Recently, a reader who “doesn’t know me” questioned why I was speaking out on civic issues. While I did not grow up in Water Valley, my family has been in this area since the mid-1800’s. My maternal grandparents taught school for years in Taylor and one of my great aunts taught here in town. She, along with two of her sisters, lived on Clay Street where I often visited as a child. So, I got roots.
But one’s family history or the length of one’s residency has no bearing on their right to engage in the political discourse of this town. During the mayoral forum, one of the candidates lamented the fact that his kids had “moved away.” Clearly, the status quo has not necessarily provided a future for a number of our young people.
In the meantime, we “transplants” have played a part in the growth and health of this community. We pay our taxes, attend local churches, send our kids to the public schools, and participate in local civic organizations/activities. Our interest in change doesn’t mean that we don’t love Water Valley. Rather, we believe that well planned change can have better results than simply maintaining the status quo.
Our next mayor should have not only a firm understanding of our town’s past, but also a clear vision for its future. He should support all of our citizens regardless of race, gender, place of origin, or sexual orientation. The future does not rely on what one is against but on what one is for.
Citizen of Water Valley