By Representative Allan Farley
It amazes me how we focus on the face in the mirror. And, technology continues to downsize our mirrors so no-one else can be seen in it but us. NEWS FLASH!!! There are people all around us that we need to see.
I grew up in Bessemer, Alabama in the 50’s and 60’s. My dad was a state employee. We didn’t have a lot, but we didn’t know it. It was a big deal to “walk” to downtown Bessemer around Christmas to look at the animated Christmas scenes in the windows at Loveman’s and Pizitz. While we were there we would walk over to the A&P Grocery on 20th. Of course we could only get two bags because it was me and mom and my little brother. (When Mark was big enough to tote a bag mom learned to drive. She really did like him best). My dad was always working, and he had the only car until I was a teenager. That’s just the way it was. We thought everybody lived like we did.
Over the past 40 to 50 years Bessemer has changed. Pullman Standard, The Rolling Mill, Ziegler Meat Processing, Long-Lewis Ford, & Hardware, and Loveman and Pizitz department stores are gone. Arlington Elementary School has been boarded up for years. Bessemer High School moved from the downtown area in 1971 and became Jess Lanier. Does anyone remember when Bessemer General Hospital was on 3rd Avenue and 17th Street?
What does this trip down memory lane have to do with not closing the Bessemer Courthouse? Everything. That courthouse lease should be way down our list of concerns in Bessemer. Two blocks from the courthouse is the Foundry Rescue and Recovery Center. They have people living there who don’t have a home, much less a lease. (Let’s meet there for a rally).
We all have joined the exodus of downtown Bessemer patrons traveling to malls, shopping centers, and drive-throughs. We have all contributed to long-time downtown Bessemer business owners closing their doors. However, I don’t remember any rally’s or sign bearers voicing concerns over their future. But, we will rally, and blog, and point fingers, to save a building. It’s past time we start caring about things worth our time. PEOPLE.
Last Saturday Muriel and I went to see a movie that made me think about the families living within walking distance of our courthouse. (We’re talking about PEOPLE and a BUILDING. The families we drive past). The movie is titled “Unconditional”. It’s a true story about a man in Nashville, Tennessee who chose to help inner-city kids find a way to survive. (We’re talking about shelter, food, clothing, and a chance to go to school).
Current Census Bureau data shows 18.9% of all Alabama residents were in poverty in 2011, including 27.8% of all children, and 10.3% of all elders.
Hosea 13:6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.
God Bless America!!!