EDITORIAL: The way up

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 21, 2002

In our last issue, we told the story of Florence Williams, a resident of Reserve Oaks public housing development, and what she has endured by simply living a quiet, gentle life.

This is an example of how the good people of Reserve Oaks, of any public housing development anywhere, and the neighbors of those housing developments are affected by the ongoing crime which spills into the community at large.

Efforts to overcome the problems of crime, corruption, poverty and under-education cannot be handled by a single agency, or by any combination of agencies. Help must also come from within – from churches, from schools, from community leaders and from the people as a whole, who have to band together and declare as one, “We do not have to live like this! We do have command of our own lives. We have voices and we can make ourselves heard.”

Those voices might also address those criminal elements and declare, “We don’t want you here. We want to keep our children clean of drugs. We want them to grow up with high morals and ethical standards. We want them to be good citizens and people we can take pride in and, by the way, we don’t want your guns, either.”

There are always the people who say it’s all been tried before and take a negative, hopeless attitude that this is the way life is, and it cannot be changed.

However, the record shows that many people have come up from grinding poverty to overcome all obstacles. They did it by exercising their minds and their voices. They did it by taking advantage of their own qualities, taking their talents and abilities and using them as tools to improve their own lives.

And a person never stands so tall as when he bends to take someone else’s hand to lead them up as well.

Drugs are never the answer. Violence is never the answer. Alcohol is never the answer. The answer comes with determination, hope and prayer.