As I pen my final editorial of 2015, I am truly amazed at what this year has wrought in not only my personal life, but also the lives of all Black Houstonians. As an individual who was born and raised in Acres Homes, “the Fo-Fo”, this year most certainly ended on an upswing with the election of Mrs. Amanda Edwards to the Houston City Council At-Large Position four and Sylvester Turner captured Houston’s Mayor’s Office. Although I most certainly applaud Mrs. Edwards on her historic win, however, it is Sylvester Turner’s victory that has resonated within my soul.
I find it truly ironic that as I reflect upon Sylvester Turner’s Mayoral victory that the words of a non-African-American, Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States of America, are at the forefront of my mind.
President Calvin Coolidge once issued the following remark that has resonated across time for all of those who realize that focus, hard work, diligence, and perseverance are the raw ingredients of success..
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
—– Calvin Coolidge —–
Now I am certain that more than a few readers are thinking, what does the above quote have to do with Sylvester Turner? Thoughts that President Coolidge’s comment has little to do with Sylvester Turner are only natural as he has served as not only a celebrated attorney, but also a State Representative in the Texas Senate for the better part of two decades. Unbeknownst to many, Turner’s current success was preceded by several earlier political losses.
In 1984, Turner failed at his initial foray into electoral politics when he ran for Harris County Commissioner and lost to El Franco Lee. Additionally, Turner would lose his first two attempts at capturing the Houston Mayoral Office (1991 & 2003). The initial attempt at being Houston’s Mayor ended when he lost a runoff election to Bob Lanier. Turner placed third in his 2003 Mayoral campaign, thereby missing the opportunity to participate in a runoff election.
The best measure of Turner, as is true of all of us, is not in what he has achieved, rather in how many times he has risen from defeat. Turner’s recent Mayoral win should serve as notice to all Black Houstonians, young and old, that you may be rightfully considered the underdog, especially if you have been repeatedly knocked down by the trials-and-tribulations of life, however, that status does not mean that your dreams are not achievable. President Calvin Coolidge’s admonishment that “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent” should give each of us reason to believe in what others have told us are beyond our capabilities.
When you hear such talk, just smile, think about the newly elected Mayor, grab your two friends persistence and determination, and work toward your goal as if your life depends upon it.
I hope that the Acres Homes community of which I am a part of, takes a moment to celebrate this historic moment of producing the first home grown African-American Mayor that the city of Houston has ever had; as well as Mrs. Amanda K. Edwards city-wide electoral victory. However, after we have basked in this accomplishment for a moment, it would serve us well to remember Calvin Coolidge’s words and be about the business of moving the agenda of Black Houston forward even more.
Are you ready for the next challenge? I certainly am.