The above title is not my quote because I would be one of the “croakers,” but it’s something I hear from the younger generation regularly. Okay, they may not use the word, “croak,” but they say it’s time for our old leadership to step aside.
The next generation of Birmingham leaders does not understand our racial divide. They grew up in a different time and they see the possibilities and advantages of a common vision.
Steve Boswell, a young professional, in his guest blog characterized our older citizens and leaders as ‘doubters’—“a group who believe the racial divide has evolved into an immortal chasm that will not be bridged.”
“Race has been the leading, and arguably, only inhibitor to the achievement of an ideal Birmingham–a thriving downtown that would surpass the likes of a Nashville and Atlanta in prosperity, efficiency, and overall utility. Our generation is not hindered as much were the baby boomers and their ancestors by this racial divide.
We have grown up going to school together and playing sports together. We realize the ignorance in blaming a 21 year old white man for a sin committed by his long deceased great-great-great uncle. We realize how wrong and self-degrading it is to blame the current state of societal discontent on the black man wanting his rights.”
My heart is warmed by comments from young professionals in the Birmingham Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 annual issue earlier this year. These young folks aren’t constrained by doubts that our Birmingham region must stay divided…
“I would consolidate the governments of the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County. There are so many things that could be accomplished by those two entities coming together. I really think it would position the area for growth and prosperity.”
–Chris Sellers, VP/Engineer Manager Neel-Schaeffer, Inc.
“I know that it can’t be done in one day, but we need to establish some form of regional government, as opposed to the fractured system of municipalities we have now.”
–Rich Vanchina, Director of Industrial Real Estate Southpace Properties, Inc.
Fifteen of the twenty-five honorees quoted in above BBJ article—white, black, male, and female—specifically talked about better government for our Birmingham region.
Our young leaders clearly understand that race and poor government structure are holding us back—and they are ready for new energetic and enlightened leadership.
Let’s turn Birmingham around. Click here to sign up for our newsletter. There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)
David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).