Driving down Ford Avenue, there is a message outside Canaan Baptist Church that says there is no growth without change. Richmond Hill seems to have at its focus the desire to defy that statement.
There is growth in Richmond Hill; that is indisputable, but change is questionable.
It feels more like the statement, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Change is happening, but certain factions want to control the area of change, the speed (or lack thereof) of change, and the manner in which that change is delivered.
Since 2018, there has been quite a bit of change in Richmond Hill. There was the proclamation that put things in motion that led to the inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and park event of 2019. We have seen a proclamation recognizing February as Black History Month in Richmond Hill. The Bryan County NAACP once again became a viable organization.
People who had not been involved in anything in this city before, stepped up and out to volunteer for the MLK parade.
Women changed the face of local and national politics. And two African Americans ran for City Council.
So, what can stay the same in the midst of all this change?
Personalities in leadership or leadership personalities seem to be maintaining the status quo.
There is still the attitude of “Stay in your lane,” quiet and subdued, if you intend to play role in the progress that is to be made. That cannot continue.
Challenge is a part of growth and change. Opposing views, opposing ideologies, calls to action where there has been none before and a willingness to answer that call regardless of personal feelings, regardless of personal beliefs and regardless of personality conflicts.
The world view is expanding and in this world of inclusion, the line cannot be drawn at ethnicity, but must be expanded to include the whole person and their contribution.
There is an old saying: When you take a leadership personality position, cowards ask the question, “Is it safe?”
Politicians ask the question, “Is it popular?”
But, conscious or committed people ask the question, “Is it right?”
That attitude of “is it right,” is what it will take to propel this city to become a smart city The MLK Parade event was the beginning of a movement.
This movement is an important part of the growth of Richmond Hill into a smart city. Unity in the Community, the organization that led the dream and the march to the success of the first Martin Luther King Parade in Richmond Hill, is passing the torch of leadership for the 2020 MLK parade in Richmond Hill to the newly sanctioned Bryan County NAACP.
The NAACP, historically, is an organization for the championing of the rights and needs of the people.
MLK marches, historically, have been for the championing of the rights and needs of the people.
With the vision and purpose clear, let’s continue to make a difference and participate in the changes in this city. Let’s continue the movement.
Remember; “There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society, with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose. People who have a stake in their society protect that society. But when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.” -Dr. King
President, Unity in the Community
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