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#1: As someone given the privilege of public service and the respect of being a voice for the African American community during that time, I am deeply troubled with the equation that handing out taxpayers' dollars makes you a "known commodity" (translation: ally) in our community. Just my opinion: you cannot appease me, or thousands of other African Americans in this state, by making sure certain worthy causes are earmarked for federal funding alone. To be a true ally, you have to stand with us on the issues that matter, that created those causes in the first place. For example, there wouldn't be a need for a Jackson Medical Mall if there was not a major disparity in health care coverage. There wouldn't be a need for HeadStart if the educational disparities in our public education system weren't perverse. Take a public stand on the issues the people, to whom you so actively courted, give a damn about. Introduce or, at the very least, vote for legislation that will uplift those constiuents. Maybe then they will be empowered enough not to depend on such earmarks. Maybe then you will earn the distinction of ally.
#2: Maybe they would still be having a memorial service tomorrow for Mrs. Ruth Helen Harrion, but if the members of the Jackson Police Department hadn't failed to perform their sworn duty Tuesday, we probably would be more focused and supportive of their efforts to bring the killers to justice, rather than be saddened, disgusted, and doubtful of any positive result. When you are in public service, as a first responder or an elected official, one has to remember that human lives hang in the balance with every decision or indecision, every action or inaction. Chief Horton is to be commended for being accountable for what transpired, but I pray that this is the last time a Chief of Police for the City of Jackson has to ever have that type of press conference. A pizza delivery driver goes away when no one responds at a door, not a Jackson Police Officer. A telemarketer hangs up on a call, not a 911 dispatcher. To protect and serve, a simple four-word phrase that carries with it an awesome responsibility. When that phrase is not treated with the highest regard, when people think all they are doing is just working a job, tragedies happen. The lesson in this "teachable moment": take the oath you swore to uphold before God seriously and respect the opportunity to serve with the utmost priority, because lives hang in the balance.