UHD President William Flores welcomed approximately 100 community and business leaders to the Willow Street Pump Station for an educational luncheon about Houston’s Citizenship Month 2013, which will occur in November.
This year’s commemoratory month marks the fifth anniversary of the volunteer-driven event that celebrates Houston’s great diversity and civic engagement through hundreds of events across the city. As a result of the citywide support for last year’s celebration, Houston Mayor Annise Parker extended the festivities from one week to one month beginning in 2013.
UHD is a proud sponsor and Dr. Flores is an honorary co-chair of Citizenship Month 2013. Dr. Noël Bezette-Flores, assistant dean of the College of Public Service, will continue her service as co-chair for the celebration, along with fellow co-chair Claudia Ortega-Hogue, director of civic engagement for the Southwest regional office of the NALEO Educational Fund.
During the luncheon, Dr. Flores shared how closely the mission of Citizenship Month and UHD align, especially the outreach efforts of the University’s Center for Public Service and Family Strengths, which provides internships and workshops and promotes service learning.
He also drew parallels to the community-focused Open the Door art project, hosted by the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts, which seeks to break down social barriers and cultural stereotypes while focusing on intercultural understanding. In fact, over lunch, Dr. Flores unveiled the door, painted by UHD’s Director of the O’Kane Gallery Mark Cervenka and French artist Clément Laurentin, which depicts exploration and the human experience. Their door will reside permanently at the University’s Willow Street Pump Station, a fixture on the Open the Door cultural trail.
Dr. Flores is the education ambassador and Dr. Bezette-Flores serves on the education committee for the Open the Door project.
Attendees also heard from Houston’s First Lady, Kathy Hubbard, as well as Dr. Bezette-Flores and Terence O’Neill, division manager of the city’s Office of International Communities.
Beginning Nov. 1, 2013, Houstonians can participate in a variety of Citizenship Month activities – from face-painting and magic shows for children to a tour of the city’s best restaurants – that bring together the city’s many intercultural communities and highlight the diversity that makes Houston strong.