By Jeff Thomas
Well it’s that time of year again. How many resolutions have you broken already? Ate better yet? How about that working out thing? Change is hard. The great James Baldwin says, “Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
New Orleans should be the best place to raise a family in the world. Food, fun, culture, uniqueness separates this great place from all others. But we have systemic and intransigent problems that must be faced and then changed. Economic disparities, repressive governance, lack of business opportunities, and racial divisiveness generate crime and poverty and bad schools which create cyclical and generational binds that anchor us to a muck and prevents us from becoming the idyllic wonderland that we seek.
Simple steps can help us help each other and especially ourselves. If each of us does each of these, then NOLA will approach the paradise we pursue.
- Get involved in something outside of family and work
Community groups create safe spaces and produce meaningful improvements across this town. Options abound but include Justice and Beyond, Parks for All, A Community Voice, and many more.
- Vote in every election
Politics affect every part of your daily life. From the taxes you pay on every purchase, to the traffic cameras that snap pics of your license plate, to unanimous juries deciding the fate of people who are accused crimes. Two important millage elections are upcoming in the next couple of months one regarding feeding seniors and the other surrounding parks and greenspace in the city.
- Call your council person or the mayor or state and national representatives and offer them ideas
Our elected officials are trying to do a good job. But if they don’t know what you want then they will do what they think you want them to do. Get engaged. Call them and offer ideas, complaints, solutions and new ways to get things accomplished. Our leaders need and want to hear from you. You may only get to talk to their staffs, but they get the messages.
- Do business regularly with a black owned business(es)
This is the most important thing anybody in NOLA can do! This is more important than voting or getting involved or talking to your spouse daily. Ok that last one might be a stretch, but the point is this is really, really important. The single biggest failure of the city of New Orleans is the sparsity of successful black owned businesses. Successful black owned businesses reduce crime, increase neighborhood stability, generate tax dollars, create more business opportunities, increase police and teacher pay and make the sun rise seem brighter.
- Help a friend or neighbor or family member accomplish a goal.
Your life will be better and the people you help will be better. And they can pay it forward.