Commentary: Our place, our space

Commentary: Our place, our space
April 12
05:00 2018

Perhaps my most important work is to translate my life’s path – one that I believe has been assigned to me – and to share it in a language that is simple and plain, describing a vision of, and solutions to, what is possible.

I begin this undertaking with crystal clear awareness of the oppressive history that people of color share. The scars of injustice have calloused, yet the wound still festers. We are conditioned to be ever mindful of the insidious tentacles of racism lest we become victims. It is because of this that, as a man of color, I exhort my spirit to protect me from the snares of apathy. What my spirit gives me – in abundance – is energy to “get up” and just SEE.

In this place that we call home, we provide for our needs by using all of the goods and services that promote health, happiness and the pursuit of life and liberty. We pay our taxes, mortgages and give to the church of our choice. What is it that we are doing wrong that has created a place, a space, which continues year after year, generation after generation, to produce social abnormalities that seem to exist nowhere else. Unbridled poverty, educational genocide, self-murder and a prevailing disposition of distrust beg for solutions. Are we not capable of developing sustainable strategies that effectively speak to what is needed to fully participate in the economy of OUR place. Are we content to remain ignorant to innovative solutions simply because we WON’T see the opportunity to create paradigms that are specific to OUR place, OUR space?

Low-wealth communities across this country have been targeted. That targeting occurs with governmental participation in such systems as the 5-digit ZIP CODE on about every correspondence that we produce. CODE is a very accurate description of how that information is used. It is essentially a fence around a specific geographical area – get the ring of maybe the plantation??

For now, visualize in your mind’s eye, this community that is 27105 and all the resources and liabilities that exist in our space – a space in which our parents, grand and great-grandparents lived and whose spirits remain in this place that is 27105. For whatever reasons you may ascribe to our being, here it is OUR place! Within OUR geographical area there are houses and cars and buildings and parks, hospitals, schools and the like. We all use these wonderful necessities of life and whistle while we work to get more. Nothing wrong with that … IS THERE?

I see all of the banks, restaurants, schools, etc. that locate in OUR PLACE, OUR SPACE. I see convenience stores whose owners come from outside OUR place and return to THEIR place with OUR resources – and whose footprint in OUR place only goes from THEIR convenience store to THEIR banks, sharing none of the resources that OUR PLACE, OUR SPACE has provided them.

The taxes that we pay to Forsyth County help support the operation of Reynolds Health, but is everything being done by Reynolds Health that can be done to promote/improve economic mobility in this place where they reside – OUR PLACE?

Could Winston-Salem State University, with all the intellectual capacity that students and faculty bring to OUR PLACE allow for global minds to create solutions that are fresh, focused and viewed from a millennial perspective?

Collectively, we must take responsibility for our actions in OUR PLACE, OUR SPACE. Personal accountability is the cornerstone of the quantum shift that is needed to overcome US!! As we accept who we are – warts and all, we open the door to receive the guidance of a universal principle that corrects prevailing norms. Our commitment to owning who we are is paramount as we begin to restructure OUR PLACE, OUR SPACE into the thriving community where dreams of our seeds reside.

We will SEE that our children represent our best opportunity to give – give to the future of OUR PLACE, OUR SPACE. Through the parenting that we provide to the canvases that are our children, we will SEE.

To the institution in OUR PLACE, OUR SPACE that has historically served as the most trusted in our community –  one that has been a sounding board and haven during the harsh times of Jim Crow and a beacon throughout – join us in recognizing the need for EVERY institution in OUR PLACE, OUR SPACE to fully participate in changing long-existing mores in our community. Use the example of Dr. King in rejecting the notion that we cannot overcome. Lead, CHURCH!

Jerry Anderson is co-owner of Village Produce & County Store.

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