Public safety and a learned citizenry are two of the most important social structures that blaze a community’s path towards the future. And Hey Indianola! I just arrived in your city, and you’ve got potential. Leadership in the city and in the school district may not have all the answers, but they are approaching the education of children and addressing the community’s well-documented criminal woes with substance. I don’t have delusions of grandeur suggesting that people are walking down the streets holding hands singing “Kumbaya,” but as the Rev. Herron Wilson so eloquently stated, “decorum is important and for the most part, we have it here in Indianola.” Let’s start with the police department. Indianola Mayor Ken Featherstone and his new police chief, Ronald Sampson have shared with the public in this publication and in recent public meetings that keeping communities safe begins with getting citizens involved. The mayor will provide citizens the opportunity Saturday to come by and volunteer their services with youth, assisting police, and just making the city a cleaner more hospitable place to do business and raise a family. Sunflower County Consolidated School District superintendent, Miskia Davis and her administrative staff are holding community conversations as you’re reading this piece and are celebrating the excitement of learning through academic competition. No institution of learning or community will ascend to its rightful place without an accountable and involved citizenry and leadership. In both venues, the onus is being placed on the citizens at large to lend time, talent, expertise and resources to institutions that are designed to reciprocate with excellent service. And when people lay agendas aside for the betterment, safety, and well-being of community, then they have the absolute right to gripe and complain about inadequate service. During his meet-and-greet at the BB King Museum, police chief Sampson summed it up perfectly using an anatomical analogy. “Wishbones are the people always wishing this would change. Jaw bones are the ones always talking about change. And backbones are the ones doing the work.”
As one of the major sources of public information in the county, the Enterprise-Tocsin will hold all of those appointed above us accountable. But we all should give leadership the opportunity and courtesy to execute their visions for the people they serve. Indianola is not so socially, economically, culturally, and racially divided that growth and prosperity aren’t possible. I’ve worked in communities where purposeful division and discord are acceptable.
Differences will always be part of the dialogue, but disrespect seems to have taken a back seat to decorum if all early observations are not misleading.
Embrace this foundation Indianola. It’s fragile and can be lost never to be regained for a long time.
To paraphrase the late Ray Charles, “I’ve been many places in my life and times…. Indianola, now that we’re alone together, I’m singing this song for you!”