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Interview with: Félix Fraga
Interviewed by: Frank Michel
Date: September 14, 2007
FM: My name is Frank Michel and we are here on September 14, 2007, talking to Félix Fraga about Houston and his life and experiences here for the Houston Oral History Project. Felix, thank you for coming to talk today.
FF: Frank, it is an honor to be asked to take part in this project.
FM: Now, you grew up here in the second ward.
FM: And there has been a lot written and said about your experiences there and I think I heard you talk about some of your family experiences and your brother being the first in your family to have a non-Hispanic friend.
FF: Oh, yes. Did I tell you about that?
FM: Yes. Talk about that, if you will.
FF: Well, we were very much segregated in the early 1930s. In fact, sometimes when I tell people when I was born, I tell them I timed my birth very badly. I was born the day after the stock market failed back in 1929. The stock market, I think, fell on Tuesday, the 29th, 1929. In fact, I think they call it Black Tuesday. I was born the next day, October 30, 1929. The following day was Halloween. So, I tell people my birth must have been a very scary day for my parents. For one thing, they did not need one more mouth to feed. So, back in the 1930s, we were actually segregated in school, in elementary. In fact, I think either right before the war in the early 1940s, LULAC had to fight a case - I do not know how far they went up in the courts, to let a youngster that lived across the street from Franklin Elementary which was all white, Anglo, had to walk across tracks and everything, about a half mile, to go to Days of Allah (sp?) which was considered . . . so, we were pretty much segregated. And then, when we went to junior high school they used to call it, it was the first time we sort of got to mix with Anglos. So, my brother Frank, who was older than I, went to Marshall Junior High before I did . . . I was really impressed one time when I saw a picture of him, he and an Anglo guy, had their arms around each other.
That was my first experience of any one of us in the Hispanic or Mexican American having an Anglo friend. We used to play with the black kids a lot but not ever with the Anglos. And you know, we weren't that far apart but it was just you knew where your border line was, you might say, what street you did not go beyond. In fact, I work at Ripley House now, Frank, and I have for many years but back then, Ripley House was opened in the 1940s and at the beginning, although it was not very far from Second Ward, we Mexican kids could not go there. I mean, it was not the policy of the agency. This was the neighborhood Anglo kids made sure you knew you were not welcome. So, we stayed in our part of the Second Ward and the Anglo kids in the other. But, you know, we did not feel discriminated on. We knew where we belonged and we had fun among us and never felt about going out and marching against discrimination. The ______ were beginning to get involved in that quite a bit but we kids weren't bothered by it, I guess you might say.
FM: Right. And a lot of your life, early life, settled around the Rusk Settlement House. You got involved in that.
FF: Right. That was our center and the Anglo kids had Ripley House. Now, we have it all ourselves. Yes, in fact, if it hadn't been for Ripley House, Frank, I don't know if I would even be alive today, you might say, because back then, in the _____ part of Second Ward, it was pretty rough. We had gangs. In fact, the first time I ever heard about anybody using marijuana, or the only people I knew that used marijuana were people that lived in our neighborhood through our part of town were Hispanics. Marijuana was not as much in the affluent neighborhoods, you might say, as it is today. But all the kids in our neighborhood that we went to Rusk Elementary and Rusk Settlement was right there if, at all, would go maybe a year or two to middle school and then drop out. And I had made it, I think, as far as the 8th grade back in 1946. I was about to drop out. My two older brothers had dropped out before. They did not finish. In fact, they both went off to the war. I was about to drop out. I thought I was telling people I had to go to work. And luckily for me, the people at the Rusk Settlement heard about my situation, told me that if I stayed in school, they would get me a job here at the Center and I took them up on it because I did not know where I was going to work. And they got me through high school and then they tutored me and I would work after school in the summer. Then, when I finished high school, they said, you know, if you want to go to college, the agency said they could get me a scholarship. And they found a service club. It was called the Pan American Round Table Ladies.
They got me a scholarship to University of Houston. I went there on a scholarship the first year and I made the baseball team there. In fact, my freshman year. So, the last 3 years, I was on a baseball scholarship and graduated. Continued working for the agency. And I guess by the time I graduated, they thought I could make a real social worker, so they said, if you want to go to graduate school of social work, 2 more years, they would get me a scholarship and I could keep working there. And I did not have any plans so I took them up on it and got my master's in social work. And I have been with the agency ever since. So, you might say I just sort of grew up with the agency. In fact, I went to child care at the Rusk Settlement when I was about 3 or 4 years old during the Depression, they used to recruit us to get us ready for preschool but we went for that meal we got at noon! Back in the Depression days, that was as important to us kids as whatever you learned in class. So, I tell people the first real meal I had ever gotten in my life was at the neighborhood centers at the Rusk Settlement.
