Oxford House support
Read your article about Oxford House in Little Rock with considerable interest. My wife and I opened the first Oxford House in Arkansas back in March of 2008 — very similar reaction from most of the community up here at that time. Fear of "addicts" living next door in a nice community enveloped our little country town, and many town hall type meetings were held to talk this over.
It has now been five-plus years, and we have three Oxford Houses in Harrison, and hopefully more on the way. Virtually every community leader is a solid supporter of this concept, as they have seen that it works. We have had not one issue with the police or sheriff's office. Matter of fact, the Boone County sheriff is a big supporter of this concept, as is the police chief of Harrison. Also our mayor, both current and past; our Chamber of Commerce president; the CEO of the Hospital, heads of many local churches; most of the City Council, head of the economic development committee, etc. You get the point — now that our community has had a little time to observe what really happens in an Oxford House, i.e., the miracle of recovery, and a total commitment to a different life on the part of each member, we have decided to embrace, as a community, this approach to dealing with our out-of-control drug problem.
Texas has just spent a year investigating the Oxford House model, and just last month committed $1.2 million to fund multiple outreach workers. There are multiple outreach workers in Oklahoma (80 houses), Louisiana (70 houses), Tennessee has just hired 2 outreach workers, Kansas has a thriving outreach program (75 houses), there are 150 houses in North Carolina, South Carolina has begun an Oxford House outreach network, etc. What do these states know that we don't seem to see yet? There are almost 1,700 houses in 45 states, and other countries have approached Oxford House and asked for help in implementing their model abroad. This is a 40-year-old organization whose only goal is to help individuals achieve long-term recovery.
I do not work for Oxford House, but my wife and I feel fortunate to own a couple. Watching people get their self-esteem back through long-term recovery is a beautiful thing. If something else worked, we would have tried it up here in Harrison, but this is the best model by far that we could find, and most importantly, it works!
Criticism of Obama undeserved
This is in response to Judge Wendell Griffin's criticism of President Obama's speech (May 30) to the graduating class at Morehouse College last month. I have listened to the speech three times to understand the objections of Judge Griffin. However, as a 66-year-old African-American male, I am in complete agreement with the content of the speech, and more specifically the challenge and opportunities posed that await the talented graduates of Morehouse. The points articulated by the president were no different from the advice that I received from my parents, my church and my community as a child growing into adulthood. Was the president's speech addressed solely to Morehouse graduates, or to blacks or both? I feel the speech was appropriately targeted for both audiences. It was a charge and a reminder for us to give our very best in order to realize utmost achievements for our families and our communities. The charge is not easy, and as African Americans we already know that. But the rich legacy of Morehouse men mentioned in the president's speech has laid the path/shown the way to achieve despite all the odds. Nevertheless, some viewed the speech as motivational and inspirational and the "reminder of things we've heard many times," while others such as Judge Griffin had a contrary opinion.
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