Selma youths meet with NLC

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2004

At the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center Tuesday, members of the National League of Cities met with around 30 or so of Selma’s youth to find out their views on their hometown.

A mix of black and white teens from the city’s public and private schools sat in an informal circle around two NLC members and listened as they explained what they thought were some prominent issues in the city.

“What we have learned through a year of talking with people in Selma is that there are four areas of concern-leadership and government, education and youth involvement, economic development, and race relations,” said NLC member Gwen Wright. “We wanted to hear from Selma’s youth about their reactions to some of these issues.”

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During the meeting, however, most of the teens remained quiet.

They seemed to agree the biggest issue in Selma, race relations, was greatly improving among the younger generations.

They indicated sports is one of the things helping to bridge any gap.

“I practice basketball with some of the girls on the Selma High team,” said one Morgan Academy student. “Sports-related activities are helping to bring Selma together.”

Another student from Selma High School said he has never faced race-related problems while growing up in Selma.

“I get along with just about everybody,” the student said. “Race relations are getting better as far as the youth. It’s just going to take some time.”

Other issues brought up during the meeting were lack of leadership skills being taught in schools and the unfairness of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam.

One young woman in the audience said she thought the graduation exam was the only thing holding back some students from getting their diploma.

As far as city government, one student said she like the job the mayor was doing and felt people should allow him more time in office to improve Selma.

By the end of the hour-long meeting, Wright said overall she felt recreation was turning into a stepping stone for “getting Selma’s youth together.”

“Selma is a wounded community, but there is desire here,” she said. “Where there is desire, there is change.”

The next public NLC meeting will be held today from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the convention center.