FM: And you were a volunteer youth worker there?
FF: After that, yes, and this was when they told me, you know, stay in school and we will pay you for helping us like you are now, you know. And I got on the payroll in 1946. I think we were making, Frank, at that time $1.25 an hour. I don't know if that was the minimum wage or not. But I have been with them ever since.
FM: What was it like growing up in the Second Ward?
FF: You know, again, when everybody is sort of poor and you don't have much to go to ______, you don't even feel you are segregated. That was our whole life, just 3 or 4 blocks wherever we lived. In fact, we all had a good time. I mean, we weren't sitting around bemoaning our status, we played baseball in alleys and football. In fact, there is an esplanade on Navigation. Navigation was our main thoroughfare in Second Ward, and I do not know if that this is any wider than this carpet where we are sitting, and we used to play football up and down that. Cars would pass on both sides and no one ever got hurt. We had a good time. I think what helped the Hispanics back then was the Second World War. A lot of them went. Before they picked, they would go after what they called the CCC Camps - conservation something or other. They would go out and work . . .
FM: Civilian Conservation Corp.
FF: Is that what it was? It was part of Roosevelt's get us out of this Depression thing. And so, that was the only place where the older guys in our neighborhood were able to get a job. And then, those guys then went off to war and again, that was the first contact I had with Anglos or other people. And when it came back, then the took the GI . . . my older brother, Frank, went on to University with the G.I. - what did they call it?
FM: The GI Bill.
FF: So, the war, in a sense, did a lot of good for broadening our experience and mixing a little bit more with the general population.
FM: You may have been a little young but what was Houston like during the war period? Do you have recollections of that?
FF: Well, I remember in school we used to buy stamps, penny stamps. You would put them on a page. When you got a page, they awarded you a certificate. So, we helped that way. In fact, in 6th grade at that time, you went to 6th grade for middle school . . . we had a woodshop class and our class made bombers, the German bombers, so that when they trained our aircraft people, they could show them what a German bomber looked like. And we got our picture in the newspaper for doing that. It was the first time anybody in our neighborhood ever got their picture in the paper. So, you know, we used to be part of the war effort. We collected . . . I used to sell newspapers, the Chronicle, and there was also the Press and the Post back then, and one of the highlights of our experience selling newspapers was whenever there was going to be an extra that something happened important during the war, they would go to the school and ask if we could be dismissed to go out and sell the paper because they would come out in the morning or wherever . . . otherwise, we would sell after school. So, that was one of the things you might say we enjoyed about the war was we got dismissed from school.
FM: And how did you sell? Did you knock on people's doors?
FF: Oh, no.
FM: Or you worked at the street corner?
FF: Yes, and you do not see that anymore. I do not know . . . I guess it is too much traffic, I do not know, or traffic is too fast. But back then, it was slower. I recall back then, we did not have a single one-way street. Every street was 1 or 2 lanes going one way and the other going the other way. I remember I used to stand at the corner of Elgin and Main and, you know, you would put out the paper and people would stop. Those of us that sold the Press always wanted to sell the Chronicle because the people that bought the Press would give you a nickel and they wanted the 2 cents change back. The paper just cost 3 cents. The people that bought the Chronicle, I guess, maybe were a little better off because they used to have a night market and I guess people used to maybe have ________. Anyway, the people that bought the Chronicle would give you the nickel and say "Keep the change." So, we all looked forward to selling the Chronicle instead of the Press, you know.
FM: And so, you got to see other parts of the city during that period?
FF: Yes. You know, I even remember the movies. We knew certain movies where people were more friendly towards us and there were certain movies that we did not even try to get in. I don't know if we could have gotten in or not. And every Sunday, we would go to the movies. Didn't even bother to see what was playing, we just would go. I think we got in for a nickel, I think. The hot dogs were a nickel. I remember I was at the _______ Theater - it is not there anymore - when they announced the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I think it maybe was about 5 o'clock in the afternoon. We halfway paid attention to it. We just were glad that the announcement was over and the movie came back on.
