Making The American Rescue Fund Equitable For Rocky Mount, NC

Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good for their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation.
Supreme Court Justice – William O. Douglas

When the statue of Robert E.Lee was pulled down, I found this editing of history unforgivable. Still, I am forever grateful that my reading life expanded; it opened a world of history and biography I knew little about. Like an archeological dig, I began to uncover the back story of my life. Who were the people who influenced my world as it is today? With great emotion, awe, and fascination, I am captivated by those who will remain forever entwined in the stewardship of this great country: both the good and the bad. I can think of no other time more pressing than this moment for reasonable men to agree upon reasonable things.

I am reading “Scorpion: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices by Noah Feldman. Feldman’s book is highly readable and centers on four Justices appointed by Franklin Roosevelt. They are recognized among the most influential jurists to sit on the Supreme Court. The book is about Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, William O. Douglas, and Robert H. Jackson. “Each was a self-made man who came from humble beginnings on the edge of poverty. Each had driving ambition and a will to succeed. Each was, in his own way, a genius.” Though these men did not always agree, their battles legend, their chapter in the American story is fascinating, and I highly recommend the book to you.

Here in Rocky Mount, we have seven members of the City Council making decisions that effect the community. When the American Rescue Plan Public Engagement Meetings are over, will the majority council do as they intended from the start, or will they consider their constituents, who are more than capable of deciding how these Funds should be spent in their Ward.

The City Council will receive the list of public suggestions on how to spend this money. I’m confused. I thought the prior council decided the $5.2 million would be spent on housing and commercial property downtown. I heard a wide range of great ideas, but many had nothing to do with the housing priorities. Neighborhoods at risk, safety, restoration, helping one another in their restored circumstances to continue the progress, that is the goal, is it not?

I continue to listen and think. I am stymied over the fact that people say the fund should be spent in an equitable way, which translates ……. it should only be spent in the predominately black Wards of which there are four. What about that is reasonable for the other three Wards?

After the Public engagement meetings are over and people have been heard, I feel strongly that the residents in each of the 7 Wards can decide how they will prioritize their needs with their share of the pie. My concern is that those who are known to rig the system will use this money on some grand scheme that is profitable to them and has little to do with homes needed for Seniors, Work Force, and more.

The residents, through their neighborhood organization with a president and representatives, should decide, for their Ward alone. I know that Ward 1, for instance, looks more rundown than Ward 6. However, it is not equitable to say, therefore Ward 6 will not be given equal funding because they don’t need or deserve it.

Is there no sentiment to speak the obvious? The long seated councilmen who could have, should have acted on behalf of their constituents, rather than for themselves, have let the boarded-up and deteriorating housing continue to decline over 20+years. There is no money to be made in saving a shotgun house by those who know how to rig the system. ‘Others’ are blamed for the decline. The demand for using this money in an equitable way doesn’t mean equitable for everyone, does it?

Those appointed to the Supreme Court while Roosevelt was President, had grave differences and point of views. And yet, when assigned their place in history they are recognized among the most influential. Rocky Mount, NC citizens have different points of view too, but collectively they are the finest people, God fearing, blessed by traditions with hearts to serve.

Together, in Edgecombe and Nash County, we want the same things. A home, a good education, health care, the dignity of work, to feel safe coming and going, to raise children with values that take them into their own future, so they can realize the dreams of their hearts. I have stated before, a community can not be built along racial lines. We need both a reasonable and equatable outcome from this Rescue fund.

This Rescue Fund money is like planting a seed in the ground that will produce a crop. If each Ward gets an equal share of the fund, it takes it out of the hands of a few with their ‘My Will be Done Agenda.’ This Fund is an opportunity for Rocky Mount to improve their housing and save commercial architecture downtown. The money should be used to improve the quality of life in each Ward according to their priority and need. Divided, the money won’t go far, nonetheless, it is welcomed and used wisely, will make a difference.


From a previous blog about this rescue Plan money – Click On:

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