journey as a country as well. We must truly become a colorblind society. We must move our community to a post-racial world. This means we must shatter the class ceiling in industry, government and in our own hearts that limit people of a different color from advancing beyond a certain point. Our survival depends on it. We need the people with knowledge and character to step to the forefront, no matter the color of their skin.
Tennessee is the fifth most populous state in America for African-Americans. You do not have to travel far to find black people. I know this message is not popular at 800 South Lee Highway, but I must ask once again why are our schools so woefully unstaffed with African-American teachers? Why is there no African American or other minority administrators? I personally cannot recall one person of African descent ever being employed at the Bradley County Schools Central Office. Not one. I hope the new Director of Schools addresses the issue of veiled racism head on. Some of my favorite teachers Helen Miller, Ron Hill, Belinda Henley helped instill a love of my country through their passionate advocacy of American History. They were also African-American.
I recently asked School Board member Christy Critchfield by email to explain to me why no minority candidates were considered for the recent Director of Schools opening? I asked her point blank: "How many minority teachers are in our system? How many minority administrators? How many minority employees at the Central Office? If one of your responsibilities as a member of the Board of Education is to do the best thing for our school system as a whole, why are minority applicants not being sought for our community?" She never responded to those questions. Perhaps someone else should ask her or her colleagues, don't hold your breath waiting for an answer. Our children need to see people who look like them in our schools and classrooms. Not merely on the lower end of the employment opportunity, but on the upper echelon of jobs as well. It is time to not only break, but destroy any color barrier that may still exist as we move our community forward. We must unite for the sake of our children; to give them a world as wonderful as the one we ourselves were handed.
We must also revisit our immigration policies. The racial overtones that dominate the discussion of immigration, is still often nothing more than expansion of discrimination. Yes, we must be careful who enters and stays in our country. Rules should be established that are applicable and applied to all. We cannot let the job demand, out strip the job supply. But we must remember immigrants built our country. This includes my immigrant relatives, as well as yours. I have Native-American ancestors, but they too migrated here at some point. It is a beautiful mosaic that we have weaved, even if the construction was unpleasant, by the many people of different cultures who created this great country. We must visualize a larger picture of America, with a bright future of prosperity and peace. A land where our citizens are not afraid to sacrifice to maintain and people of other nations desire to be part of the dream that is America. That is a legacy we must leave our children. Some of the words that were regularly shared from my friend Toneeke Henderson challenged us to make the choice to see that beauty in others, which strengthens our lives and focuses us to a higher level of spiritual awareness, especially so that we may help others. I shall miss Toneeke's writing tremendously. The truth is I would rather read her words here than my own. One of her favorite inspirational poem's Desiderata by Max Ehrmann is about attaining happiness in life. It ends, "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Toneeke would tell us to dance naked under the moonlight where ever you can. I laughed at the thought of some people dancing, and some people being naked. But it made me laugh. Now the words are easy again, thank you Toneeke.
Happy Mother's Day to all women! Especially those women who made the decision to have a child, because as we know all mothers are working mothers and some children are more work than others. No matter how poor a woman is economically, if she has children she is rich. Remember that mom.
--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN..
He can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit his website at: www.policyexperts.net