Monday, December 6, 2010

Aldermen eyes closing centers in next year’s budget

The mid-term election of new conservatives and members of the tea party will hold devastating consequences for the African-American community throughout the country.
It is no doubt that the civil rights gained in the 60s and 70s will be repealed once these advocates of less government take office. The most likely results are that these cuts will create an even wider gap between the have and have-nots of this country. We can expect in the future the inability of poor people to be able to empower themselves in order to improve their condition in America. Let’s put it this way, there will be no bootstraps for underprivileged Americans to lift themselves up by.

Already, new members of Congress are talking about repealing the healthcare bill, what they referred to as Obamacare.
Some of these newcomers admit that their attention will focus only on making sure that President Obama is not reelected. Whether or not poor people have adequate healthcare or other life needs, has been shown to be a lesser priority to these apprentices.
Because African-Americans have been brainwashed to believe that the only time they need to vote is during national elections, opportunities are missed which send a clear message that they are not a force in America to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, the only point made in the mid-terms were that blacks are a weak voting block, and politicians need not answer to them, or view them as constituents.

A few nights ago I spent several hours listening to budget discussions by city Aldermen. What was astonishing to me were the number of Republican and tea party supporters that sit on the council that brought up the idea of closing community centers that are partronized by African-Americans in order to plug holes in the city budget.
The community centers year after year have become an easy target for politicians that want to make a name for themselves by painting themselves as being fiscally conservative.
More than 10 times during the meeting, these devout Republicans, who are members of the Council, most noted Greg Helding and David Macck, described the community centers as nonessential. Lets look at the word. “Having little or no importance; not essential.”
Macck even suggested that the Dr. John Bryant Center be closed this year in order to save the city over $200,000.

If this is the view of some of our city’s influential Aldermen regarding the centers in the Black community now, it takes little imagination to figure out that these centers would be the first on the chopping block in next year’s budget.
2nd District Alderman Eric Marcus, said that he disagrees with his colleagues. “The community centers are essential, they keep kids engaged in positive activities,” he told me after the meeting.

He adds, “My only wish is that we have more young people participating in programs that the centers offers.” Marcus suggests.
As an elected official myself, I know the trend of politicians is to make cuts in areas where they feel they will receive the least resistance from voters. If in their minds African-Americans do not vote, then it is readily understood that they will get little or no resistance from the Black community if they close historical community centers within the inner city.

These are centers that civil rights leaders of this community fought to have built in the 70s. Today they are the widely used and have programs designed for the young people, middle-aged, as well as seniors of our community. However, the Martin Luther King Community Center, and Dr. John Bryant Community Center are the two centers these Alderman wants to targeted for closing.

I hope this article will serve as a wake-up call to the need for the minority community to come together to assure that these two historical locations in our community are not closed.
I strongly suggest that pastors and civil rights leaders begin now demanding from elected officials that these two centers are left alone. I would go as so far as to say that the community should demand that the city sign a contract of assurance guaranteeing that these centers will not be tampered with.

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