Due to the fact we have all been inundated with so much information regarding the pandemic, the economy, the protests, the riots, and the up-coming Presidential election, I thought it better to sit back quietly for awhile.  However, like yourself, what we have seen on the news of late has disturbed me and prompted me to put in my two cents regarding racial unrest not only around the nation but as close as Atlanta in regards to our home county of Douglas.

I have been living here since 1969 and I am here to report that Douglas County has seemed to be very caring and inclusive with all our residents.  Now before anyone jumps down my throat, please give me the chance to explain what I mean.

My family lives on the western side of the county, and as my boys were growing up and playing baseball in the Winston area, it is fact that their teams were made up of about half white and half black boys.  I do not recall any racial tension or events during the many years that we all played together.  Not only did we participate on the same teams, we often shared cook outs or birthdays together.  I grew close to many of the families of color and still consider them my friends.  I have worked with many people of all races through Celebrate Recovery (an addiction program) at Ephesus Church for over 15 years.  I and all our leaders respect everyone who come to us for help.

Some 25 plus years ago Douglas County elected a black man, Jim Steele, as Superintendent of Schools….at a time when the population was about 60% white.  Color did not mean anything, but the character and the qualifications of the person meant everything.  A few years later, Douglas County elected an openly gay woman, Ms. Shehane, as Superintendant of Schools.  Again, she was elected based on her character and qualifications.  Does this sound like a bias community?  I guess that is why I take offense when racial slurs are just thrown out there incorporating Douglas County as part of the surrounding unrest.  I am not saying there were none who were bias, but not the majority.  I can assure you that many white citizens voted for our now black Sheriff, Tim Pounds, and our black Chair-woman, Romona Jackson Jones.

As we move forward, there are some outside groups that would love to disrupt our community and I pray that our leaders will be lead by their love for our county and its citizens before making decisions that could side our community against each other.  We should not become puppets to outside influences but rather become an example for other counties to follow.  If we want our county to thrive as our economy begins to recover, we need to make our county a place of stability and respect toward all people.  I earnestly pray that we do not let the hate from Atlanta spill over to Douglas County.  We can only accomplish this  by leaning on the Word of God and his commandment “ to LOVE your neighbor as you love yourself.”

We are celebrating the 244th birthday of America, although not perfect, but a nation that has changed and improved so much to bring us closer to righteousness for all….no other country has done so much and still exist today.  We cannot undo the past mistakes, but we should learn from our history and strive to improve our future to make a country where everyone has the same opportunity to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Let us all Stand Together as Americans and One Nation.

When Benjamin Franklin was asked,..."what have we got a republic or a monarchy, he quickly said "a republic, if you can keep it." meaning that a Republic's citizens must participate in it and work to keep it. "He said this because our constitution is not a self correcting government. But, it requires the constant devotion and attention of all citizens in order to have a unified nation". (author unknown)