An appeal to Selma’s black citizens

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 21, 2007

To The Editor:

The fear of reprisals by the KKK are no longer a threat to the security and welfare for your families. We face a greater threat, one that makes itself invisible because it looks like us.

We must be honest with ourselves and assert the true essence of freedom. A sure sign of maturity is the ability to rise to the point of self-criticism. Even if the criticisms are painful and full of half-truths, we are to pick out the elements of truth and make them the basis of creative reconstruction.

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Our experience in our country has positioned us as an authority on the quest for liberty and justice. The crime of silence and its consequences are as dangerous as the act itself.

If we are indeed free, we have an obligation to fulfill our responsibility to stand up for right, make things right as well as enjoyment of rights.

Carter G. Woodson (“Miseducation of a Negro, 1933) said, “Poor selfish black leadership is as bad to the community as is racism.”

This Perkins administration and its four loyal council members (Crenshaw, Leashore, Randolph and Venter) have created a climate of selfishness, self-glorification and a culture of disrespect.

Its outcome has become ugly, sloppy and greedy with no concept of the self-sacrificing demeanor of our ancestors who struggled with blood, sweat, tears and many timeless prayers to create this limitless opportunity.

We must support leaders whose actions appropriate the demands of Selma’s conditions. Have you seriously looked at our city situation? Our neighborhoods are falling apart, our job market is lagging and the quest for enterprenuership shows no sign of promise. Not the mayor’s fault or his council. In 2004, he asked for and got his council members. If it’s not their fight, why the last years the No. 1 project for these people has their own personal agenda?

This culture of disrespect and greed is impairing our city’s opportunity to advance in this 21st century. Investors stay clear of violent situations.

Think about this for a moment. Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, came to Selma and televised from our library all over the world. We’ve had a sitting president visit our city. We had, just this year, two serious candidates for president of our great country visit Selma. Not to mention Selma has notoriety all over the world for human rights.

Why are we not capitalizing on what we have?

The water board is a money-grubbing situation, plain and simple. The excuse for the current problem is simply that black people didn’t say anything when immoral white people did it.

I encourage you to join with me to instruct our legislative delegation to get together and study the water board issue and come up with a reasonable and ethical plan to change the way it functions.

Guard carefully those who seek to influence your vote. It’s sad that we have leaders of limited vision. Vision to see only as far as their outstretched hands.

It’s not about being right, but doing right. Do your very best and pray sincerely for the rest.

Charles Rasheed