Culture on the table
The Graduate College of Social Work held a round table discussion Friday on how Houston can contribute in changing the society as we know it through multiculturalism.
Guest speakers such as Professors Steven Klineberg and Jean Kantambu Latting, the Rev. T.J. Martinez and former city council member Gordon J Quan were on the panel, which was moderated by GCSW alumna Christopher Brown.
“Houston, Leading America’s Future” pointed out ways the University can have an impact on not only Houston’s growing future, but our communities as well because of the decrease in importance placed on Houston’s location.
“The source of Houston’s wealth in the 20th century had everything to do with our location in the east Texas oil fields,” Klineberg said. “Houston’s location that accounted for everything in the 20th century is going to count for less and less and eventually nothing in the 21st century.”
Martinez founded and is president of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston, which is located on the southeast side of the city.
“What we have done is that we’ve created a system of education that will empower students to reach their potential,” said Martinez. “One of the financial barriers that has kept our kids outside our schools and in the streets, especially in our private educational system, (is that education) costs too much. We have removed that barrier”.
Latting said that in order to assure Houston’s future, both social workers and ordinary citizens are important to help the growth of our city.
“People like you and me are a part of the social workers’ help also,” said Latting. “We all just want a better life.”
In a growing city of roughly six million people, multiculturalism will not happen overnight. The panel said the national and state governments will play a huge part, as will self-realization and understanding that everyone in Houston is responsible for the city’s future.
“We have in this city, I think, a great opportunity to bridge these gaps of social services,” says co-chairman of FosterQuann and former city council member Gordan Quan. “But there is a lack of knowledge of what’s out there, and who is trying to help?”