by Rhonda Sherrod
All around Maywood, there appears to be a new energy surging. From the dark recesses of places where people once felt hopeless and overwhelmed, weary and fatigued, light is filtering through. Today, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, the first female Mayor of Maywood will take her oath of office to serve the constituency of the Village of Eternal Light. The novelty and freshness of this moment feels inspiring; so, hopefully, this can be a turning point for our town.
After all, haven’t you had enough? How many of our bright and hard-working youngsters, like Dashamone (Deshawn) McCarty, 19, a three-sport athlete from Proviso East who had just completed his first year in college, have to fall before we make a decision to refuse to accept the completely unacceptable? My heart aches concerning the death of that young man — a beautiful Proviso East Pirate, cut down in the prime of his life — and I am keenly aware that many other residents feel the same sense of pain and loss.
However, we need not feel helpless. Dashamone‘s death should be a clarion call. His death should be the one that makes us wake up to what is happening in this town and to what our own responsibilities are in the larger scheme of things. This loss should be the loss that jumpstarts us into the reality that we do not have to sit by idly and watch as kids get murdered in the streets… one after the other.
Indeed, this is a critical juncture in Maywood’s history. I am cognizant of the fact that some people are feeling dispirited because they are expecting a “council (or trustee) war” to erupt the moment Mayor-Elect Edwenna Perkins begins wielding her mayoral power. But, as our president, Barack Obama, would say, “Let me be clear:” We do not have to accept obstructionism in our municipal government and especially not at a time when the stakes are so very high for all of us. I am all for intelligent, robust and healthy debate, but, in the final analysis, that debate must yield a felicitous response so that government can work. So, instead of bracing for madness and folly, we should be preparing to defeat any and all unwarranted and malicious behaviors.
Wake up, Maywood! We pay these trustees and they are supposed to serve the best interests of the citizens of this village. Fighting, bickering, and trying to obstruct village business will not be in anybody’s best interest, and if that is what anyone in public office has in mind, then we, the people, need to make it clear that we will not accept it.
We have some very serious problems facing this town. As examples, we have a public safety problem, a problem with our schools (at the secondary and elementary levels), and problems with our water expenses and system of receiving water. Taxes are too high and foreclosures are problematic enough to threaten the viability of our community. We need economic development and jobs for our youth, we need to attain clarity and effectiveness regarding government finances, we need more cultural and social programming and recreational outlets for our children (and this is especially true with a long, hot summer impending), and we need greater support for struggling parents. We also need governmental entities that work together. In other words, our elected officials — all of them — need to get it together and get to work tout de suite.
We, the people, have absolutely no time for foolishness emanating from public servants in this town and we, the people, need to make it crystal clear that we will not sanction hostility, inactivity, ineffectiveness, or incompetence. Every public official that represents this village, newly elected/appointed or not, needs to come to the table with his or her “A” game. And we, the people, need to make sure that they get the job done in the best interest of the people.
We need to give these public servants commands and make it manifestly clear to each and every one of them that they serve at our behest. If they don’t want to do what is best for the town, then they are perfectly welcome to return to the private sector so we can get replacements who will properly represent the residents. And perhaps most important of all, Maywoodians need to first understand and then proceed with the proper paradigm: These people work for us. They are our employees, and we want and need an open, accessible, transparent, honest, and high functioning government.
We all know that in every field there are people who want the job and the title, but who don’t want to do the work. In the public sphere, it is our job, as citizens, to determine who is doing what and to ferret out and oust anyone who does not have the integrity to put the needs of the people before any and all silly, petty, irrelevant and useless nonsense. Nobody wants a fight, but if there is a politician who is looking for one, then we, the people, need to give that politician the fight he or she is looking for. Our message to such a person should be simple, clear, direct and uncomplicated: Work for the good of the town and in the best interest of the residents or leave.
So, on Tuesday night, go ahead Maywoodians, and party like it’s 2099, because we have done something historic. But when Wednesday morning rolls around, let’s get to work — with a new perspective — and make our village flourish.
“Yes We Can” build a stronger and better community.