Stop blaming the poor and unemployed

Published 9:07 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Stop blaming the poor for being poor. Stop blaming the unemployed for being unemployed. On April 18, 2016, Mayor George Evans gave his state of the city address which aired on both radio and television. In his address, he said there are plenty of jobs in Selma with 24 industries that have jobs available. He laid out three reasons why local citizens are unable to obtain employment: “They cannot pass a drug test, they cannot pass a background check, they do not have the skill level” needed to fill the positions available.

I was appalled and disgusted to hear a sitting mayor talk so negatively about the people who voted for him and whom he represents. Especially considering it was a public statement made over media outlets where any potential industries thinking of opening in Selma could hear. We know that poverty has become systemic. People who are poor are unemployed, underemployed and fully employed. We know that the middle class was decimated by the financial collapse of 2007, which caused businesses to close, lost jobs, homeowners lost their homes and the Black Belt suffered double digit unemployment. Knowing all of that, the mayor still chose to blame the poor and the unemployed for their conditions. Mayor, either you are unaware or out of touch with the realities of the global economic downturn, the domestic economic downturn, the local economic downturn and with the reality of the everyday lives of the citizenry you serve.

You are the mayor/leader of one of the most famous cities in this nation. You represent people who fought against racial oppression and their descendants. You represent a community of proud people who are intelligent, insightful, hardworking, humble and God-fearing. You do not represent a community of drug addicts (though some suffer with addiction), criminals (though some have served time) and dummies.

You are in a position to bring economic opportunities to this area; stop blaming the poor for being poor and the unemployed for being unemployed. The people you serve deserve better. Concentrate on relieving poverty, crime, unemployment and getting the Selma Mall filled with stores again so that we can stop taking our revenue to other places. We cannot shop Selma if it does not offer what we need/want. Concentrate on serving the citizens of this community and seeing the best in them instead of the worst.

 

Rajeeyah Holmes

Selma