Monday, January 21, 2002

Holiday dream for Cincinnati




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        On this day dedicated to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream for Cincinnati. In this dream, my hometown finally gets beyond the heartbreak and strife of last April's riots.

        Cincinnati becomes a better place to live by practicing what Dr. King preached: brotherhood and understanding, progress and peace.

        Cincinnatians in my dream realize time is short. Life is precious. So, they stop wasting both.

        Instead of looking back in anger over who was to blame for the riots, the city looks ahead with hope.

        This is Cincinnati's new image. After the riots, there was no going back to business as usual. The city changed. For the better. Forever.

Helping hands

        In my dream, there's no finger pointing, only hands reaching out to help.

        Give-and-take has replaced counterproductive bickering. Problems aren't allowed to fester. They're tackled head-on. And solved.

        City Hall acts decisively. And with compassion. The actions of city council and city agencies help people achieve independence, not remain dependent on government handouts.

        In the Cincinnati of my dream, people are judged by what the Rev. Dr. King once called, “the content of their character.” Not by the color of their skin. The amount of green stuff in their pocket. Or the hue of their uniform.

        Innocent people are allowed to get on with their lives. They are not hassled by the police or street punks.

        The past is remembered. But not dwelled upon.

        Everybody knows they can fulfill their destiny. No matter what side of town or neighborhood they're from. Regardless of which parish or school they attend.

        In my dream, the people of Cincinnati rise up and refuse to let one more brick fall, one more plaster wall crumble, one more roof leak in their public schools.

        They insist that these schools be made safe and sound. The future of Cincinnati studies in these buildings. Students can't learn if they're afraid of being crushed by a classroom's collapsing ceiling.

        In my dream, the people of Cincinnati clearly recognize the need for school renovations. But they also challenge school administrators' decisions to forsake landmark buildings.

        Communities revolve around these old schools. Closing down these buildings destroys the heart of a neighborhood.

        People in my dream take great pride in their neighborhoods. They keep in touch with who lives next door. They keep up their property. And they keep watch.

        Drug dealers are not permitted to stand on street corners and brazenly peddle their wares at midnight as if they were selling lemonade in the middle of the day.

Civic pride

        In my dream, post-riot Cincinnatians are proud of where they come from. They show off their city to strangers.

        They point out recent accomplishments. Vine Street used to be a boulevard of broken dreams. Now, it's an avenue of achievement.

        This dream can come true. Cincinnatians from the river valleys to the seven hills just need to mend their differences and move on.

        Only then will we be able to show the world how much the people of Cincinnati respect each other. We set lofty goals. And we meet them. Because we live and work together in peace.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at cradel@enquirer.com; 768-8379; fax 768-8340. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/radel

       



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