Here are a few reflections from local and national leaders:
Denise Rolark Barnes
Publisher, The Washington Informer; Chairperson, NNPA
Each New Year brings a deep sense of optimism, coupled with faith, that things will be better than they were the previous year. My expectations for 2017 are no different despite the cacophony of exhortations that warn us otherwise. One lesson we learned in 2016 is that we must stop and hear the voices of our poor, alienated and disenfranchised fellow human beings who will find ways to disrupt our lives if we don’t, and rightfully so. In 2017, we must define for ourselves what it will take to “Make America Great Again” and continue to fight for those things that universally work to improve the quality of life for everyone. Education, housing, financial equity, equal justice and political enfranchisement are non-negotiable rights we must continue to protect in 2017. For African-Americans, no year has been without struggle, but each year provides us with the experiences of our ancestors upon which we can lean to bring us another step forward. We got to the end of 2016 by faith, and it will be by faith, combined with our collective efforts, that will lead us in the New Year. As publisher of The Washington Informer and chairperson of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), I know the Black Press of America will listen, educate and advocate for our readers as we have over the past 190 years. Wishing everyone the best in 2017.
I recently finished my own tour and would say onstage in every city before the end of my show, that God is my president. In 2017, I will continue to seek and chase after God because He is the only one who can direct us. We need to stop putting so much trust in man and begin to put our trust in God. We need to begin to pray again for our neighbors, for those who are battling cancer, for those who have amazing testimonies. I hope that in 2017 we will stop leaving our homes consumed by anger about simple things. And I believe we would all benefit if we spent less time watching TV or engaging in social media and began talking with people – people who can teach us something. Society would prefer that we stay in the box. But the ends are limitless if we only become better educated and keep God first.
D.C. Council Member
We want to make sure that we as Black women have a seat at the table. I am the only Black woman on the council and we need representation. I have always considered service to community a rewarding and worthwhile pursuit. Since joining the Council of the District of Columbia as an at-large member in December 2012, I have been honored with the opportunity to legislate policy based upon the ideas and concerns of citizens across the District. Every day I am committed to public service by promoting good government, finding solutions to problems, representing constituent interests and confronting the challenges of progress as the District becomes a world class community. As a lifelong resident who returned home after college at UC Berkeley to begin a career and raise a family, I have witnessed many changes in D.C. It is urgent that we do more to accelerate public education reform, create more affordable housing, connect residents to jobs and ensure that neighborhoods are safe, stable and enjoyable communities.
Prince George’s County Councilwoman (D-District 2) of Adelphi
We are definitely heading in the right direction with MGM here [in Prince George’s County]. We are waiting for the decision to get the FBI [headquarters]. We are hoping to get the issues resolved with the Purple Line which is the heart of the northern part of Prince George’s County that I call the “Northern Gateway.” A lot of the storefronts, façades and strip malls can be more appealing and welcoming. We have to leverage that to boost the Northern Gateway.
President, Prince George’s County Branch, NAACP
From a personal point of view, I am very optimistic about 2017. From another perspective, people are very afraid … from the outcome of the election and the direction the way this country is going. People are waiting to see what happens.
Julius Ware II
Founder, Ward 7 Business and Professional Association
U.S. Army Veteran, 82nd ABN Division
The New Year should be a time of reflection for America and African-Americans. Black Americans must seriously reflect on their relationships and chose those that are truly reciprocal and even while discarding those where they [we] are being taken for granted. This past presidential election, once again, exposed where and how both parties marginalized the voting strength of Blacks. The Grand Old Party was not compelled to be inclusive after years of Blacks voting in mass for Democratic. The Democratic Party felt no need to significantly reward or include this voting bloc with opportunities as their support was a forgone conclusion. Hopeful my brothers and sisters will find greater self-sufficiency by pursuing higher education, becoming business owners, mentoring and inspiring the next generation of African-Americans. The American dream is still possible and within reach. This New Year do not only resolve to lose weight but to become more effective and deliberate about success. My words for the New Year are efficacy, structure and resilience.