Davis: Options needed to make good choices

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 29, 2002

Two small chairs with toys, sitting fairly close to each corner of the podium – a symbolic reminder of what it all meant – or, at least, what it was all supposed to mean.

The chairs were put there by Tina Price, who is spokesperson for the Dallas County Children’s Policy Council as well as the director of the Central Alabama

Neighborhood Development Organization (CANDO), an organization in Dallas County that provides resources to help the youth of Dallas County.

Price, along with community leaders, and guest speakers, were busy attending the Dallas County Children Policy Council’s Collaboration Conference on Friday at the Shiloh Baptist Church on Selma Avenue, an event, which Price said was meant to address the needs of children in Dallas County.

Guest speakers for the event included Selma Mayor James Perkins, Dallas County Probate Judge Johnny Jones, who is also chair of the Dallas County Commission, Dallas County District Attorney Ed Greene, Dr. F. D. Reese, a well know Civil Rights activist as well the chairman of CANDO and Democratic Congressional Candidate Artur Davis.

Davis, who received standing ovations before and his after his address, said that the key to improving children’s lives starts with the parents.

“I remember what it means to a get a look of approval from your mom,” said Davis, recalling his days growing up in Montgomery. “If you [a parent] don’t take the time to give your children that look of approval, don’t be surprised if they hang out with a crowd” of which you may not approve.

During the address, Davis compared Dallas County to Shelby County, two counties which he referred as “two different universes.”

“In the Black Belt, we are not giving our children options to make good choices,” Davis said. “We are seeing parents losing jobs, and businesses [leaving the area.] Until we can create a climate in this county which provides jobs, don’t expect anything from our children.”

Judge Nathaniel Walker, the head of the Dallas County Children’s Policy Council, said he was pleased with the conference, a conference, which he said was made possible through funding from state grant money.

“Through receiving this type of funding, this will provide more resources for our children, something which we really need in Dallas County,” Walker said. “It is very important that we receive this type of funding.”

Despite what Price called “the first” step “on the road leading to change for children in Dallas County,” Price said she was not entirely happy with the outcome of the conference.

“It is frustrating to get people to really address the issues and needs of children in Dallas County,” Price said. “We haven’t really done that yet. [During the conference] we talked a lot and talk is better than nothing, but we really to address some issues that haven’t been addressed.”

Price added, however, that she was pleased with all who attended and spoke the conference.

“I just wanted to say that I am so proud and pleased with all who came out,” said Price. “I really appreciate all of them taking time out of their busy schedules to come and attend.”