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As the Christmas season is here, it is a perfect time for me to focus on the many children who will go without this Christmas year. Yes, it’s true. Many children will not have a requested toy under the tree. They will not have a gift to open on Christmas morning. They will not have new clothes or a traditional Christmas meal to eat. Some of them are right here in Alexandria.
For those of you who had gifts for your children on Christmases past, you know how happy they are on when the jolly fat man in the red suit comes and leaves them what they’ve requested. Many children’s faces will be minus a smile this Christmas. Their eyes will be sad and full of tears. Their voices will tremble with these word as they asked, “why didn’t Santa Claus bring me anything?”
Every child should experience the joy of Christmas, and every child should get at least one toy or gift. That one toy or gift, even something that cost less than $5 could make a difference in whether that child’s Christmas will be a wonderful one or not.
I don’t want any child to be sad on Christmas morning, and I know that many of you don’t want that either. Yet, as we know, there will be hundreds of thousands who will be just that because there will be nothing under the Christmas tree for them. That’s why I am asking you to pick up a small toy, clothing items or nonperishable food item to donate to your religious or charitable organization to distribute to those less fortunate than you.
Organizations such as the Salvation Army would welcome your contribution or donation. You’ll be surprise the difference your item will make the lives of many children. You will turn a sad face into a face filled with a wide smile.
Enjoy these photos from the 2009 Men of Substance Awards Dinner held Monday, June 22, at the Main Street Community Center in Pineville, LA.
All photos by Al Cotton
For those who keep up with my columns, I know you’ve asked yourself more than once the following questions: “Why does Leonard always seem to write about the negative things that black people do, and why does he find it necessary to do so?” Hey, it’s a legitimate question? I have been asked the questions a few times by some of my readers.
Here’s my answer. I do it to point out the many problems that we black Americans face, both here in Alexandria and around the country. I do it because these are the things that I believe require our attention. There’s nothing wrong with focusing our attention on the positive, but doing so only serves to take our eyes away from our real problems such as black men being absent fathers, black men being in prison, young black men killing one another, black-on-black crime, black female teens having babies, and blacks living in poverty.
How will we ever attack these problems if we don’t turn our attention on them? For these things to get better, don’t you think we need to talk about them ? YES, we do. We have to bring our problems to the forefront. To do that, we have to talk among ourselves and to community leaders, and those local, state, and federal agencies that can address the issues that are plaguing us. We just can’t turn a blind eye to those negative issues and hope that they just disappear.
The positives of our community are more or less where we want them to be because we have put our energy and sweat into getting them that way. Shouldn’t that same energy and sweat be used to turn the negative into positives? YES, it should. That’s why I talk and write, and will continue to talk and write about the problems facing blacks even if I’m constantly being told that I need to stop with the negativity.
We may not solve all the problems that we are facing, but at least we’re thinking about them when we talk about them, which I think is a step in the right direction. I may not, or we together may not solve all the problems that are affecting us in our communities, but at least talking about them is a step in the right direction.
By the way, the next time read a column of mine that you deem a negative portrayal of the black community, you’ll know why I do what I do.
On a positive note, I want to thank Willie Spears, Rosa Fields, the Rev. Joe Green, the Rev. Willie Dunkley, Martin Johnson, Sibal Holt, and Felica and Kelvin Coney for being members of the Advisory Council for the Boys & Girls Club of Central Louisiana. I want to thank them for giving their time, energy, encouragement, and expertise to an organization that has the wellbeing of our young boys and girls at heart. Thanks also goes to Mayor Jacques Roy and Mayor Clarence Fields for their part in assisting with keeping the club open in their respective cities. Each of these individuals have shown that a negative situation can be turned around and resolved when people get together in a positive way to talk about issues that affect our black communities.
See. I can write about positive things the community is doing.