2008 has been a year of tremendous highs and incredible lows. We saw the election of the first African American woman to serve as Speaker of the California Legislature (Karen Bass), Mark Ridley-Thomas is the first African American male to serve on the County Board of Supervisors and America came together to elect Senator Barack Obama as the 44th President of these United States.
We also had some incredible lows. We saw record foreclosures of homes, record unemployment, more death and violence than any of us want to remember and Marlton Square still is a mess. Our education system is failing our children, and HIV and AIDS continues to plague our community.
However, ringing in the new year always give us hope. We have a chance to believe in the unbelievable. We have a chance to recommit ourselves to our friends, our families, our community and our country. I predict that the start of 2009 is going to bring about even greater challenges for this country, for our community and for all of us individually. The financial crisis will become even greater and the divide between the haves and the have-nots will only get bigger. But, again we have hope. We have prayer and ultimately we will have blessing.
In just 20 days Barack Obama will be sworn in as President. In just 20 days George W. Bush will be out of our lives. In 15 days SCLC and people all across this country will celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We will sing Stevie Wonder's version of Happy Birthday and we will hear the "I Have a Dream" speech over and over again. Not that it is a bad thing, but we must listen to the words, we must feel the passion and we must keep on keeping on. That is what will get us through these difficult days ahead, the hope and belief that we can make a difference, that we will get through the tough times and that we will overcome.
My friends that is what HOPE is all about. Over the past 365 days the majority of us hoped and prayed that Barack Obama would become the president. But, we also worked. We gave money, we gave time and we gave extraordinary effort. We must remember as we enter into this new year, that hope is alive and well in 2009, but we must put work behind that hope in order to make the dream a reality.
In this new year I wish you all boundless joy, I wish you unimaginable prosperity, I wish you all the success in the world, but most of all I wish you HOPE and optimism to know that in your worst of times you can and will get to a better day. This is my New Years wish to all of you!
So, whether you agree or disagree, now more than ever I really need your input. I need to hear from you. I need to know what is going on in our community. I also need to know what other stories we need to tell, and what is on your mind. I really do want to hear from you, I want you to "Talk to Danny."
God Bless You,
Danny J. Bakewell, Jr.
President & Executive Editor