Covering the WestSide as it is today and Challenging everyone to become involve as we move into the future.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Delores left giant footsteps for us to follow
When we lose people in our lives, we always want to ask the question: "Why?" Why did they die so soon? What about them made God want them now and not later? Why does God take some and not others? I can't answer those questions but I can ponder the responses. I have concluded that when God called Delores McCain home, it was because he had a big story and only she could report on it. Lord knows she knew how to lift every stone to get to the answers.
She was everywhere and on top of everything. She was an opinionated voice who brought many ideas to the table. And she loved this newspaper and reporting for it. One of my earliest memories of the Austin Weekly News was seeing my neighbor's brother-in-law in the Streetbeat section. I felt like he was a star getting his picture and comments in a newspaper. Over the years, that part of the paper has always been my favorite. Delores handled that feature and I loved being able to see the average Austinite's opinion regarding current issues.
The first time I ever met Delores, I was sitting at home in front of my computer and the phone rang. It was Dee. I will always remember that call because since I don't have an office at the Weekly, I was honored that she took the time to reach out to me. I was a new person writing for the paper and she had read what I had written and wanted to get to know me. I remember we talked about a number of things, but mostly about the paper and my writings.
Over the years, I would run into Dee at different events. It was always a pleasure to see her. Why will I miss her? Because she was a source of information and would freely pass on her knowledge. If an important event happened where she got the "inside" photos, she passed it on. I still have a number of emails in my inbox where she sent me things that no one else did. Delores and I both shared a passion for how black people are portrayed in the media. We both have been advocates in making sure this neighborhood paper does its best to put out real news and information. Her shoes will be hard to fill, but anyone walking down the path she forged will have giant footsteps to follow.
When you saw Delores McCain, 99 percent of the time she had Frank Pinc by her side. He was her photographer and Frank's "other wife." They traveled together so often as a team that I couldn't imagine Delores doing anything without him. Even after Frank announced his "retirement," I still saw the two of them together doing Streetbeat. Life will go on after Delores' passing, but what she added while here is immeasurable.
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Arlene Jones' Biography
I was born in Chicago. I grew up in Cabrini Green. I attended Wells Sr High, the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle where I majored in Spanish and minored in Education. I have a diploma in Computer Programming.
I moved to Austin when I purchased a home here. I have two children.
I have been active in the community since moving here. I started with my blockclub. In the early 1990s, I worked with several people to try and form the North Austin Homeowners Association. I even went on patrol with a group of people who had a walkie talkie car patrol of the neighborhood.
As with most programs in the AA community, many factors led to the demise of those groups. Lack of support from elected officials was at the top of the list.
There were several people who had a group and we met out of DaVinci Manor. DaVinci Manor was at the corner of North Ave and Central where Walgreen now stands. Again there was very little interest in saving that building and our community lost a beautiful hall.
I have protested the state of the Central Ave bridge. I worked with Leola Spann and did many a smoke out including one in the 1500 block of North Lorel where drug paraphenalia layed on the ground. I have over the years here in Austin worked with the following groups at one point or another:
Northeast Austin Organization (Mary Volpe, Tom Hosea);
Northwest Austin Council;
Brotherhood of Black Men;
Westside Health Authority;
Every Block A Village;
25th District Housing Committee;
African American Employees at the Merchandise Mart (AAEMM);
Lafollette Park Advisory Council;
Garfield Park Conservatory Advisory Council;
Westside Executive Advisory Council;
Austin Landmark Cultural Center;
Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park
and so many others that it gets hard to remember.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. -- Malcolm X