Bishop addresses racial divide

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Racism is still an issue plaguing the City of Tyler, that's according to a mediator invited to town following the violent death of a John Tyler Teacher. The Ombudsman General was back in Tyler to shed some light on some things he believes, need to change.

"Tyler boasts itself on a lot of's rose parades, it's princesses and it's duchesses and it's queens...but none of them have been black," said Bishop LJ Guillory, founder of Ombudsman International, a non-profit government oversight agency.

Last week, he led a town hall meeting, in the wake of the John Tyler High School stabbing. School officials say the incident was not race-related, that it was an "isolated incident." Thursday, the bishop disagreed.

"For people to act as though what this young man did is just his fault, is a sin," said Guillory.

Guillory says a divisive community, gang violence, and drugs also played a part. The bishop also took time to respond to an editorial printed in the Tyler Morning Telegraph, claiming Tyler citizens don't need outside help to handle their problems.

"We're here because we were asked to be here," said Guillory.

The editorial claims "ill-informed opinions" only add more division. It also refers to him as a "convicted felon." Records from the California Department of Corrections show Guillory served more than eight years for kidnapping, burglary and assault with a firearm, something he says he's not ashamed of.

"I have been out of prison 10 years and I have worked side by side with law enforcement, with families," said Guillory.

Tyler councilman Donald Sanders was not aware of Thursday's press conference, but invited Guillory to last week's meeting.

"When you look at things that have been going on for hundreds of years that haven't been addressed or changed, you wonder about that," said Sanders.

He says he welcomes any positive help. Bishop Guillory says he's ready to give it.

"Like it or not, we're here to stay," said Guillory.

Bishop Guillory says a symposium is being organized, for some time early next month, where community leaders will discuss these issues.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.