Our young people are killing and being killed at an alarming and unacceptable rate; mounting gang violence, high unemployment; a mass exodus of businesses out of the city; an epidemic of drugs and alcohol; kids dropping out of middle school; and Monsanto payments yet to be settled to name a few of the issues.
This is not the time for politics as usual coming from the mouths of incumbents or new faces seeking office.
This go-round, the black vote will not be sold and there will be no campaign promises without implementation.
Sometimes tragedy can bring a community closer and create a catalyst for getting things done at City Hall. Such is the case of Army National Guard Sgt. DeQuirea Royal, whose brutal murder remains fresh on the minds of her family and friends. Out of that tragedy, a contingency of black men and women organized to circumvent any future travesties by seeking real solutions that will rid our communities of lawlessness.
There are too many homicides and unsolved murders in Anniston, both black and white. Those responsible for these inhumane acts must be incarcerated for the safety and well-being of all who live and work here.
Finally, we must consciously and collectively vote for candidates who are serious about doing something to reverse the depressing, hopeless conditions that exist throughout our communities and city.
Birmingham experienced a similar tragedy in 1979. Five months prior to the city elections for mayor and council, Bonita Carter, a young black woman about the same age as Sgt. Royal was shot over 20 times at a gas station in the Kingston Community. Her death infuriated the black community, creating a massive black voter drive that elected Dr. Richard Arrington Jr. mayor of Birmingham. Blacks and progressive-minded whites united to vote in candidates who had a real vision and plan for their city.
Likewise, DeQuiria Royal’s death has become a timbre calling out for change in our communities and our city. There is too much at stake for our children, seniors, law-abiding citizens and the future of Anniston. There will be zero tolerance for petty arguments, hidden agendas and the same old broken-down system that prevents this city and all of its residents from progressing.
There is a quiet storm brewing. Come election time this quiet storm will have manifested into a whirlwind that will blow in change and blow out any candidates who are not serious about creating real changes in our communities and city. (Warning: If the shoe fits, voters will not acquit!) This election, we will make our voices and votes count for the sake of all who live in and call Anniston home.
Walter Lee Joyner
Citizens Coalition for Change in Anniston