Up & Coming Weekly

January 05, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1325440

Contents of this Issue


Page 14 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 14 UCW JANUARY 6-12, 2021 2020 has been a year of t ransfor- mat ion and t ransit ion. This year has t ransformed t he way societ y walks, talks and t hinks. This was also a year of emergence and awareness. Unlikely heroes have emerged f rom t he social just ice movement deman- ding change. We must ask ourselves and our neighbors, "How do we beg in to improve t he communit y f rom w it- hin?" The worst t hing we could do is wait on t he government. Though t he government prov ides resources, we must learn to become self-sustaina- ble w it hin our communit y. It has to be a collaborat ive ef for t bet ween t he cit izens and elected leaders to turn compassion into concrete leg islat ion. Earlier t his year, I was g ranted t he honor of speak ing w it h Civ il R ights icon Clarence Henderson of t he Frederick Douglass Foundat ion of Nor t h Carolina. He was a par t icipant in t he 1960 sit-in at Woolwor t h's in Greensboro. He said somet hing t hat stuck w it h me. "We lef t t he money on t he table," he said. He was refer- ring to t he fact t hat t he Civ il R ights Movement did not result in economic empowerment and f inancial literac y. He f ur t her ex plained, "we were just happy to be at t he table." Now t hat we are at t he metaphorical table, we must come toget her and look for- ward to build a better 2021. No matter who t he president is, we must address t he problems w it hin our communit ies. During t he elect i- on c ycle, all solut ions were prefaced w it h "if you elect me to be your…, t hen I promise to…" or "as a member of…" W hile t he inst itut ion of govern- ment may not change, t he people change. The change in people brings about t he change in policies. Eddie S. Glaude Jr., A f rican A merican Studies Depar t ment Chair at Princeton Universit y, says t hat racial inequalit y is t he result of polic y mak ing. This upcoming year, 2021, Fayettev ille w ill be holding local elect ions, which include all of cit y council and t he mayor. These are t he people who enact policies t hat direct ly af fect our communit y. Cit y council, count y commissioners, and t he mayor are among t he key polic y makers in Fayettev ille. As a person t hat has a deep passion for change, I realize we don't have t he lu x ur y of t ime. COV ID is cons- tant ly w idening t he racial wealt h gap. We can't just t hrow money at t he problem. We must put t hose in of f ice who w ill work to create poli- cies t hat benef it t he communit y as a whole. How do we close t he racial wealt h gap? The f irst and most obv ious answer is reparat i- ons. However, repa- rat ions should be in t he form of ta x cre- dits t hat benef it t he Black communit y. Priscilla A lmodovar, CEO, Enter prise Communit y Par t ners, ex pres- sed a need to f i x t he housing cri- sis by init iat ing an emergenc y rental assistance pro- g ram because t here is $70,000,000,000 wor t h of back rent owed in A merica, simply because peo- ple are r unning out of money. Holiday season during COV ID is especially hard in lower income com- munit ies. Most of t he families in t hese areas spend more t han half of t heir income on rent. It's hard to focus on Christ mas in Nor t h Carolina when t here is a possibilit y of being ev icted on New Year's Day, once t he gover- nor's moratorium has been lif ted. If research is correct, t he cour t system w ill be inundated w it h ev ict ion cases and homelessness w ill be at an all- t ime high. Government should prov i- de t he tools needed for autono- my and upward mobilizat ion. Sk ip Gibbs of t he Ot her A merica Movement, is creat ing a Black Economic Development Zone named Bright wood in r ural Durham. However, t he government did not prov ide t he land for him. It was a result of people helping people. The government can assist t hose like Sk ip by prov iding equal and fair access to capital for all cit izens. By addressing t he most v ulnerable, t he ent ire communit y w ill f lourish as a whole. COV ID has prompted minorit ies to ex plore t heir ent repreneurial side. However, many lack t he k nowledge and educat ion associated w it h crea- t ing sustainable wealt h. Federal and local governments should focus on minorit y small business develop- ment, which creates income and wealt h. Wit h t his wealt h, minorit ies can obtain better educat ion and jobs t hat help st imulate t he economy and create jobs. There is no such t hing is "back to normal." 2020 has been a world chang ing year. As a communit y, we must come toget her, not only to hold elected leaders accountable, but to help t hem lead ef fect ively. We must not lose focus of t he fact t hat t his w ill be a pivotal local elec- t ion in Fayettev ille. One likely major focus of t he elect ion w ill be t he Market House. The Market House issue is about sy mbolic change, not systemic change. W E NEED SYSTEMIC POLICY CH A NGE. That should be t he discussion among all cit izens … how can we come toge- t her and build rat her t han dest roy and div ide. We must all cont inue to LE A D W ITH LOV E. Salute to ever y act iv ist gett ing act ive. Peace. Fayetteville forward — community advocate calls for change by RAKEEM "KEEM" JONES COMMUNITY VOICES RAKEEM "KEEM" JONES, Contributor. COMMENTS? Editor@ upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484- 6200. Community advocate Rakeem "Keem" Jones continues to engage local citizens and leaders to bring about systemic policy changes. (Photo by Dajia Thomas)

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - January 05, 2021