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Letter to the Editor: Council critics offer nothing

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

In the annals of history, there are many stories about African Americans who dared to take a stand for justice and equality and how they faced character assassination and even death at the hands of those who saw them as a threat to their way of life.

In these same annals there are also stories about betrayal by African Americans who would have been the beneficiaries. Sadly, not much has changed over time. The struggle for justice and equality continues, unwarranted criticisms rage on and betrayal still lurks among us.

Activist Martin Luther King Jr., with his nonviolent approach, and Malcom X, with his straight talk approach, advocated for the same thing and were assassinated for the same reason because they dared to challenge the status quo. The Rev. William J. Barber and Rev. Al Sharpton are demonized not because they mislead their audience but because their truth to power undresses the ills of injustice and inequality in a way that is unsettling for those who fear the loss of power. At this writing I cannot think of one African American activist spared misrepresentation of intent and purpose. Indeed, there are those among us who obviously believe they alone have a monopoly on leadership ability.

African American community activists are also subjected to the same maligning as those in the national or state arena. Right here in our own community, we see two African American council members who advocate for inclusion that will level the playing field being subjected to unsubstantiated claims of wrongdoing. It’s the same old tactic of dividing to conquer. It’s not the occasional abrasiveness of one of the council members or the calm soft-spoken delivery of the other that’s a problem for their critics, it’s the inability to break their spirit.

Critics of these two councilmen profess the good and welfare of this town and its citizens are at the root of their concern yet they offer up nothing but negativity. They do not bring forth constructive suggestions that are inclusive and will benefit all. By their words, actions and deeds these critics have demonstrated their lack of a desire to see growth and prosperity flourish in all communities in this town. It’s really about self-interest and regaining a power hold, not about the people’s interest.

Most of us have seen this play before so be honest about the intent.

Gardenia B. Hobbs

Rocky Mount

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