<i>Inauguration Was an Honor with Fellow Tulsans</i>

Tulsa Mayor

UNION IN D.C.: As Tulsa’s mayor, I was proud to have been in Washington, D.C. for the presidential inauguration with members of the Union High School ROTC program. The students in the photo include Jessica Robinson, William Gray, William Coombs, Jorden Aldrich, Mason Carriger, Amanda Schatzmann, Teylor Tottress, Jesse Sturm and Caleb Barber.

Courtesy Mayor Kathy Taylor

On the third Monday in January, every four years, Americans gather to witness the validation of our unique democracy. This January I had the honor of standing alongside fellow Tulsans who came to Washington D.C. to view the inauguration of a new president. It was fitting that the same moment, we celebrated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King and heard again the familiar words he spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial from decades past. But, on this day, those words spoken so many years ago, seemed to resonate with a force that reached all the way to the steps of the Unites States Capitol.

I watched with pride the inauguration ceremony and stood with my family and other Tulsans to see the parade that followed. Most significant was the participation of Tulsa’s own Union JROTC marching in the parade preceding the new president. These students are among Tulsa’s brightest and best. They represented our city with pride and they represent the hope that our nation and our world can achieve a sustainable peace.

The positive energy found among the many Tulsans attending the inauguration was contagious and they certainly reflect the optimism and spirit found in our city these days.

Just recently I had the opportunity to meet Lucille Figures who just celebrated her 100th birthday. Mrs. Figures is a lifelong Tulsan and has been a member of the Vernon Chapel AME Church for 87 years. She is also a survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots. She shared her birthday with friends, with her fellow church members and with six generations of her family in attendance. It is clear what a positive impact she has had on our city, on her family and her church.

While attending the inauguration, I met a young boy named Orion. This young Tulsan was full of energy and optimism. His mother is a teacher and his father is an employee with American Airlines. This family drives home the purpose of what we are all working towards as a community. We want a better quality of life, good jobs and more educational opportunities for our children.

Mrs. Figures and Orion both demonstrate amazing hope for the future of our city. One is looking through the eyes of experience and wisdom. The other, through the eyes of someone whose young life has presented no limits as to all he can achieve.

What a great time to be a Tulsan. We certainly are facing challenges, especially in the current economic environment. But Tulsa has a history of finding opportunities during challenging times. We know how to move past our differences, put aside partisan labels, roll up our sleeves and work together as a community to get things done.

Great things are happening in Tulsa and I am very pleased that Greater Tulsa Reporter is giving me the opportunity over the following months to use this column to share with you some of those things and some of the people who are working to make them happen.

Updated 01-26-2009

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