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Three suggestions to build a better Brookhaven

Many of us woke up Monday morning with the thoughts of the nation’s protests far from our minds, all of that is happening so far away from Little Ole Brookhaven. I’d wager just about all of us are trying our best to forget just how downright bleak 2020 has been so far and the latest updates from over the weekend looked to make the month of June coming up seem somehow worse than the previous five months combined. Our country being in turmoil almost seems like business as usual at this point, yet the thought of some of those events happening in our small town was a scary thought.

So, when I got to work Monday morning, I did not want to discuss any of it. I discussed my weekend with my fellow coworkers, trying my best to dodge questions regarding my opinion of the nation’s unrest, yet it was dragged out soon enough. “Yes, I support these protests because I believe people have a right to do so; it’s basically what formed our country. No, not all cops are bad, but enough is enough, cops are not supposed to be killers. Finally, the riots and looting may have been a step too far, but would we even be speaking about this if they did not happen?” Let me be the first to tell you that you do not want to attempt to justify someone burning down business buildings to your boss early in the morning on a Monday. Thankfully he kept me on, but that was a long work day.

When I finally punched out for the day, I left work unsure of what to do that afternoon. I had turned down a chance to work late that afternoon already, which my boss questioned with a, “You got a protest or something later?” I left work that day with a fire inside me, but no real source of direction to go in, so I closed my eyes and asked for a sign of some sorts. Well the big guy must have heard me out because there on the corner of 51 Hwy. and Brookhaven Boulevard, there was a young African-American man holding a sign with a poignant question.

“Am I Next?”

So, I got out of my car with a pen and my little steno notebook I recorded hours in for work and walked up and struck up a conversation. Cars honked in support of this man, Antonio Evans, and his stand for justice. I witnessed a few people get out of cars and give him a hug, saw some roll down their windows to shout out insults, and watched people bring him things like water or offer to buy him his supper for the night. Soon we were told about something a little more organized taking place down at the movie theater, I grabbed my pen and notepad and rode the wave of the movement down to Westbrook Cinema 4.

I asked everyone I spoke to on that day the same question: What 3 things would make a better world, a better Mississippi, or even just a better Brookhaven possible?

I received 144 answers all together (48 people providing three responses each). These are just a few of the responses I received.

• Unity in our community

People need to vote more and vote for their interests, not just a party guideline.

Brookhaven needs more community outreach and involvement to give our young people/children something to do.

Understand that we can’t change our skin color. We were born with it the same way that you were.

Communicate, not hate.

• More money/jobs in our area

People are choosing between groceries or rent. That is a problem.

Most well-paying jobs involve traveling away from home, sometimes for weeks on end.

• Issues with government/laws/personal responsibility

Many issues with police officers are simply one bad mistake. It doesn’t justify ending a life.

Some laws are old and outdated and changing them would bring in tax revenue.

It’s your personal responsibility to be good to your fellow human.

• Other

Abolish white supremacy.

Leave my guns alone.

This world needs more Jesus.

Do away with the gambling.

Abolish the electoral college.

I’m sure you have your own opinion about how we can make the world a better place, and I’d love to hear it. And I understand the world may not be made perfect by just changing three things about it, but it would be a great place to start.

Let’s make Brookhaven better, together.

Keith Hall, Brookhaven