Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You've got to stand up for what you believe in...

Back in college, the African-American student body was protesting and called for everyone to demonstrate by locking themselves in a building until the Administration heard and responded to requests. At the time, before I became an activist and created the African-American Studies program as a major, I was just regular. Folks were demonstrating and I didn't have time to get involved, was my attitude. I didn't even know what the demands were, I thought as I walked to class instead of locking myself up with the others. I'm sure other students didn't know (like my cousin), but wanted to join in on the protest just because.

I let the opportunity pass me by to be a leader and/or to let my voice be heard. But, as I grow older and learn more lessons in this life, I stop, think and take a stand. Yep, I was out there stopping sagging pants in the street and registering them to vote. And even now, as I learned that Mecklenburg County has planned to close 12 (not 2 or 3) libraries, I refused not sit home and let someone else do the talking for my community. I attended the meeting and added my two cents and a question.

I'm appalled at the audacity of our city to announce 12 libraries to be closed in less than a month, unless we raise 2 million dollars. Thanks for the heads up, oh great Queen city. I, and other citizens of our community, are outraged with the short timed announcement.

Why on earth would they build a new library (Hickory Grove) and invest in the remodeling of another (Beatties Ford) and close them both? Why would they close such high traffic locations such as these? Why would they close locations with most of them being on the East side of Charlotte? Better yet, doesn't City Council realize that they are closing the libraries in the areas that need them most - areas that cannot afford internet service? Teachers announced that the only way that their students get their research assignments completed was by visiting their local library and using the computers -- so much for our children competiting in the 21st century. And, why would they close libraries in the areas that don't have local bookstores?

I'm flabbergasted! This is tomfoolery! If schools weren't threatening closings and more layoffs, then many of us wouldn't have been so outraged. We're sick of hearing about budget cuts in our school system and now the library! I wonder, if they threated to close the libraries out in Ballentyne or other prosperous areas, would the outcry have been louder? Would the monatary investments/donations to keep them open be made sooner? I've seen the resources of those schools and libraries compared to other areas (plus, they have bookstores galore in their communities) and there is no comparison.

Well, all of that doesn't matter unless we all learn the lesson - stand up for what you believe in, instead of watching it on the news and shaking your head. We can't lock ourselves up and wait for folks to listen to our demands, we've got to go out and make our own voices heard. Speak up for yourself!

Peace (this blog sounds stronger if I ended it with a strong "Peace", don't you think?)

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