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By Floyd Miller | August 11, 2006

On the 31st of July a meeting was held in the City of Abilene. LULAC was the primary sponsor of the meeting. Those in attendance were Dr. LeRoy Gillam, President, Southeastern Christian Association, and Ms. Zena D. Crenshaw, attorney and legal activist {{more}} with the National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.In addition to these individuals there were about 150 citizens from the Abilene area. Many of them spoke about what they believe are injustices. Every person that spoke had a story, in some voices you heard anger, pain in others, disappointment in some, and in a few hopelessness, others cried. Those not attending this meeting were county and city officials. It was like the night before Christmas.” not one official was stirring, and I think they missed an opportunity.I think the elected officials should have been present, and some individuals in our city government who are not elected should have been there because of the influence you have on the lives of Abilene citizens. I believe that one of the qualities of good leadership is the ability to listen to the citizens. There is a difference in listening to someone and agreeing with him or her. However if you don’t listen it’s hard to make an intelligent decision. In my opinion it was not 150 citizens ignored that night, it was everyone in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas. In some strange way all of our fortunes rise and fall together. It’s amazing how one event not attended has the potential to affect everyone in the County.I heard Dr. Gillam in an interview on KSLI 1280 AM a few days ago. He said that he would be back in Abilene on August 19th. He did not say who would be coming with him, but he did mention one group that he was visiting with and one individual. If this group or individual come with him we will have the national media in town and they probably won’t be singing the praises of Abilene. A thirty second story on the evening news could negate all the hard work the Convention and Visitors Bureau, has done over the last few years. Instead of that convention coming to Abilene it goes to Lubbock and they visit Prairie Dog Village, how sad they missed out on Frontier Texas . A group of executives with the Abilene Industrial Foundation has just boarded a plane at LAX, they are heading home after making a powerful presentation to the Board of Directors of “XYZ “ about relocating and creating 300 high paying jobs in Abilene. These executives are tired but they are excited they think this one will really happen. In the meantime the Board of Directors of “ XYZ” is warming up to the idea of coming to Abilene until the see that nagging news story play over and over throughout the weekend. On Monday morning the Board of “XYZ” meets and they decide to relocate to Amarillo.I believe that Abilene is a good place to live however, I believe that our leaders must be willing to meet with it’s citizens. I don’t think anyone enjoys being in a group where some people are angry, others are sad, some are in pain, some are crying and others feel hopeless. It is this environment that leadership comes to the forefront it helps, encourages and finds solutions. If a problem is ignored that does not mean that it does not exist.I am reminded of the age-old question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound.” Yes it does.

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