Some Thoughts About The $75K Planning Grant For Rocky Mount, NC

The Train Shed Project Design Was Available to The Public For Input. A Fabulous Design. Keep The Public Updated On It’s Progress Another Great Manley Photograph

“Receiving intensive technical assistance and a $75,000 planning grant will help us make major strides in assisting our residents to achieve financial stability — a key aspect of enhancing our community’s quality of life.” -Mayor Sandy Roberson

Bill West’s Telegram article says the grant and technical assistance engagement partnership will create strategies so Black residents can gain financial success. The city said the municipality is going to engage the community in a series of stakeholder conversations to identify local financial empowerment challenges and opportunities, with a focus on the needs of Black residents. Are you telling us that we haven’t already named the challenges and identified the opportunities for economic possibilities in the black community?

I love the idea of having a full time Grant Writer on board. I love the fact that she succeeded in writing the grant in such a way that it garnered attention and ultimately was given to Rocky Mount, NC. If Mayor Roberson believes in the advocacy of this grant, and it will address the issues it intends, hey, music to my ears. Allow me to be irked, however, when I read there is to be another series of stakeholder conversations. I realize public input may be part of the protocol for the Grant.

Even so, I’m still waiting for a presentation giving the public the results of the last public hearings over The American Rescue Fund. What has been spent, on what? After the gathering of information from participants, what were the categories and how were they prioritized? Who indeed made decisions about the information now in hand? Who is guarding the hen house to account for every penny?

These public hearings make it obvious that the citizens KNOW what they need and they ask for it. Are we to accept that on April 18, 2023 we don’t have strategies ready to go as money becomes available? We have Black ownership happening downtown but often these success stories have to deal with black leadership that wants to control who wins and who losses. Who in the end gets what is needed? Where is the accountability and decision-making for public scrutiny? What on the list of needs articulated by the public are settled upon and scheduled?

After the grant was announced, I remembered attending a public hearing on the Battle park area where we moved from exhibit to exhibit looking at the proposed plans. I was standing next to an older black gentleman and when our eyes met, he said, “I’ve been coming to these things for years and in the end they do what they want to do anyway.” Bless him, I’ve come to see what he means. As the advertisement once said, “Where is the beef?”

So this $75K grant is to help blacks find financial stability. As far back as Richard Nixon’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in 1968, he said, “Black Americans want the pride and self-respect and the dignity that can only come if they have an equal chance to own their own homes, to own their businesses, to be managers and executives as well as workers, to have a piece of the action in the exciting ventures of private enterprise.”

Thomas Sowell, black economist, teaches that economics is the medium of black transformation and progress.

We have black people here in Rocky Mount who KNOW what is needed. They are scattered through the business community, the banks, the city government, they serve on committees that deal with downtown development, they have worked hard and are revitalizing black opportunities. They need support, which the American Rescue Fund was suppose to address. Conversations are plentiful. Especially at election time as we hear once again what a priority the black needs are. Nonsense. If that were true we’d be further along with helping people to help themselves.

When these great things happen like this $75K, or the American Rescue Fund, it brings nothing but possibilities for a better future to many. Another round of identifying the needs of the black community may check off a needed box to qualify, but is ridiculous and insulting. It tells me that all the information gathered in these last years lay in a drawer where no one learned from it or acted upon what was gathered. If you have to ask again what the needs are, you haven’t been listening. And if strategies for these needs aren’t ready to go when money is available, then jobs are not being carried out. This brings us round to the exit stories that people are not allowed to do their jobs. The ‘My will be Done’ agenda makes this harder than it should be. We all look forward to the results this $75K and technical assistance can bring and to reports on the progress of this opportunity.

One thought on “Some Thoughts About The $75K Planning Grant For Rocky Mount, NC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s