I ask you to take a minute and go to www. encyclopedia.com and look up “Oscar Frazier.” If you never had the opportunity to meet this man, his very short life is summed up under his definition. Wouldn’t we all want to be known as a “diplomatic peace maker and a bridge between the races”?
If he were alive today, I fully believe he would be writing this article as your mayor, and what a blessing that would be. After all the recent unrest in our nation, I think about Oscar and what he would say in these circumstances. So Oscar (and his lovely family), this article is dedicated to you.
Robert F. Kennedy said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
No one, at any point or time, should be subjected to the vitriol and racist deeds of any individual.
We, as a town, are proud to say that we have been and will continue to work diligently to make our community more equitable, conducive and cohesive for all. All of our projects are focused on all residents to help enhance their quality of life. Here are just a few examples of what we’ve done:
- Providing sewer access for all residents and grants for those in need.
- Garvin House Preservation to highlight and honor our Gullah history and their remarkable contributions to our town.
- Sidewalks in areas that were not part of any new road construction, e.g., Buck Island, Simmonsville, May River and Goethe roads,
- Neighborhood Assistance Program, through which we provide housing repair grants for residents with home repair needs.
- Buck Island Simmonsville Neighborhood plan, where residents of that area have a say and control over development in their own neighborhoods.
- Preservation and initiatives to protect our sacred environment and waterways like our gem, the May River.
It is our continued vision to provide affordability in housing and to become a leader in supporting affordable workforce living, to cultivate and sustain local history and heritage, and embrace and celebrate understanding our past.
When thinking of our Bluffton “state of mind,” one should envision empathy and compassion for all. In reference to the egregious acts that transpired in Charlottesville, Va., we condemn such acts of violence and hatred and boldly say that such displays of bigotry and racism will not be tolerated in our wonderful community.
Many of us have often rested on the statement that we’re “colorblind”; we shouldn’t be. I admit that I have often used this phrase. We should strive to abandon any ideology that will perpetuate a feeling of invisibility for any person.
A colorblind world means we don’t see each other for who we are and we don’t acknowledge or appreciate the rich cultural experiences of one another. Let’s all challenge ourselves to start seeing our neighbors and appreciating the beauty and richness of what has shaped this community to be the beautiful melting pot of unity that it is.
If you come to Town Hall and look at our wall of honor you will see a sampling of what I am speaking of. We have made great strides and still have great strides to make, but together we can conquer the walls that have for so long held us back.
We have a responsibility to one another and a responsibility to the generations coming behind us. Let’s get out of our comfortability and start speaking to our neighbors more – not just those who live next door, but those who share our zip code and those who are outside of our zip code.
Worship with a new neighbor this Sunday, attend a community event, get involved. We are in this together and will achieve complete unity when we start moving together on the same path.
We don’t have to follow what the world is doing; let us be an example to the world of what everyone should be doing. We have amazing residents working right now on initiatives that will continue to unite and preserve us as Bluffton Strong.
Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.