FM: And so, here you tell me you are experiencing some, what we would call today as discrimination. And so, what was that like? What form did it take?
FF: Well, like I said, you knew just what part of towns you could . . . or even downtown, what movie houses you would go to and they would not tell you you can't come in. One time, I went to the wrong barber shop in, I forget what part of town, and they said, "No, you need to go to the barber shop down the street," you know. So, even the barber shops would not serve you if you were in the wrong part of town, you might say.
FM: And how did people react to that?
FF: You know, again, we did not seem to, at least us kids and ________ was beginning to get into the first case where they made history was at this school in Franklin, which is out on the east end. Franklin and _______ are, I don't know, less than 1 mile apart but if you were Mexican, they would send you to Days of Allah and Anglo kids would go to Franklin. And they won that . . . you know, the school I went to was all Mexican kids. In fact, there was one Anglo, a little girl, who felt right at home with us and she did not seem to mind but there was just one. And gosh, Frank, I remember we spoke Spanish all the time except in the classroom. So, I remember one time, I think it was either the first grade or the second grade, the teacher told us, "When you have to go to the restroom, just raise your hand and say, may I be excused?" But we never learned the word for restroom. So, when we had to go, we would raise our hand and we would say, "May I go to the be excused?" you know. We thought the restroom was called "the be excused." We told people gosh we were in trouble if we were downtown away from school someplace and we asked somebody, "Where is the be excused" here when you have to go . . . but, you know, I think, Frank, we never felt discriminated on. I think, in a way, we are lucky that we went through it without suffering any hard feelings or rejection or anything because when you don't have much, you stay in your little world with your friends. Maybe in a way, you don't feel you know any better.
FM: Where did you go to high school?
FF: It was Jeff Davis High School out on the north side. I went to Marshall Junior High. Back then, they were called junior highs for 7th, 8th and 9th grade, I think. Yes, 7th, 8th, and 9th. And then, 10th, 11th and 12th was the high school.
FM: Do you have fond memories of those years?
FF: Yes. I was able to play baseball in high school and basketball. That meant a lot to me. From the very beginning, the only recreation we knew or cared for, I guess you might say, was just playing baseball in the summer and spring and football in the fall and winter. And that was our whole life. And a lot of the kids sold the newspaper out in the street. Every corner had a sales . . . the downtown people, grown men, would sell a newspaper in front of buildings or hotels. And further out, we sold them on the street corners for the cars that were coming by.
FM: And then, you said you played baseball for the University of Houston. Tell me about that. What was that like?
FF: Well, again, I was the only Mexican kid on the team also. So, when you went anywhere that we played, we sort of stood out. I think we played some team in Oklahoma one time. And the guys tell me now . . . I did not realize it then, that they were going to protest because I was playing and they thought I was black, you know. I was dark. And they convinced them. They told them my name was Fraga. And the guy said, "I am glad your name was Fraga." We had a reunion, a 50th reunion, the other day and one of the guys was telling me, because nobody . . . the coach never told me that they had a discussion about whether I could play or not in this one particular team in Oklahoma I think it was. But I landed 4 years there. It was a great experience. Some of the guys on the team, we still try to get together.
FM: And that led you into your career in social work?
FF: Well, really, it was the fact that I started working when I was 16. And that just naturally fell in. I might have been able to play pro baseball in the Minor Leagues but I thought I had better go ahead and get to work if I did not think I was going to make it all the way to the big leagues.
FM: You talked about the scholarship you were able to get. Did many of your high school mates also go onto college? That was fairly unusual at that time, was it not?
FF: No, that is what I was going to say: I think of all the kids that left the elementary school at the 6th grade, there were only 2 of us, another girl and I. The rest of them dropped out. I was one of the very few in the neighborhood, well, first of all, in my family - my two older brothers dropped out - that went on to high school, and then certainly one of the few that went on to college. It is a lot better now than what it was back then.
FM: How do you think educational opportunities have changed over the years?
FF: Oh, they are much, much better. Kids do much better. Teachers. The fact that you have Hispanic teachers helps a lot. Back in our . . . after the war, as the guys started coming back, I remember we talked about the first taxi driver that was Hispanic, was John Herrera. If he was alive today, he could really give you stories. He was an early fighter at LULAC in discrimination and everything else. And then, there was the first policeman that was a Hispanic. You know, after the war . . . I think the war did a lot to open doors for our minority Mexican American neighborhood.
