Monday, February 12, 2007

Standing Room Only Today in Federal Court

Today is an historic day in Bibb County. If everything goes as expected, Judge Fitzpatrick will lift the federal desegregation order and declare the Bibb County Public Schools "unitary." The hearing began at 10 o'clock this morning, and at noon it had not concluded. There was standing room only in the courtroom.

People who have lived in Bibb County very long know that in so many of our efforts-political, religious, and civic-the issue of race and discrimination rears its head. Well-intentioned people have wrestled with the issues and tried to build bridges, but we still see the impact, in not so subtle ways. We see it big issues, like when we try to address the issue of consolidation of city and county government. For instance, people who I consider to be friends have referred to the Mayor's position as a "black" post and the County Commission Chair's position as a "white" post. Such attributions lie close to the root of the problem. We see it in small issues, like the reflexive "Macon and Bibb County" phrase that is commonly used to describe the area. One thing is certain, whatever happens today in Federal Court, the issues of race and discrimination will remain a powerful undertone in this community-one that commands our attention and best efforts toward understanding.

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