By Ywell Cunningham
Monroeville is a small, progressive town located in southwest Alabama with a rich heritage of her citizens both past and present. The city, like many other cities across America, has faced economic challenges with many of its businesses, factories, and industries closing their doors and relocating to other geographical locations.
The city of Monroeville is reforming and strategically rebuilding the infrastructure for the business climate in our community with efforts to bring economic vitality to our town. Leaders in our community are combining their efforts to strengthen our local economy. Political leaders, business leaders, church leaders, city and government organizations are using their skills, talents, and knowledge to strengthen these efforts.
Monroeville Main Street is one of these key enterprising groups. Some of the goals of Monroeville Main Street are economic vitality for downtown businesses, enhancing the beauty of downtown Monroeville, and encouraging local citizens and visitors to shop locally in Monroeville.
There are two topics that have dominated the headlines of our national and local media in the year of 2020. The first is Covid-19, a novel coronavirus. This virus has claimed the lives of over 100,000 victims across America and the numbers are steadily increasing across the State of Alabama and Monroe County. Most local businesses have felt the economic impact of this virus. Many have had to reduce their hours, some have had to lay off employees, and a few have had to close entirely. Covid-19 has had an undeniable effect on the economic climate of our community. Monroeville Main Street is concerned about this current situation and is utilizing all of its resources to assist downtown businesses with economic recovery.
The second challenge that our nation, state, and community are facing is race relations concerning the treatment of African Americans (especially black men) by white Americans. We are pleased to see peaceful marches and demonstrations for justice across our nation and in our community appealing to the moral conscience of our citizens. These gestures of peace are an attempt to communicate the feelings of black Americans of how it really feels to be black in America. We are disappointed to see that in some cities what was intended to be efforts of healing and peace became violent and disruptive. It is our strong opinion that chaos and violence are not the solutions to our problems.
We must realize that people of all races are facing some form of hurt in their lives. The key is the way we respond to our hurts. First, we must be willing to come together and sit at the table, to communicate and share our concerns with each other. Second, we must be willing to respect the interests, opinions, and values of other people that do not look like us. Third, we must recognize and understand the power of concessions in order to bring about unity. Finally, we must realize that the “melting pot” of America consists of people of all races that want to live in America. This is a great country, and we all want to remain in the United States. Therefore, we must seek common ground and mutual respect for others.
Monroeville Main Street does not discriminate against persons because of race, sex, political, or religious affiliation. Monroeville Main Street hopes that we have not contributed the racial tension and unrest in this country, but we stand ready to mend the fences of equality for all Americans. We do not support the hurt, but we would like to share in the healing.
Monroeville Main Street Board of Directors and Executive Director