By Beverly Gadson-Birch
I founded a program back in the early 80’s, along with six volunteers, called Scholars for Excellence. It was a motivational program for students in grades 1-6. The impetus really came from working with Operation Push and the Push Excel Program out of Chicago under Rev. Jesse Jackson. I often reflect on our program’s motto “Never Say Fail”. I also used the title of a book, “You Can Be President or Anything Else,” to instill in the young scholars the endless possibilities if they apply themselves. When I run into some of the adults who were in the program, they are doing quite well. And when I think about how #45 is running the country, without hesitation anyone of those kids in the program could have been “President or Anything Else” if the right door opened for them. After living through #45 reign of disparagement, I may have had a running chance as well.
So, here’s the point! When you cast your vote for candidates, be sure they come highly qualified and with high morals. We have two very important mayoral races on our doorsteps—Cities of Charleston and North Charleston. The two sitting mayors are going to pull out all stops to ensure another term. Don’t be reeled in with last minute appointments, keys to the city, or naming of parks. They may even kiss your baby! Don’t be surprised at the money spent on these campaigns! Follow the money trail, everything that looks like gold isn’t gold. Whatever you do, do not be bamboozled by campaign promises. The best way to determine what candidates will do is look at what they have done in the past. If there are open ditches, mosquitoes and rats infestation, clogged street drains, potholes, boarded up houses, absence of grocery stores, no jobs, no health care, no savings, blight and homelessness, in your community after 25 years, then you need to be extra careful who you cast your vote for in this election. If crime and poverty are holding you prison in your home, it’s time for a change.
Why are minority contractors running from pillar to post looking for work? Have you seen all the construction projects around you? Check out who gets the contracts. Friends? Relatives? I know y’all didn’t ask me, but you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Take the blinders off! See what can be as opposed to what is!
For years, we have been voting for persons who have only worked on their behalf and that of their inner circle. Whatever happened to government “for the people and by the people”? It’s time to put a stop to cronyism. Check the records and see who holds most of the top paying jobs in Charleston and North Charleston. While you are checking, be sure to see who receives the lion share of construction contracts, goods and services, and the list goes on. It’s no longer about the Baby Boomer generation—old fogies like me. It’s about Generations X and Y; it’ about generations of black and brown children yet unborn. It is time to act responsibly to ensure that the same cycle of degradation, homelessness and inferior education is not repeated. When folks are made to feel bad and live in bad neighborhoods, they begin to look bad and lose their self-esteem. They stop trying! Folks tend to make you feel you can’t when you can. Beware! It’s a method behind their madness.
I don’t know about you, but I am sticking to the scholars’ motto, “Never Say Fail”. Do y’all remember the story of the little fire engine trying to get to the top of the hill? “I think I can, I think I can.” Do not accept no, when the answer should be yes. Do not hold your head down when you should be looking up. One sure way to stay afloat and not drown in a sea of despair is to vote crooked folks out of office. Do not allow exclusion to define your pathway through life or that of your children. ou deserve a bright future for you and your children, an affordable home and health care, a job paying decent wages and a little money in the bank. It is time for a change!
Vote, Vote, Vote! Vote!! Early voting! Absentee voting! No Excuse!! Vote!!