RiseMagazine | Sarasota

The Premier Lifestyle Magazine of Florida's Black Communities

[ FTP | Mar:04 ]

Are We There Yet?

by Michael Paragon

As long as no one realizes that the wolves have slipped into sheepskin suits, no one will have any reason to complain. But, the moment anyone begins to recognize that omission is just as bad as exclusion, answers will be sought and the roots will have sunk too deep.

We’re being pecked by the same birds that we serve and we’ve accepted not only the seeds that they give us but the concrete that they ask us to plant them in. So, who can we blame when the lights finally come on? I’ve often wondered why people stay in relationships and label their spouse crazy…yet, they choose to hold on to the relationship?!?

We can no longer wave the flag of racism and expect someone to come to the rescue. Once you’ve acknowledged the issue and haven’t implemented the measures to change it, you’ve only secured your place within the belly of the beast.

Of all the restaurants in Sarasota, where are the soul food spots? With a powerhouse stage performance organization such as the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe actively producing soldout shows, why aren’t those seats filled with black patrons? Every Saturday, there’s a Farmer’s Market held downtown, yet our only participation is to ask for the support of those who wouldn’t visit us elsewise. A public outcry for salvation by their assistance??

Apparently, Sarasota doesn’t recognize that we ARE here and the reason is because we ALLOW them to! Visit the Sarasota website and read through the histchain of custody for the wrongs we’veThere has to be a time in which the city of Sarasota city of Sarasota has a lot of questions to answer and charges and accusations to address. I have to admit that this is a painful admission to make but, this city, MY city, doesn’t think about its’ residents as a whole. I don’t know if it’s the fact that this is a city composed of retirees from other states or if the city government and officials are simply striving to stay in this time warp.

What else could be said for a city that would focus on burning through its’ cash surpluses to beautify the best beach in the country?!? Meanwhile, on the other end of the city, street improvement projects loose their funding as the money awarded to the city to do the job gets moved to other lower priority projects. long been a city of diversity and culture, but little tolerance for change. And so the old guard that has always been in place has progressively managed to maintain a level of “normalcy” over the years.

The challenge happens when the world around Sarasota continues to move forward and we remain where we’ve been for the past 40 years. I, too, believe in maintaining a certain standard, especially when it comes to matters of historic preservation. Sarasota is stuffed to the gills with reasons to glow with pride over our nostalgia. There’s a time and place for those sentiments. Let’s not mince words here though…this is neither that time nor that place.

This is where we fight for our tomorrow…not against anyone other than ourselves!

Ciao for now…me

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