The struggle continues

Friday, January 13, 2006
Marvin McBride

OFF! Magazine asked Marvin McBride, president of Cape Girardeau's South Side Optimist Club, to write a commentary on the state of race relations today in Cape Girardeau and the nation. Here are his opinions, which do not reflect the opinions of OFF! Magazine or its parent company, the Southeast Missourian newspaper.

I would like to voice my concerns about areas I feel that we are still falling short in racial equality as well as point out improvements that have been made in this area.

Is there racial injustice in Cape Girardeau?

My answer to that question is yes.

I have personally experienced it on my job and I also encountered it when I was coaching in the city of Cape Girardeau. But even though these experiences were not right, they have all worked to make me a better person.

Situations you encounter in your life can and will affect you in a negative or positive way, but how you choose to react is totally up to you. You have to decide whether to turn that negative into a positive by forgiving whatever wrong that is done to you. This includes all racial issues that you may encounter, whether it is on your job or in other areas of your life.

I wonder what today would be like if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the other individuals involved in the Civil Rights Movement had given up on their hopes and dreams of accomplishing racial equality. We would not be able to enjoy all the rights that we have today.

I also wonder, what would not only Cape Girardeau, but the entire United States be like. I believe that when there is something wrong in a community, those of us who have the ability to take action should do so. I also feel that we have the responsibility of taking action and trying to make the situation right.

Dr. King once said, "I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. If you want to be important, wonderful, if you want to be great, wonderful ... but recognize that he who is the greatest among you shall be your servants.

So where are the Great Servant Leaders of the black community to address the many issues of equality in education, de facto segregation in housing and social life and economics?

We are still struggling with racism and prejudice. It is crucial for us to know our history and to realize that the price that was paid in the struggle for equality is extremely important.

I think there have been great improvements made in the Cape Girardeau area as a whole, but there are greater improvements that need to be made. In order for these improvements to happen, we must come together and realize that we need each other.

I believe more improvements will be made when we African Americans become more involved with city government, such as serving on committees, the city council and other boards. We must make ourselves available to serve. The future of our youth and a peaceful community depends on us.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: