If you live or work in the City of Harrisburg, then you should be well-aware of the fact that a racial-divide between African Americans and Caucasians exists, but it’s not just a divide.
It’s like the Grand Canyon.
And during the latest round of Candidate Forums held at the South Allison Hill Community Center last week, the topic nudged its way toward the surface.
We can spend all of the time and effort we want pointing fingers at things like the incinerator, police and fire residency requirement, diminished public services like snow plowing and road repairs, a questionable annual city budget, and infighting amongst council; but the only way that we, as a city, will resolve any of those issues is if we are, truly, a unified community.
Acknowledging the fact that, yes, this is not just a Harrisburg issue, we can also make note that national change starts locally.
Don’t get me wrong- I don’t think that the national race issue will be resolved in Harrisburg. But we can try to do our part.
And it’s going to start at the top.
This is high time for all of the candidates running for Council, School Board or Mayor to pay attention to that giant elephant in the corner and talk about ways that we, as a city, can get past our differences and focus on our similarities.
We all have been oppressed in some way or another by the current administration.
The disparity between the percentage of black students and black teachers does affect each of us in some capacity.
And yes, we’ve all likely traveled to other cities where nationalities coexist relatively harmoniously.
Why can’t we do the same here?
Obviously, it’s going to take more than just talking about things. And there are abundant social and cultural differences between the black, white, Asian and Middle Eastern communities to acknowledge.
But it seems to me like we all want the same things in this incredibly heated political season.
We want transparency from our leaders. We want them to be held accountable for their actions. We want them to be beholden to the constituency which will elect or defeat them. And we’re all (black, white, Asian or ‘other’) tired of local government putting personal gain ahead of the good of the citizens.
Hope and change? Sure.
“The best way of saying is doing” and our candidates have been saying a lot these days.
But my vote will go to the ones who are going to do what they say.
And the number one priority should be getting the residents of this city to work together.
And that’s going to start at the top.