Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Looking back and looking ahead

2nd January 2013   ·   0 Comments

As we reach the end of the year, many people have begun to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous 12 months as well as the events, moments and people who impacted our lives most. In the spirit of reflection and resolution, I’ve looked both back at this past year’s high notes and ahead to some of the things that I’d like to see happen.

As we reflect on days gone by and on those yet to come, it’s important to remember that none of us are leaves blowing in the wind. The Creator blessed each of us with the power to determine the course of our lives and to determine our own destinies. How we use that power ultimately determines the lives we lead and the kind of people we become.

Things I’m still hoping and praying for:

• A new police chief and mayor, and a governor who is more interested in governing and serving the state of Louisiana than he or she is in searching for greener pastures.

• An end to military conflict and strife in Africa, the Middle East and around the world,

• Better streets, more competent elected officials and safer communities throughout New Orleans.

• A kinder, more compassionate city where residents look after one another more and share with those less fortunate.

• A local government that does a better job of treating the homeless with dignity, compassion and respect.

• More responsible and conscientious citizens who think twice about throwing trash on the ground and take on an active role in challenging elected officials to do their jobs.

• An opportunity for all displaced New Orleanians who still want to return home to be able to do so in 2013.

• No more slave wages and working conditions for employees in the hospitality industry.

• More efficient and responsive local, state and federal government.

• Greater educational and economic opportunity for young people in New Orleans, especially young Black men and boys.

• A more humane and professional police department.

• Better treatment and compensation for honest, hard-working police officers and firefighters.

• More progressive, positive and African-centered television and radio programming.

• Longer library hours and greater access to the public library for all New Orleanians.

• Less racial animosity, divisive behavior and distrust among the races — along with open, honest dialogue about the current state of race relations and the disparities that must be addressed by local, state and federal elected officials.

• A more just criminal justice system and a truly democratic society.

Among the many things for which I am grateful this year:

• That I was able to successfully retrieve and/or replace at least some of my belongings — especially many of my books, CDs, DVDs and family photos — seven years after Hurricane Katrina.

• To have successfully avoided another catastrophic storm when Hurricane Isaac threatened the Gulf Coast on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

• To have regained my focus and interest in screenwriting.

• To have reconnected with friends and former classmates from high school and college over the past few months that I haven’t seen or spoken to in years.

• To have the wisdom and discernment to know the difference between friends and associates.

• To have a faithful and true circle of friends that I can always depend on and be myself around, friends who have always felt more like family than friends.

• To have met so many young people this year who are enthusiastic and eager to play an active role in the U.S. political process.

• To have met a number of young people, twenty somethings, who are hungry to learn more about their history and culture as people of African descent.

• To feel hopeful about things getting better after the selection of a new U.S. attorney.

• For the many letters and cards I’ve received from readers of The Louisiana Weekly whose support, encouragement and generosity have kept me and others at the publication going since Hurricane Katrina.

• To have lived long enough to witness the election and re-election of the nation’s first Black president, Barack Obama.

• To have survived another year in post-Katrina New Orleans with my mind intact.

• To no longer be living in a cramped, loud apartment on the West Bank.

• To be back in a home on the East Bank of New Orleans more than seven years after Hurricane Katrina.

• To still have a desire to study and share African history with others.

• To be reminded every day that there are people in this city who “get it.”

• To wake up every morning and know that the Creator has a purpose for my life.

This article was originally published in the December 31, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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