Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The day I hugged Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

When I started my journey of civic engagement I thought about a blog.  But I didn't. After our June Civic Club meeting our director of communications suggested I might want to start one. The website,,  that she designed for us  has been so well received and each week our Facebook page has new friends so I decided to give this a go.

It's been six months since I became the President of the Westbury Civic Club and what a journey it has been.  We've had redistricting.  We've had METRO and the 90A rail line.  We've had the city budget cuts cause our community center to be slated for closing.  Can you say "Under seige?"

Last week Cindy Chapman, Janie Shexnayder, and two people who use the Platou center regularly, Christina and Tommy, headed down to City Hall to speak before the City Council Budget hearing. All five of us spoke..Janie, Christina and Tommy, for the first time.  I spoke once in the 80s when Kathy Whitmire was mayor against the low income housing project on Hillcroft; once when Bill White was mayor against the Ruffino Hills Trash Transfer Station for our neighbors in Brays Oaks.  Now twice before Mayor Parker. 

We met a woman from Cherryhurst whose center was also being closed and she invited us to a lunch with Doris Ellis the executive director of Emancipation Park to talk about what they have done to save their park.  THEN we went with them to Independence Heights to a press conference given by US Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Oh my Gosh!  They  say it shouldn’t take an act of congress to get things done…but in this case it did. Congresswoman  Sheila Jackson Lee reached out to the corporate community and Marathon Oil and Conoco- Philips came to the  rescue to save our centers for the summer. They donated 350,000 to the city to keep the summer programs operational.  CW Lee invited Westbury to the podium and I gave her a hug. Now that’s what I call a civic journey!