Black Belt’s problems should challenge everyone to make a difference

Published 11:12 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2010

“Make sure to write some positive news.” “Let’s hear some good news now.” “Why do you guys only cover negative news?”

It is these statements and questions we confront regularly concerning the regular coverage you find in The Selma Times-Journal. The questions come from readers of every race, every creed and every walk of life. The questions know no demographic or group.

And, over the past few days, we’ve even asked ourselves that question a time or two.

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On one day, we report the area has one of the worst rates of teen pregnancy in the nation — not just the state — and then follow that up in the next edition reporting that more than half of the children living in Dallas County are living in poverty.

But, while this may be construed as negative — and don’t get us wrong, it is — it is important to think of these stories, and others, as clarion calls for action. It is important to think of these stories, and others, as health screenings of our communities to identify the areas deserving of attention.

Over the coming days, we are sure there will be stories you may find troubling. And that is OK. Because if you were not troubled by the number of teenagers having children or the number of children struggling in poverty, then that in itself is a bigger problem.

These problems, these troubling stories, are unfortunately nothing new. But, because we have not been able to break these cycles and solve these problems should not depress us, they should inspire us.

Those of us who call Alabama’s Black Belt home have a chance to do something our predecessors were unable to fix.

We have the chance to make a difference and should take this as a challenge and aspire to find solutions.

These problems are not limited to one race, to one religion, to one community. These problems are our problem and together we will find solutions.