Lt.Gen­eral Rus­sel Honore brings or­der and peace

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By DAPHNE TAY­LOR Special for South Florida Times

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla.- You didn't have to sit too long to learn how Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Rus­sel Honore feels about Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's "Sh---hole" com­ment.

Speaking be­fore a packed crowd Fri­day night, Jan. 19 at the Riviera Beach Ma­rina Event Cen­ter for the city's Dr. Martin Luther King Gala, Honore told the crowd that many for­mer and cur­rent troops come from those "sh--hole" coun­tries the pres­i­dent re­ferred to, when he asked why we re­ceive im­mi­grants from such coun­tries. Honore said ev­ery­one should be proud of those sol­diers and their ser­vice.

Honore, who is of­ten fea­tured on CNN for restor­ing or­der and peace after nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and riots, was the key­note speaker at the MLK Gala, and al­though he touched on cur­rent events such as Trump's re­marks and even the Me, Too move­ment for women, his main theme for the night was the need for education--specif­i­cally learn­ing to read.

Even at his Honore Cen­ter for Un­der­grad­u­ate Stu­dent Achieve­ment in Louisiana, a pro­gram to foster higher education in males , grad­u­ates are man­dated to be­come a class­room teacher for two years.

"If we get our education, we could be any­thing!" he said in a loud, bol­ster­ing tone. "Our chal­lenge to­day is to get our young peo­ple to ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity they have!"

Honore left no stones un­turned when he spoke of education. He even chal­lenged the au­di­ence. "When was the last time you told your child to read a cou­ple of pages to you? Go home, get them out of that bed and tell them to read to you! Too many of our youth who can't read end up in the con­tra­band so­ci­ety. If your chil­dren and grand­chil­dren tell you they want some­thing --tell them 'ok,' but first read me a cou­ple of pages!" he ad­mon­ished.

He re­counted the cor­re­la­tion be­tween in­car­cer­a­tion and the lack of education. "The ones who end up in­car­cer­ated can't read.We don't have a seg­re­ga­tion prob­lem, we have an education prob­lem. If you can't read, you can't nav­i­gate," he stated.

Honore is a re­tired Lieu­tenant Gen­eral who served as the 33rd com­mand­ing gen­eral of the U.S. First Army at Fort Gillem, Ge­or­gia. But he is most known for be­ing the no-holds barred com­man­der, bring­ing or­der after Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina. On Au­gust 31, 2005, Honoré was des­ig­nated com­man­der of Joint Task Force Ka­t­rina re­spon­si­ble for co­or­di­nat­ing mil­i­tary re­lief ef­forts for Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina-af­fected ar­eas across the Gulf Coast. Honoré's ar­rival in New Or­leans came after what was widely be­lieved to be a poor per­for­mance by the state and lo­cal agen­cies, the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA) and its di­rec­tor Michael D. Brown. Honore gained me­dia celebrity and ac­co­lades for his ap­par­ent turn­ing around of the sit­u­a­tion in the city as well as his gruff man- age­ment style which con­trasted with what many felt were the empty plat­i­tudes of civil­ian of­fi­cials.

"We need to act like this bat­tle is de­pend­ing on us... in­di­vid­u­ally. We can't go back.We won't go back. Each one of us has to fig­ure out how we're go­ing to make a dif­fer­ence. Your mis­sion starts right here --on this block, in your fam­ily. The gov­ern­ment is not good enough to do this. If it was, it would've been done al­ready. Now is time to act," he said in clos­ing, "but now we need you to act. And you don't need to go far. Start right here where you are."

He also con­grat­u­lated women for speaking out against sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies, Honor­able At­tor­ney, Ed­win Fer­gu­son, ac­knowl­edged the top city work­ers and com­mu­nity lead­ers listed be­low: • Se­nior Cit­i­zen of the Year: Mrs. Jessie Gray • Cit­i­zen of the Year: Nak­ishia Free­man • Com­mu­nity Part­ner of the Year: Ka­t­rina Granger • Prin­ci­pal of the Year: San­dra Ed­wards • Cus­tomer Ser­vice Em­ployee of the Year: Wil­liam Booker • Busi­ness of the Year: Tony's Subs • Youth of the Year: Charg­ers Cheer and • Dance Teams Em­ployee of the Year: De­brah Hall-McCul­lon

Hall-McCul­lon said she cried for three days after learn­ing she was Em­ployee of the Year. "I truly, truly, truly love my city," she said. "I was born and raised here, I work here, and I en­joy pro­mot­ing my city," she said.

"When Dr. King said, "I have a dream--there are many ways to end that sen­tence," said Honore. "We have come a long way, but there's much more we need to do," he said. "You can all start right here and right now. But if you're not go­ing to sacri­fice, then stay home. If you're not will­ing to sacri­fice, then you're not go­ing to be a giver, you're go­ing to be a taker," he said.


KEY­NOTE SPEAKER: Lt. Gen­eral Rus­sel Honore de­liv­ered a rous­ing speech at the Riv­iera Beach Ma­rina Event Cen­ter, MLK Gala on Jan­uary 19th.


(Left to right) Ma­jor Gen­eral Michael A. Cal­houn, tops the Flor­ida Na­tional Guard and is the first black to hold that po­si­tion. He in­tro­duced Lt. Gen Rus­sel Honore (right), key­note speaker, at the Riv­iera Beach Dr. Martin Luther King Gala.

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