LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Published 10:19 am Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Racism is evil. Racism is real. Racism hurts everyone it touches at the individual level, the family level, and the community level.
Racism is an equal opportunity malady that ravages human nature. When racism raises its ugly head, it must be confronted.
In his letter to the Christians in Galatia, the Apostle Paul gave a stern and direct warning to the believers, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 ESV)
The Cordele City Commission, more specifically, Chairman Josh Deriso, is sowing the seeds of racism. He sowed the seeds in his campaign for Chairman. In his first days as Chairman he has watered and fertilized the seeds.
Chairman Deriso shows no signs of repentance for his divisive, racist, actions. On the contrary, he is proud of his actions.
During his campaign, Deriso ran on the platform of firing the city manager and replacing him with a woman of color. That is racist. The first action of the newly elected commissioners, led by Chairman Deriso, was to fire the city manager – because his skin was not the right color.
Deriso then shifted his racist aim to the new Chief of Police, perhaps the most qualified Chief that Cordele has ever had. While he did not directly fire the chief, he created such a hostile atmosphere that Chief Hathaway resigned. In response to the Chief’s resignation, five officers also resigned. At least three of the five were black.
The harvest of racism is a divided community that characterizes individuals based on an external appearance of color rather than the internal true identity of character. It collides with the dream expressed by Martin Luther King in his famous speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Racism is hurting our community. Because of Chairman Deriso’s actions, racism, not progress, will be the reputation of our city. Legal action is costing the city and there will be unaccounted losses of businesses that strike Cordele off the prospect list because of our reputation.
The division fostered by Chairman Deriso is not the character of the people of Cordele. We must not be divided and must not sit back and allow racism to be our reputation.
The only way our reputation will change is for the citizens of Cordele, from all races and every neighborhood to rise up and say, “Enough!” Will you be courageous enough to confront the evil of racism and call it out for what it is? For the sake of our community, I hope so.