Stop talking about Selma’s potential

Published 9:05 pm Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A publication I am very proud of is soon to be released and read in beauty parlors and restaurants. A special edition of Selma The Magazine will appear soon and will feature 20 people under the age of 40 who are making a difference and showing leadership in Selma.

Throughout the last several months, the newsroom, including myself, has conducted interviews with all 20 of these individuals who were selected by a committee.

I was assigned five of these fantastic folks who, naturally and easily blew me away with their maturity and desire to see their hometown flourish and grow.

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I went into interviews with Desiree Taylor, Allen Bearden, Prince Chestnut, Lee Calame and Glenn King Jr. expecting them to use the same phrase that I despise so much and want to ban from the vocabulary of everyone in town: “Selma has so much potential.”

The reason I hate that phrase is because that statement is usually followed by something they think Selma needs. For example, “Selma has so much potential, if only we had more jobs,” or “if only we would promote tourism.”

My issue with that statement is that talking about what kind of potential Selma has does not highlight the things that are already here and the people who are bending over backwards to harness that potential people yack about all the time.

I was thrilled when not one of my interviewees mentioned Selma’s potential, they only told stories of things they are doing to harness it.

King and Taylor are working to make Concordia College Alabama a place that is well-known in the community and appreciated, as well as a place that prepares students for the field of business — especially working for local industry in Selma.

Bearden sees a need to encourage his students to pursue tracks other than college, like technical trades. Chestnut, as the presiding municipal judge, wants to help rid the city of domestic violence problems through programs before those individuals end up in his courtroom. And Calame helps give honest financial advice at Trustmark so that Selma can flourish economically.

It was great to hear these stories of residents who are young but still have a drive to push Selma into a new age.

They aren’t going around whining about how much potential Selma has, they are rolling up their sleeves and in their everyday lives at work and at home, acting out on things to strengthen the city in all aspects. I am proud a generation of my own is rising up to take their place and jumping into leadership roles without hesitation.

Even more exciting, is there are more than 20 of these young leaders around.