FM: And I think it was in the 1960s that we had our first Hispanic councilman, 1960s or 1970s.
FF: Right. Ben Reyes. Before then, the first Mexican American from Houston that was elected was maybe a couple of years before, was a guy named Lauro Cruz, that was elected to the state legislature. But Ben was the first one. And then, later on, we had Leonel Castillo who was the first citywide elected controller. I remember campaigning on the day of election for him in one of the precincts, passing out his cards. It was a happy day for us back then.
FM: Tell me about that experience - the campaign and the victory.
FF: For Leonel?
FF: Oh, it was quite a celebration. I worked at this precinct all day long from 7 until 7 at night and passed out cards. I never felt tired because I felt we were doing something that was going to be good for all of us if we could pull it off. And he did it. He was quite knowledgeable about how to get elected.
FM: And so, was that your first real interest in politics and public service?
FF: Well, no, I was already working at Ripley. In fact, I never thought I was going to get into elected office, you know, working at neighborhood centers or Ripley House, social work. It was going to be probably all I was ever going to be able to do. And I was happy there. People got me involved in telling me to run for the school board first. I got elected to that. And then, they said there is going to be an opening on the city council, you ought to run for that, and I did and I got elected. As much as I got involved . . . although one time, they induced me . . . I should not say induced me that way . . . they got me to run for Congress with Jean Green because our hope was that seat that was formed when he got elected had been a Hispanic seat but it did not turn out that way, that I did not get elected in the state or city council, that I probably was just as well off for that.
FM: You talked earlier about some of the breakthroughs, if you will, in education. What were the issues when you ran for school board and served on the school board?
FF: Well, at that time, there were just two school board members that were Hispanic and, you know, there are still not very many. The young lady that I replaced had to drop out because she went off to work on her doctorate. But all of it, Frank, was trying to get the community more involved in schools and pretty much, it is still there, that we have got to find some way to work with the whole family if we are going to be successful in keeping more of our kids in school. I mean, the dropout rate is still too high, higher than any of us want it to be and I just think the schools are going to have to find more ways of working with the whole family, particularly in the Hispanic community. And that is what I hope. I hope that they will focus a lot more on that than they have before; you know, finding good Hispanic teachers is a big help. But more important is working with the whole family. I wish they could find a way to get parents to come to the school more often, on weekends or something, and they would begin to make them more aware that if they focus on education, that the young people can make it all the way through.
FM: And then, you also went to serve on the City council. What was that like? Tell me a little bit about that.
FF: Well, I think I was telling somebody just yesterday, before that, I had worked at Ripley House, I guess, oh, well, since I was 16 and when I got on the City Council, I think I was 60; no, 65 maybe. But anyway, I had worked out in the community 40 years or so before I got on City Council. So, as I sat at the City Council table and used to get calls where people were saying, could you see if you could get this thing fixed or this empty lot cleaned? Those were the very calls I used to get when I was sitting at Ripley House. So, the change wasn't that great for me. Sometimes, like I said, I would forget where I was because it was almost the same kind of problems. So, because I was a district council, I guess, in a way, people were used to calling me for problems. They continued, and a lot of my time was spent in almost handling ______ calls and that sort of thing. But it was a source of great feeling that people would tell you, "You know, we have been trying to work on this for 15 years and nobody has ever done it." I really realized then that, you know, being a social worker, you can help people some of the time in various smaller ways, but if you really want to make a different in their lives and help with more meaningful things, elected office gives you that opportunity more than just being an ordinary social worker. So, that was, to me, one of the big sources of good feeling, that having served an elected office, I was able to do a lot more for the people than I was just able to do just working out of Ripley House. In fact, I would tell people when I was at Ripley House and people would come in with a problem, they needed a light here or a street cleaned here or a street fixed - we would call the department heads and they would tell, "O.K., we will call you next month and see whether we can get to it." But when I was on City Council, I would call the very same people for the very same requests and they said, "Yes, sir, we will take care of it right away." It would get done.
FM: It makes a difference.
FF: So, I certainly recommend elected office to anybody that wants to do good. I mean, that is the best place to be able to do that.
FM: But tell me what it was like working at Ripley House all those years. You have a unique perspective on Houstonians' problems and people in the Second Ward and the east end, in particular - how those problems changed over the years, for example.
