Many times, we’re not initially thankful for change. When something disrupts the status quo, our kneejerk reaction tends to be one of trepidation and fear. I was no different when the most notable shift in my routine occurred earlier this year.
When I was transferred down to Stafford in order to take over day-to-day editorial operations at The Star this past April, I have to admit it was a bit daunting. So much had changed since I last covered the area in 2015-16, and I had so little time to digest that change before having to dive in headfirst after covering the Heights and much of north Houston for the past three years.
I went from an area I knew like the back of my hand to a place that was simultaneously familiar and foreign. The past year has been one of learning and adaptation, but it’s one I remain thankful for in so many ways.
And I largely have you to thank for that, Fort Bend. I’ve gotten to meet and know a little bit about some of the wonderful people of Fort Bend County, and tell some of the most moving stories imaginable since starting in this industry nearly five years ago, making this transition a little easier and growing me along the way.
There’s been the heartwarming story of Phoenix, a black lab rescued from the side of the road and taken in by Fort Bend residents Allie and Garrett Post a few months ago. What began as a rehabilitation journey morphed into Phoenix becoming the newest member of the Post family as he made his way into their hearts despite having their hands full already with five family pets. When you spoke with the Posts, there was genuine love and joy in their words and actions that I think is rare to find in anyone.
Just last month, I was able to make it out to Meadows Place, the one-square-mile city just outside Stafford, as they introduced an all-inclusive playground that is one of the first of its kind in Fort Bend County. The community support I saw was inspiring, and through covering the project’s progression I have come to know the city’s wonderful mayor, Charles Jessup, and his heart for the people of that community.
There have also been several controversial stories and happenings which revealed the passion of this community.
Whichever side of the Sugar Land 95 debate you fall on, there’s no denying that it has been one of the most prominent stories of the year. It has remained at the forefront of our news cycles at least once a month since the calendar turned to 2019 as county leaders, protesters and Fort Bend ISD engage in a battle over their ideas of truth and justice for the 95 African-Americans believed to have been part of the state’s slave-labor program that lasted until the early 1900s.
Attempting to dissect the changing political landscapes in Fort Bend County in the context of U.S. Rep. Pete Olson’s impending retirement in District 22 – and the avalanche of new candidates – the race to replace John Zerwas in the Texas House or State Rep. Rick Miller’s recent controversial statements has been a crash course in Fort Bend political discourse.
There has been contention on all sides with ideas of what these things mean for the county’s future, and that likely won’t end anytime soon. However, I don’t see this contentiousness as necessarily a bad thing – things like that tend to happen when a group cares deeply about what’s happening to their community and the people in it. When passion abounds, you are bound to see emotions boil over or run high, and criticism run rampant on many fronts. Which leads me to my next point.
One of the many changes I’ve experienced has been the attempted development of my own independent voice. Since beginning here at The Star in late April, I have taken over writing in this space far more often than at previous stops, and it’s been enlightening, even if way out of my comfort zone. I’ve found myself diving into topics I rarely broached for much of my life, and in the process developing my own opinion on a topic instead of simply reporting it.
That has seeped into my everyday life as well as I have found myself subconsciously more willing to engage in controversial topics with those around me. I always had thoughts. I was just less willing to express them – but no more. So in that sense, I’m grateful to the publishers of The Star for taking this chance on me. It’s given me the chance to grow as an individual, and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity.
Further, I’ve gotten more feedback on stories I have written here in Fort Bend than just about anywhere else I’ve worked. Some of that feedback is positive and encouraging, while some of it tells me I have no idea what I’m talking about or to quit showing my “liberal bias,” which was the first time I had been accused of showing that in my entire life.
Whatever the case, I am always open to feedback. I know there is much I still have to learn about this wonderful county. There are times I need your help to tell those stories, and the only way I can grow in my knowledge of this area is through your eyes. So by all means, critique away.
I know change isn’t always positive, but I think my most dramatic one indeed showed me it can be good more often than not.
Sometimes, the grass is indeed greener on the other side.