Public outcry changes things

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, June 23, 2024

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An Editorial Opinion of The Lowndes Signal

How many times have we heard remarks like, “nothing ever changes” or “something should be done?” The public often feels helpless to right wrongs done in our communities, but public outcry does make a difference, especially when it’s coupled with initiatives toward positive change. 

Citizens complain when littering leaves garbage strewn alongside rural county roads, like those in the Calhoun Community. Because citizens speak up, the Lowndes County Commission and the Sheriff’s Office are cooperating to enforce garbage collection service requirements.

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Recently, an act of vandalism at the StoryWalk trail at E.L. Turner Park in Luverne elicited public outrage and community members took to social media demanding answers. Some expressed frustration with city officials while others blamed damage to the park’s signs on youths and negligent parents. 

The buzz drew the attention of the Luverne Police Department, which had not yet been notified about the crime, and investigators immediately launched into action to solve the crime. The public also began to report witnessing prior acts of vandalism at the same park, providing details that may help officers know who committed the most recent crime. 

And, while community members speculated on how and why someone would damage a free literacy and health-promoting resource for families, one person spoke up to offer what may become a very positive initiative. 

Lisa Michelle moderates the public Facebook group “Crenshaw Cares.” She posted an initial outcry because she was frustrated about the crime. Later, she followed up to suggest a new private group where community members could float ideas and share news about activities for children and teens.

Going off the fact that very few cheap or free activities are present in small towns like Greenville, Luverne or Hayneville, she suggested one solution might be more positive activities to engage youths. Rather than compounding the problem with criticism and conjecture, she offered to be part of the solution and soon, others volunteered to help. 

Shedding light on what is wrong in the world often leads to positive change. Even better is when citizens step up with viable solutions.