FF: I think there is less sort of what we used to call juvenile delinquency back there. You do not hear that term anymore. It was a big term when I had first started there - the gangs and all of that. Unfortunately, it seems to be coming back. I think it is going to be more serious because, well, back then, they used to just have knives; now, they can get hold of guns a lot easier or just as easy as they could get knives back then. So, I think we are at a point, Frank, where we are almost going through the same thing that we went through back there. And I guess we are just going to have to work more with the total family. I think that is the only answer. The problems unfortunately are still with us. It got a little better for a while but it is beginning to hit a cycle. I do not know if it is a cycle but it is beginning to get to the point where it is getting pretty rough again. It was rough back then and it is appearing to get rough again. But the only way is to keep at it. We should say, well, you know, we could not solve it back then, we won't be able to solve it now. We have got to keep working on it. I think if any city has a chance, I think Houston is one of those because we have the kind of city where people can have an opportunity I think easier than other cities. I always tell people "If you are going to be Hispanic and you are going to live in this country, it is better to live in Houston than anywhere else." I think Hispanic communities have gotten a better opportunity here in Houston than what I have noticed in other large cities.
FM: Why do you think that is so?
FF: I think because it is a growing city. There is a lot going on. So, when there is a lot going on, there is enough for everybody to share a little easier, and I think people are more willing to do that. I think that is probably part of it.
FM: Going back to Ripley House, what is the thing that you are most proud of as an accomplishment for Ripley House and maybe the thing you are most disappointed about?
FF: Well, the thing that always makes me feel good is we run into kids now that were active in Ripley House in recreation and other points, come back and tell you that if it had not been for their experience there, for the caring and the attention we gave them, they would not be where they are today. And there are many, many successful young people that have come through Ripley House and the activities. That is always a great source of pride and good feeling. What we need to continue to work on is, again, trying to have more attention and programs for young people, particularly after school; working real hard at keeping the kids in school. If we don't educate our young people, almost anything else you do is not going to have as great an impact as it needs to. So, education. And we have, for the first time as a community center I think in the city, we have a school at Ripley House, a charter school, and we are finding that that is one of the areas where we can make a contribution as a community center, to do more for education. So, we are planning to open more charter schools ourselves and hopefully help the school district by having schools, a smaller school here ourselves and reaching out to get more of the kids that maybe would not try to finish school otherwise.
FM: You spoke a moment ago about Houston being a great place to be a Hispanic but it wasn't always that way. There was a kind of a dark period, if you will, when we had the Moody Park riot and the Joe Campos Torres and people of the Hispanic community did not trust their government very much. Talk about what are your recollections of that period.
FF: You know, the Moody thing, again, it was an unfortunate thing. These are guys that were a little more, I guess, active than militant would have been there, probably it might not have happened. I mean, but it probably needed to happen because there was this discrimination. There is no doubt about that. You know, you mentioned Joe Campos Torres, Frank. You know, he lived just a few blocks from Ripley House and by that time, Ripley House was already a community for the Hispanics. I mean, the Hispanics had already moved into the Ripley House. And I recall that when that happened, the next evening, we had a meeting at Ripley House; I mean, the people came and asked us if they could meet there and we certainly told them. And this was a group of people saying, "What needs to be done to make sure that our people don't get too violent or excited about this and start going out in riots?" And the next night, in the very same room, people asked us if they could meet. And these were people that were planning demonstrations. So, I thought it was good that both sides, in a way, looked at the center as a place that was there for them to participate and hopefully, we were to help them. And then, we were also almost about that same time, the first center to have what they used to call police store fronts back then. The very first one was at Ripley House where the police officers were actually stationed there and people could come in and report a need for help or services. And then, what started Ripley House a few years after that was where police officers would come in to learn Spanish. They thought that was going to bring us together. And all of those things have helped and we were a big part of it.
FM: For people who don't know about it or in the detail that you do, describe those times and maybe what your recollection of what happened to Joe Campos Torres. How would you tell people in the future what Houston went through at that time?
FF: Well, again, unfortunately, whenever police officers got into difficulty with a Hispanic or Mexican American, just like for the blacks, they always, I guess, feel that they have got to be as hard as they can be, and they were pretty hard on this young man. They took him over by the bayou and beat him up and threw him in the bayou. It was unfortunate. There were very few Hispanics in the police force then. So, an Anglo police officer that never had any dealings with Hispanics other than when they were giving them trouble would feel that probably they were not worth very much and they ought to dispose of them as fast as they could. And this was the case in many situations. Luckily, that has gotten a lot better. I mean, there is much less of that than what there used to be.
