Up & Coming Weekly

February 23, 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.

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Page 8 of 24

8 UCW FEBRUARY 24 - MARCH 2, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Facing Fayetteville's future Some years ago, I carried a card in my wallet that had the acronym "WWJD" on it. It was an acronym that appeared in many places: t-shirts, hats, billboards, publications, etc. Most Chris- tians would know it stood for "What Would Jesus Do?" It was helpful to me to remind me to be fair, kind and respectful in what decisions I made that affected others. It would certainly be useful to our city leadership to have that standard for their decisions. It is ironic that at the same time our state de- cides it is inappropriate to have the Confederate battle flag on individual license tags (which I do agree with), our city leaders decide it is okay to again paint a divisive slogan around the center- piece of our city. We take away one more cause of racial irritation and the city adds one back. ere seems to be no limit to the shortsightedness of those elected or appointed to lead our community. Our new president brought his entire staff to- gether in the first week of his administration to tell them that anyone he observed who did not treat people with respect would be "fired on the spot." Can you envision our mayor doing that? ere are so many good people of all races in our community, many that I have had the privi- lege to meet. I know that there are Black citizens that would not accept that I know or understand the true experience of racial prejudice and acts. I have to concede that is probably true. But I have seen it. I was born and grew up in and around Charleston, South Carolina. I saw the "Colored Only" or "Whites Only" signs on water fountains and restrooms. It pains me to think that in my lifetime there was a time I could not have lunch in the same restaurant as my Black friends. I also witnessed acts of cruelty - that I will not detail. But even just the slights of obvious mistrust and discourteousness - overcharging and cheat- ing, I saw it. I knew what it was. I knew it was wrong. I had the good fortune to have parents that taught me and my brothers to be fair and re- spectful to everyone. Military service and a career in a company where discrimination and prejudice were not tolerated enforced what I was taught. My faith has strengthened my convictions. I am a Fayetteville citizen. My wife and I have been here for over thirteen years. At one time a couple of years ago our entire family – children and grandchildren - were in Fayetteville. We came from Cary where we had witnessed the astounding growth of the Research Triangle area. Cary had a population of just over 7,200 when we moved there. As you may know it is now north of 150,000. e Triangle area grew because of the compa- nies and businesses that moved to the area. e towns and cities of the Triangle had the things that drew people. Fayetteville had the opportunity to offer the same kind of attractions: colleges, good schools, parks, recreation facilities, a forward- looking leadership. ey - the current leadership - have squandered it all. ey have made racial issues of things that did not have to be those kinds of issues. On the current path they will figure a way to tear down or otherwise destroy the Market House - which has been the symbol of this city for so long - not the "slave market" that it is so often called, but a truly historic building that could be- come a positive symbol - if we had the leadership to see it. As one of the naïve student artists commis- sioned to repaint the so-called "mural" around the Market House said: "It's a painting, but to many of us it's that bold statement that we're here to make a change." at change will not be more cohe- siveness, but more division. To think you change peoples' hearts by getting in their face is wrong, illogical and contrary to human nature. I will pre- dict that some people and businesses will eventu- ally "vote with their feet", i.e., leave the area. What is happening in Fayetteville is a travesty. e current tactic is "let's get input from all the citizens." If the result is not what they want, then they will figure out a way to do a recount, like they did about taking the Market House off the city logo. When the online survey did not get the re- sults they wanted, they decided we needed com- munity meetings. at ended with another split result. So, they just had the City Council make the decision - off came the building from the logo. Now we are looking at a million-dollar cost to change all the things that have the old logo - trash and recycling cans, stationery, signs, etc. Involving the U.S. government in matters that good local leadership should take the lead on shows the real deficiency in our leaders. e DOJ may provide some perspectives - but not solu- tions. e local "activist" who demands that the Market House be destroyed is the wrong voice to be heard. Reason and good faith are not being heard or seen. Face it: our city is bereft of visionary leadership. ose of solid financial positions want nothing to do with what is happening in City Hall. ose families and persons that built businesses and homes, that made significant contributions to our area colleges and support many of the philan- thropic efforts in our community do not want the "taint" of the current leadership. Finally, and most importantly, I would hope that somehow we can find the ways to get the citizens of our community to see that we cannot keep do- ing the "in your face" acts and expect to achieve any kind of unity. e absolute best way we can make atonement for past history is to commit that going forward we each will have our personal answer to what is the right thing to do? is ques- tion is appropriate no matter what our individual faith is: Christian, Muslim, Jewish or any other. It is the standard of respect, kindness and positivity that matters and determines what we will achieve in our city. I pray that we can all work together so we can make the change that all of us truly want and not try to do it with symbols, protests and "murals." ose leading this effort should have the answer for what is the right thing to do. I am angry-and frustrated that we cannot seem to figure out the obvious right thing to do. I hope that citizens of all political persuasions, all races and economic position are incented to think about political office or at least participation in the political process. Most importantly, I hope that we tone down the agitation of the so-called "activists" who constant- ly chant "tear it down" instead of "what can we do to make it better?" Stop with the slogans and mu- rals and hateful rhetoric. Let's instead talk about how we can make positive change. Other cities have had good plans and good results. Let's take good ideas wherever we find them and figure out how to implement them in our city. We must be kind and respectful to each other. We know what fairness is; let's live it. — Pat King, Fayetteville Editor's note: Portions of this letter have been edited for space. TO THE EDITOR Christian music station local your

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