If I were still writing a newspaper column, which I’m not as I’ve retired, this is what I would write.
I’ve been in self-isolation at my farm since March so I’m pretty far removed from the goings-on in Jacksonville, where I worked at The Florida Times-Union for almost 40 years.
But in 28 years of writing a column, I attended countless meetings, hand-holding sessions and soul-baring conversations about how to overcome racism in the city and the inequities facing the African-American community.
Reports were written, recommendations were made and, boy, did we all feel good.
Nothing has changed. It’s gotten worse.
Now is not the time for more talk. Now is the time to do something.
The racists among us will never change their stripes, but the city can do something it should have done decades ago.
It can begin by spending money, lots of it, to improve low-income neighborhoods that never received the promises of Consolidation. It can get serious about creating jobs throughout Jacksonville. It can fix the city’s crumbling public schools.
It can insist on a police department that builds up instead of tearing down.
It can begin by scrapping plans to spend hundreds of millions of city dollars to appease a billionaire NFL owner who wants new fancy digs around the football stadium and instead spend the money to provide needed help to low-income neighborhoods.
You want to send a message? Another nicely bound volume on confronting the problems of race in Jacksonville won’t do it.
Five years into Lenny Curry’s time in office, we are far from being “One City, One Jacksonville.”
Make a difference. Demand change. Now.