On the surface of things, one might be led to believe that Sampson County-Clinton “is the perfect place to call home.” Granted, as a lifelong resident of Sampson County, I, too, believe the county is a good place to start a business and raise a family.
However, when you assemble the facts in terms of the disparities between blacks and whites in the areas of economics, education, health care and social and criminal justice, the reality becomes more dismal and painful, suggesting that too many Sampson residents are being left behind.
Now, to me, it is far less productive to spend time on assessing blame and pointing fingers. Rather, I hope we can all agree that it’s time to address the possibilities for including everyone in the economic future of Sampson County, acting as though all lives do matter, in an environment of dignity and respect. By creating a culture of equity and inclusion, that will bring us a step closer to healing from past historical wrongs, engendering a better understanding and good will between the races.
As community partners, believing that it takes a village to raise a child, we must labor to overcome our “savage inequalities” that plague our economy, our schools and our country as a whole, confronting the pressing issues of our time. With the whole community, including businesses, the family, churches, civic organizations, schools and government, making a concerted effort, we can help all children and youth, especially those adrift and desperate, to get on a path to success, while inspiring them to assume greater personal responsibility. Then, let them know they can pull themselves up and out of negative circumstances.
Working together, these community partners must do more to help all people access the possibilities, while treating all human beings as if their lives have value.
Working together, these community partners can create new paths to improve life chances for success, encouraging our youth to see the connection between getting an education and finding a good job.
Working together, these community partners must resolve to put into practice the belief that each individual should have the same opportunity to realize his or her full potential. Getting a quality education is the pathway to a better future for all who are willing to work hard.
As good people of all backgrounds, we need to work together at building our community to its future, preparing to move forward and give everyone a shot at a decent living, while creating a peaceful society, with a community ethos of fairness and justice for all.
Larry Sutton is a former Clinton High School history teacher.