Other Voices

Who’s angry now?

The crowd passes the Fort Worth Convention Center during a "Day of Action" to protest the Texas Senate SB-4 bill against sanctuary cities in downtown Fort Worth, Tuesday, August 1, 2017.
The crowd passes the Fort Worth Convention Center during a "Day of Action" to protest the Texas Senate SB-4 bill against sanctuary cities in downtown Fort Worth, Tuesday, August 1, 2017. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Yoko Ono once said, “I realized that if my thoughts immediately affect my body, I should be careful about what I think. Now if I get angry, I ask myself why I feel that way. If I can find the source of my anger, I can turn that negative energy into something positive.”

So that’s what I am doing.

When I heard about the resolution by the Fort Worth City Council to considered endorsing Councilman Jungus Jordan to serve on the Board of Directors for the National League of Cities, I knew that I had to oppose it.

My decision to speak against placing him in this capacity, which seats him in an influential role over Fort Worth’s race and culture task force, comes after his decision to vote against joining litigation against SB 4. On Aug. 29, I attended the City Council meeting and voiced my opposition.

Some said it was pointless because the council was already set on voting for Jordan, nevertheless, I felt it necessary to speak on the matter — though the council did vote unanimously for his endorsement.

One of the duties of the task force is to, “advise council-members on a strategy to promote racial and cultural equity.”

Racial equity is suppose to push back against the disparities and injustices that create division.

It requires involvement from community leaders and the community itself. However, if the community leaders are dismissing the concerns of the community when they present them, then the work is counterproductive. Community leaders cannot establish racial equity without first acknowledging the issues that are fracturing the community.

Staying in touch with those in less-fortunate neighborhoods is key in jump-starting true racial equity. Visiting a community center during ribbon cutting ceremonies or when the spotlight is on because you made a monetary donation is not enough.

It’s not the place to start.

It starts with assembling a team that will go door to door to speak with the fearful, the tired and the broken; that is where you begin the conversation.

Jordan stated to the Star-Telegram in July that “nothing is accomplished by anger,” but I beg to differ. Anger can be constructive, and anger is what will put a leader in the District 6 seat.

To Jordan I dare ask, when was the last time that you visited a senior center and asked what they’re concerned about?

I’ve done it and SB 4 is one of those concerns. I’ve stared into the fearful eyes of some of the seniors that make up our city.

When was the last time that you visited a community center, brought your family and asked what you could do to help their community programs?

I’ve done it and I will continue to do these things to assist in their efforts.

You cannot effectively lead if you’re disengaged from the people.

As a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps, I understood that I couldn’t lead my Marines if I didn’t take the time to have a conversation with them. I had to ask all the right questions to build their trust and confidence in my abilities to look out for their welfare. When you lose sight of those conversations, complacency kicks in; and from one military veteran to another, we both know what complacency does — it gets people killed.

In my opinion Jordan — as a board member for the National League of Cities — doesn’t bring to the table an ability to deliver on its value of racial justice. The fact that Jordan couldn’t stand against a law that will victimize much of his district is cause for concern.

I have an insightful recommendation: Remove Jordan from the board of the National League of Cities and replace him with someone who will better represent the people.

Tristeza Ordex-Ramirez is a retired Marine Corps staff sergeant and activist studying political science at Texas Wesleyan University.