Economic Justice in San Antonio, Texas: Project QUEST

By Wauters, Will | Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2010 | Go to article overview

Economic Justice in San Antonio, Texas: Project QUEST


Wauters, Will, Anglican Theological Review


As Vicar of Santa Fe Episcopal Church on the south side of San Antonio, Texas in the early 1990s, my pastoral experience in this poor barrio saw an increase in incidents of alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, teen pregnancies, and gang violence. After breaking up a gang initiation of a young girl in the parking lot of our church, I had the opportunity to talk with some of the young girls. I mentioned to them that life could be bigger and better than sex, drugs, rock and roll, and the violence of la vida loca. They all disagreed, and said what chance did they have to make a better life? There were no jobs in San Antonio. Needless to say, I was pretty depressed that afternoon.

There was truth in their perception. Several south and west side companies that paid decent wages - including the Roegelein meat packing plant, Miller Curtain, and San Antonio Shoes - had all closed their doors. Two of the largest employers, Levi Strauss and Kelly Air Force Base, the main source of middle class income for south and west side families, were closing. The perception of San Antonio's economic downturn was pervasive. Even Red McCombs, a leading businessman, barked at a meeting of business leaders, "What are we doing here? There are no jobs in San Antonio!" San Antonio was an economy in transition. We had lost some fourteen thousand jobs in manufacturing, textiles, transportation, and other low-skill, modest-wage occupations.

Santa Fe Episcopal Church was a dues-paying member of a broad-based community organization named Metro Alliance. Together with our sister organization, Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS), we were affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). COPS/Metro represented over fifty congregations and ninety thousand people. In talking with other clergy, we found that a crisis was already surfacing in the same pastoral tragethes experienced at Santa Fe. Instead of merely looking to resolve the immediate concerns, we examined instead this economic downturn as a causal factor in the violence, abuse, and tragedy in our parishioners' lives.

COPS/Metro embarked on a two-pronged research strategy. One looked internally at our communities, and the other looked externally to see what the job situation really was. The tried-and-true methodology of IAF community organizations is to begin with house meetings to elicit the metis or intuitive knowledge embedded in the real-life experience of our folks. What we found after hundreds of house meetings was a hard-working, loyal workforce that had a dismal experience with formal education and an even more dismal experience with educational providers that promised increased skills for higher paying jobs. Indeed, a common experience was one of incurring debt through the student loans necessary to complete their training and a nearly nonexistent track record of finding a better job. This experience of exposing their lack of education and feeling swindled by the job training proprietary schools left many with a sense of shame. It was only in trustworthy house meetings that many opened up with their stories. When they realized that they were not alone, there was a surge of anger and the passion that led to a struggle to change the labor market in San Antonio.

On the other side, COPS/Metro leaders conducted nearly forty meetings with various business leaders in San Antonio to discover what their needs were as employers. What we discovered was that while San Antonio had lost fourteen thousand low-skilled jobs, it had also gained nineteen thousand jobs in higher skilled areas that also paid better. At a meeting with Callie Smith, the CEO of the Baptist Hospital system, he disclosed that he had three hundred jobs that he needed filled that very day. Indeed, virtually all the business leaders in the allied health field were desperate for nurses, radiology techs, respiratory techs - all the allied health positions. The airplane industry was looking for skilled sheet metal workers, and there were also hundreds of jobs available in electronics and technology. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Economic Justice in San Antonio, Texas: Project QUEST
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.