…Heroes of tomorrow.
Today we found ourselves visiting with several parents to monitor our children in several schools within the county to monitor progress made so far. We visited schools surrounded by people living in some of our most neglected communities in Oxon Hill, Capital Heights, Riverdale, Langley Park and Hyattsville. It is an interesting coincidence that got us thinking of the work that the heroes of yesterday began, and that our children and their children have to carry on with. Our county has had great men and women standing up at different times, but towards the same goal, of ensuring liberty, prosperity and justice for all.
The freedom fighters risked all to liberate us from the colonial yoke. After independence, another generation stepped in and risked everything when the very dreams that inspired the freedom fighters were being rolled back. These are the heroes of the first Liberation who faced numerous challenges including racism and segregation machines ultimately they reclaimed the rights and freedoms that were being taken away. For which they paid a great price. The heroes of our first, second, third, etc. Liberations have brought us this far. Some of these Heroes were Black, Indians, Whites, Latinos, and Asians amongst races. We are immensely indebted to them.
In July 2014 the United States of America turns 238 years old and counting. As we remember the heroes of the past centuries, we must focus on the next 50 years ahead and ask ourselves, who will be our heroes of that period and what will make them?
Listening to various leaders including governor O’Malley of Maryland, County Executive Rushern Baker, Senator Joan Benson of Prince George’s County speak about their challenges and promises of their respective areas, we found ourselves thinking of our country’s next fifty years, its old challenges that we have been unable to subdue and the new ones we are yet to start tackling. It occurred to us that the heroes of the years ahead might be made in our county if we get it right.
Our county is certainly set to be the next theatre of action, opportunities, challenges and growth. That is why Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is the most affluent metropolitan area in the United States. Prince George’s county in particular has been a magnet for international immigration since the late 1960s. It is also a magnet for internal migration (persons moving from one region of the U.S. to another). Many students in Prince George’s county bear great potential and promise for the future but they are never challenged for greater capabilities. What can we do to make their world mean something or rewarding?
In southern Maryland, NASA records the strongest all-round the year wind blowing in the same direction and capable of generating electricity for all of Prince George’s County. It has never been exploited. Like many other counties in Maryland, Prince George’s county is changing fast but transforming too slowly. The economy is growing, but so are poverty levels. Despite new challenges and new opportunities, outdated mindset full of discriminatory tendencies persists. The heroes of the next fifty years of our county will be men and women who accept that we cannot create the future by clinging to the past. We should embrace diversity and work together for good of the county and the United States of America.
Prince George’s County and especially the County school system has a chance to open a new chapter with the coming of devolved units after HB1107. Already, a number of our county representatives are toying with grand visions but we should not let the old ways crop back in through the back door.
In the struggles of these representatives whether it is a senator, delegate or Board of Education member, we see a journey to determine the county’s future by expanding our county’s productivity. In this regard, the county carries great potential in determining our county’s next heroes. Unfortunately, the passion of the governor or other representatives or even the county Executive alone is not enough. Every defining moment in a nation’s history needs a champion at the center. Abraham Lincoln stepped in to save the union that remains standing as the USA. He remains our country’s hero to date.
United States and especially Prince George’s County, needs people to champion and save devolution and secure our next fifty years. There is a simple logic that makes us passionate about the future of the county. The logic is that when we try to empower and make our neighbors rich, we create room for sharing, trading and making life rewarding for my neighbor, ourselves and myself.
Here in Prince George’s county, we still need to work hard to create better relations between our various ethnic groups. To win the battle against colonial powers, our founding fathers pulled together, in one direction. Today, we are falling apart at the seams. The heroes of the years ahead will be the men and women who will recognize this fact and act to permanently patch up the widening cracks between our ethnic groups whether white or black, Latino or Asian among other groups by addressing honestly and candidly the things that are setting various ethnic groups against another here in the county must be addressed. Let the leadership of the county Government be the model for others to follow. Let us challenge the state agencies like Maryland state Board of Education when they fail to perform in their duties properly and request proper accounting. Many of us paid a big price for advocating for change. We should not let the old ways of doing business continue unchallenged.
But we must also never forget that the struggle for freedom never ends. Future heroes will be men and women who remember the words of Ronald Reagan that…”Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on…”
Finally, whether we are ready for it or not, the world is moving into the era of innovation, science and technology. Economists tell us that the world is getting smaller, but it is not coming together. The nations that innovate are going to rule the world.
United States as a whole has pioneered many things including planes, cellphones, internet, computers, etc. The planes are a unique United States contribution to the world. While it shows the capacity of United States to innovate, it may not be long before somebody comes up with something better. The heroes of the coming years will have to be men and women who keep United States of America on the front row through innovation, science and technology. We live in an era when some corporations are richer than entire nations. We are confident that if we invest in them, the United States youth will give us the Sony, Citicorp, Philip Morris, Yahoo and Google of the next century and make them our heroes. The choice is ours.