LETTER: Selma should start asking ‘What If’ in 2018

Published 6:59 pm Monday, December 25, 2017

What if Selma could heal? What if Selma could prosper? What if everything that has happened in this crazy 12 layer cake I call home has lead us to this point?

What if we could see our assets and use them to fix our problems? What if we could work together as a community? What if? What if? What if?

What a great question What if is. It opens up so many possibilities. We focus on all our negatives all the time.

We constantly tell ourselves and all around us reasons why things will not work out. We throw up obstacles that only trip ourselves up. What if we stopped doing that? What if we got out of our own way?

Selma, listen up! We have everything we need at our fingertips … let me give you just a few examples:

We have the Alabama River running through our downtown.

Over the Alabama River, we have the Edmund Pettus Bridge. That translates to: We have a National Park Trail that begins in our city, and it intersects with an Alabama Scenic Trail.

We have the Largest Historic District in the state of Alabama and one of the top 5 in the country.

We have an airport with a runway that a 747 can land on

We have three colleges.

We have jobs. So many jobs that 5,300 people commute to Selma each day to work.

We are surrounded by some of the most beautiful land with all sorts of flora and fauna.

Oprah marketed us and the tour buses are coming.

We hold all our nation’s history within walking distance in our downtown: pre-Revolutionary War/Native American history (Bienville’s friendly visit to the Alibamo Tribe), post Revolutionary War history (Lafayette visited on his way to Old Cahwaba), immigrant history (Sam “the Banana King” Zemurray, a Russian immigrant saw his first banana at his uncle’s grocery store, humble beginnings to United Fruit Company, heard of Chiquita Banana?) Suffragette Movement history (first suffragette meeting in the state of Alabama in the 1900s occurred where the Center for Commerce is located and Harriet Hooker was the first woman in Alabama elected into office), Voting Rights history (we are the birth place of voting rights)n and there is so much more! Get Austin Fitts’ new book on Selma.

And foundations love us. Five million dollars has been promised to Selma if not already dispersed to the numerous nonprofits in town this year, and that is just what I am aware of!

Y’all, we have everything we need at our fingertips. We have an overabundance of low hanging fruit just ready for picking, but we have to first see it, and then we have to pick it! It is too much to pick alone.

Not one person, not one group can pick all that is available. We need each other’s help to harvest what has been provided for us.

What if we could?

One of my favorite authors is Anne Lamont. She recently wrote a list of things she knew for sure. No. 2 was “most everything will work again if you unplug it for a while, including ourselves.”

What if we as a community unplugged, rebooted?

What if for one month, we did not think of the past, we did not think of the future, but just thought of all the assets we have? What if?

AS 2018 approaches I ask all my Selma brothers and sisters to consider using January as the month to reboot and start asking “What If?” I love you Selma, and I am betting on You!

AC Reeves

Selma