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Letter to the Editor: Who is benefiting?

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Political malfeasance, bribery and corruption, misuse of public office and sexual misconduct are the expected behavior of those in power ranging from the very top position of the presidency to the lowest city official.

When the recent spate of accusations and vitriolic attacks on members of our City Council appeared, spearheaded by the Rocky Mount Telegram, I asked myself the questions

“Why now?” and “Who Benefits?”

It is clear that color lines are now being drawn on both sides, making this a potentially dangerous situation. Racial conflicts have never benefited either party; they fan the flames of greater distrust and disunity that can simmer for many years. However, there has always been some third entity which gets away with the final prize. For me, this brings to mind the racial divisions and wars fanned by colonialists, who then swooped in to gather the rewards as the disunity weakened overall resistance.

I see such a similar situation now as the local economy is picking up. New investments are coming to town and many of them around the Event Center. A lot of the new businesses will have to be built on and around current communities of color, located primarily in the Edgecombe part of Rocky Mount. The age-old tried and true method used is gentrification.

New developments price out poorer people and folks of color who have lived here all their lives.

Fortunately, the communities are now better organized and willing to fight for their place in the sun. Meetings have been carried out with city officials to ensure that displacements do not happen as new prosperity moves in. This will require a certain amount of regulation of new investments to preserve the rights of our communities, and also ensure preservation of historic black contributions in this part of our town. We also want to enable small businesses to thrive there.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that businesses and investments want to reap huge profits. In order to do so, they do not want to be regulated nor have any conditions placed on them. Thus, in my mind, this current back and forth between our citizens weaken the overall power of city officials to bargain effectively for the rights of our endangered communities on the Edgecombe side. My plea is to not allow ourselves to be sucked into this hateful scheme, no matter what our differences are.

Dr. Kim E. Koo

Rocky Mount

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