FM: And you talked about the different responses in the community to it. What do you remember about that?
FF: Well, there weren't any militant demonstrations. The people had their meetings and they had their discussions, and I think that was helpful that no one, at least we did not turn them away because we did not want them to sit down and discuss it but there did not occur, as I remember, any demonstrations about it. They just made their feelings known that it was a bad thing. I think the police chief . . . gosh, I am trying to remember who the police chief was then . . . I think he came out and, in a sense, apologized to the people and said that this was something that should not have happened. Although the police officers were tried, they were not given any harsh punishment, if I remember correctly. And again, people were, at least as I understand, to the point where they did not get up to demonstrate violently. So, I am just glad it did not lead to any more violence after he was killed.
FM: What do you tell your grandchildren about life in Houston, how it has changed over the years?
FF: Well, it has always been a good place to live. As much as we had to face, I cannot think of any place I really would have lived than here. So, if you can make the best of the opportunities and the situations you are in, you can have a happy life. And I think most of the guys that grew up when I did, the girls, of course, too, we had a good life. I do not know if you want to call it a good time but we certainly did not sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. For any young person, just make the best of the opportunities you have and you will have a good life.
FM: What is the character of Houston do you think is most unique or that you share with people?
FF: I think, again, it is a very open city in the sense that if you want to work, you can have a chance to contribute to yourself and to your city and have a good life. I really feel that for minorities, this has been a great city, I would even say from the beginning. It was a little harder for our parents but every generation, life has been a lot better for them. And I just feel it is going to continue that way; at least I certainly hope and work for that.
FM: What would you want people to know, let's say, 50 years from now, about Houston and what life was like during your time here in Houston?
FF: Well, that while it is always a little difficult to get people to live together of different cultures and backgrounds and languages, it is possible and Houston has proven that it is possible. If you work at it and make it work, the payoff is a lot greater than it would be otherwise if it was just one dominant group all the time.
FM: If you were going to talk to your grandchildren or your great-grandchildren and tell them what you are most proud of, what is your most important accomplishment personally in terms of this city, what would you tell them?
FF: I guess that I was in a position where people could call me for whatever problems and they had enough confidence and faith and trust in me that they would call me for their serious problems and other kinds of problems, and that I was able, in turn, to call people that were able to help, and I was helpful to them at the time that they needed help. I think that it had an impact on their lives and I certainly am happy that I was able to do that. I think the greatest joy in life, Frank, comes when you are able to help somebody that needed your help, and those have been my happiest times, when I have been able to do that. Like I said, when I was on Council and they would tell me they had been trying to solve this or that for this many years, and I was able to do something for them. It is something that really gives you great joy.
FM: Well, you have been in high office and positions of influence but you have also worked with the community at the grassroots level. Are there 1 or 2 or maybe more particular individuals who kind of captured Houston for you or that stand out in your memory that you could talk about, either big or small?
FF: Oh, gosh, you know, I would have to think back some but, like I say, I cannot recall any particular name but just so many that I run into every now and then that tell me, "You know, I was over at Ripley or _______ when you were there and you did this for me. I have never forgotten that." I am just trying to think who pretty much reached a higher office or positions. There are guys that run companies now that grew up in the neighborhood. I am going to give it some thought, Frank, because some day, I need to begin to remember those kinds of things of somebody that really . . . but just having people come in and saying to you, "What you did for me here has made it possible for me to get where I am today."
FM: Is there anything that maybe I have not asked you about that you would particularly want people from the future or from the next few years to know about what it was like growing up here in Houston and being a part of this city's life?
FF: Gosh, Frank, other than try to as much as you can, to learn as much about the people that might be a little different from you. We all want the same thing. We are willing to work for the same thing and we do not necessarily want to take away one from the other. But if you can make it a point to try to learn as much as you can from your neighbors, even if they might be different . . . I always tell people the better you know us, the more you are going to like us, or at least accept us. I just hope that we don't give up on one another and we realize that by knowing each other better, working together, we will have better lives for all of us.
FM: Very good. Thank you very much.
FF: Thank you, Frank.