Due to the nature of how PathChoice Ministry provides pastoral counseling, we have received questions concerning the Spotlight on Exclusion Report published by the UNC Law School Civil Rights Center.
Most I have referred to experts I thought might be helpful. Since UNC is my alma mater, I have also communicated with some of the staff there, including one of my former professors, not so much about the report itself, but to ask what are their specific recommendations. When my adult sons were growing up, if they brought me a problem or disagreement, my first course of action would be to ask them to bring me a suggested solution.
There are some steps that could be taken to improve things. First there must be a desire to improve. What would make that desire real is an awakening to the fact that Kinston/Lenoir County will grow and become prosperous when everyone matters. Officials represent all people equally, and should, then, demonstrate that all constituents matter. Every decision should weigh the consequences for all citizens, not just one portion of the population. We must become sensitized to that way of thinking all year long, not just at election time when securing votes.
One question that was asked is whether elected officials recognize that raising the price of utilities to place funds in the operating budget places more burden on underprivileged citizens, who rent, in order to keep from raising the real property taxes of more privileged citizens, who own. An alternative is to make it attractive for young people to call Kinston home. When they finish college, offer them good jobs so they can contribute to their home community, instead of enhancing a community far off.
I remember when I lived in Charlotte, I was young and did not fully comprehend the reason staff paid with public funds were required to live in the city. Now I recognize that if you live in another city and work in Kinston, you are taking taxpayer-paid salaries to spend on taxes, groceries, and other living expenses where you live; instead of spending your earnings back into the local economy paying you.
Entrepreneurship and businesses large and small are cause for supportive celebration. Someone took steps to provide quality goods and services to our community, be it shoe-shine boxes, cookie baskets, car washes, seamstress kiosks, tutoring centers, smoothie shops or juice bars.
Churches in Kinston/Lenoir County come together frequently to worship and dine together, when congregations celebrate Holy Week and other events. There are also some congregations which are inter-racial in the normal routine of weekly worship services. This is an area where sensitivity to diversity and compassion for all mankind is strong.
Steps to Student Success is an orientation tool showing that each child can learn when steps to learn are followed, including studying, mannerly conduct, practice, and tutoring. After-school programs need to continue as part of the natural education process. It will take a one-on-one approach and a concern that every child is well-educated to measure the success of the educator. Some may feel that it takes some failing students to make sure menial jobs can be filled.
I happened upon the movie, Dave, the other night, and I watched this regular guy, drafted to pose as the president, sit down at a table and transfer funds earmarked for marketing the auto industry, for paying contractors who were delinquent, and other budgeted items, to a program to provide housing for homeless children and their families. The money was there all the time. It just took someone with the heart to care more about all of the people.
I love my hometown, and the truth withstands the tests of time. Loving all of Kinston/Lenoir County brings the heart into the mix. Jesus said as much as we do unto the least, we do unto him. Picture this: a community of people who live well on both sides of the tracks. Word gets out that it is the place to live, raise families, work, and play, a town of haves.
It is simple to me. People are people. I have black and white dear friends. I have black and white family members. Were enough genealogical research done, couldn’t we all say the same? Bring it down front then. Care about every single person in our community the same, and let’s grow strong so anybody anywhere can come in and study us, then go try to duplicate us.
Min. Evelyn Dove Coleman can be reached at PathChoice Ministry via EvDove03@yahoo.com.