Sunday, February 26, 2006

Noted Abscenses

I have recently attended these six events:

1. The League of Women Voter “Review the LWVUS Issues on January 21 attended by approximately 30 people.
2. A presentation by the Peoria Historical Society and the Downtown Museum on 1/31/06 on collaboration and attended by approximately 100 people.
3. A Peoria District #150 school board candidate’s forum presented by the “League of Women Voter” attended by approximately 45 people.
4. The Lincoln Senior Award night at the Radisson on 2/16/06 in which awards were given to 16 seniors from 16 high Schools an attended by 100 plus people.
5. The Peoria County Board Siting hearings in which thirty hours (including all day Saturday) of testimony have been presented before an interested audience of up to two hundred or more each day.
6. A Boys and Girls Club fundraiser at the Clubs of River City Friday evening. Approximately 50 tennis players or visitors.

Event one, one black person, County Board member Lynn Pearson.
Event two, I don’t recall more than one.
Event three, two black candidates and four blacks in the audience.
Event four, four blacks in the audience; none as an award winner.
Event five, 3 black people, County Board member Lynn Pearson, County Health Administrator, Andrea Parker and one black person in the audience.
Event six, none.

I may have missed a couple but this article is based on what I observed. If so, I stand corrected.

Census figures show that the County of Peoria is approximately 20% black.

If I am the only one who thinks these figures are quite interesting then you might ask why my distinction of lack of participation in some noteworthy events in this community by people of color?

“Good question” as the phrase is often used when people know they don’t have a valid answer to your question

However, I’ll answer it as best I can. Most of my friends and acquaintances believe we should all be called Americans regardless of race if we are citizens of this country. But then why are some demanding to be identified as Native Americans and African Americans? And why aren’t they participating more in the democratic process?

Personally, I call it “a community disconnect” and it is not a sign of the collaborative community as called for by ex-Caterpillar President Glen Barton in today’s edition of the JS.

On a recent bus trip; two buses, sponsored by Republican Aaron Schock, on a visit to the Lincoln Museum and the State of Illinois Legislature, the paying bus riders, to my observation, were all Caucasians. But I should realize that all Republicans are in college or working except us Caucasian elders.

Another noteworthy observation is that I do not recall seeing any members of the Civic Federation at any of these public events except a perhaps at event #2. Nope, I reviewed my list. But then, why should they be? They are the “movers and the shakers” and the rest of us are just do the “shaking”. I also do not recall any of the movers and shakers in the audience the night I put my name and reputation on the line requesting the school board continue support of the Edison schools in #150. I did see a lot of my black friends and acquaintances in attendance and two on the school board, all in support of Edison schools.

Some may wonder why I would bring to your attention what some would call “trivia”. If you believe this is “trivia”, I must believe that you do not live in Peoria or “Frankly, sir, you don’t give a damn.”

That may be one of the major problems of this community. The citizenry appear to want only to get involved when they perceive that “someone” is “trying to steal their cheese” or they are attempting to promote their own agendas.

How sad.


Anonymous said...

What did the demographics look like based on income?

Merle Widmer said...

The three most important meetings were free and buses still run. Are you saying some people don't have bus fare and we should fund them? Seven or more pages of help wanted in the JS every week plus hundreds of more jobe out there for those who want to work. For those who didn't pay attention in school or are disabled, the community gives them free food, free clothes, free lodgings, and free memberships to the RiverPlex. The jobless probably aren't much concerned about what goes on in this community.

pollypeoria said...

It isn't money per se that keeps blacks from attending Merle, it is the amount of effort that it takes to attend.

Now that I'm a professional nine to fiver with a steady income and a car that I can count on, I get to civic events/causes/meetings frequently.

Years ago, when I was a waitress and poor taking the bus or walking everywhere I was usually too exhausted and used any extra time or money to drag myself to the laundromat to wash my clothes.

I know you have experienced poverty and overcame it, but I think you have lost touch with how incredibly inconvenient poverty can be.

How many meetings would you be attending if you were economically challenged and had a couple of little kids in tow? Moreover, how motivated would you be to attend if you felt the powers that be really didn't give a damn about your community or neighborhood?

If we, as European-Americans, can somehow prove/convince African-Americans CARE about their success and well being, they might actually be THERE.

Stormin' Norman said...

It’s unfortunate we can’t seek reparations from the descendents of the slave traders who put us in our current predicament as a nation. Therefore, I try not to concern myself with race issues, since it’s pretty much a waste of time. However, I do achieve a certain perverse level of satisfaction by flipping off every Section 8 project I drive past in my expensive Italian sports car…

Anonymous said...

What a racist article. All African Americans aren't on the government coffers. Everyone I went to school with paid attention and did not live on Free Anything. We love our community, work hard, and raise our children.

The are whites that don't attent meetings, is on welfare, get free clothing and free everything. Why it it that you believe all African Americans a on welfare or receiving free clothes.

Most of the time the people that put together the meeting exclude the African American Community.

Merle, GIVE ME A BREAK!! What do you know about African Americans, Waht do you know about how we think.

Get the facts before you sit down with pen in hand. It is because of people like you that the gap between the races continue to grow.

Why would I ever want to be in a meeting or on a bus with you.