided with Trump and Kaepernick has been unable to get a job in pro football since then. Instead of listening to Kaepernick and others in an honest effort to address their grievances, Trump turned to them a deaf ear, and look what has happened since then. George Floyd’s death is just the latest in a string of black folks dying at the hands of white police officers and civilians. And the problem transcends deaths. For centuries, many whites have treated blacks as “no-class citizens.” Trump had a chance to do some real good but he flubbed it. And as recently as Friday (6-5-2020), Trump said, “No kneeling!” (during the national anthem’s playing). What stupidity from our president! The self-styled “genius” seems to have no conception of the problem. I hope soon to see Kaepernick back at quarterback, steps taken to address his grievances and someone else as U. S. president.

Bill Bailey



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