Do You Remember?
Gabriel George (My Gabe)
When I met Gabriel he was ten years old. He had met President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, he played the Violin and he was the face for the Sickle Cell Association. When we spoke back in 2009, he had only five crises, which caused him to be hospitalized. But his mother, Professor Shelly George, made sure he stayed hydrated and not get a cold. Gabe did not let Sickle Cell limit how he lived. He spoke to groups about living with Sickle Cell and how he managed it. When he met with President Obama, they spoke about his health care plan for people with Sickle Cell. He gave him a letter he wrote himself about how Sickle Cell effected his body.
My favorite memory from our interview was when Gabe introduced me to his goats that lived in their back yard (they had a lot of land). I held my first baby goat, he was so cute. But we accidentally let all the goats out and had to run them back into their cage, which was not an easy task. But we did it!
Today, Gabe is a teen-ager. He is doing well and he is still “my Gabe.” Sickle Cell is a disease that cripples many Black children and adults. It is a life-long blood disorder. For more information, you visit the Austin charter Marc Thomas Foundation which is a part of the Sickle Cell Association at http://www.sicklecellaustin.org/.
Dr. Chiquita Eugene
Dr. Eugene was the President and CEO of the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce, which has now been renamed the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce. At the time of our interview, she had been the president for three years.
Dr. Eugene worked to assist with the growth of small Black-owned businesses and provide resources. Another goal was to lead Black businesses and the business community to greater prosperity and influence within Central Texas. She now works for the City of Austin.
The Legacy Issue: A Tribute To Hometown Icons
Austin has many icons and we were able to share a few with the community in 2009. We spoke with Edward Overton Doyle, Sr., a Tuskegee Airman (1922-2009), Dr. Charles Akins, an educator with AISD, with a high school named after him, Judge Harriet Murphy, a pioneer of distinction, and Erma Williams, also an educator.
All of these Austin icons played a significant role in the history of Austin. It was great to take in all the history and knowledge each person offered during the interview. We salute them!
LeKisha McKinley, Helping Children Find Success Through Creative Thinking
LeKisha McKinley’s story caught the attention of Ujima because she took an idea and passion to help children learn and created her own program to help make a difference. She did not wait for anyone to put something into place, she saw a need and made something happen. This is what Ujima is all about.
When we met in 2009, McKinley had a strong belief in education and wanted to instill the love of learning as a necessary tool for success in children. I remember her face lighting up when she spoke about the program she started to help children reach their potential. The program she started was the AKC Institute of Learning. The goal was to enhance the the students’ educational foundation.
McKinley stated, “Children need to understand that they can be whatever they set out to be.”
James Roy and John Troy Jacobs-The Dynamic Duo
When I met James Roy and John Troy ,the two twin brothers, knew who they were and what they stood for. They stood for God first and foremost. They knew that their blessings in business all came from God.
We spoke about them being known as Double Portion because of their singing but they had just launched their entertainment group called Reflections Entertainment Group (REG). There father is a pastor of a church in Kyle and they were very active in their Youth Department. But no matter what business endeavor they did, it was very clear that it would be Christ-centered. They felt they were young entrepreneurs, which they were without a doubt.
The brothers are still following God’s plan for them and pursuing their dreams. They are very much involved with their church and entrepreneurial journey. One statement that stayed with me was “We like to set standards and God has always placed us in situations where we set the standard and lead the flock…to much is given and much is required.
I really enjoyed getting to know them and Ujima continues to wish them well.
For read more about these stories, please visit Ujima Magazine Cover Stand and Archives.
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Ujima Magazine Staff