The two Little Rocks: A letter to the Chamber of Commerce | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The two Little Rocks: A letter to the Chamber of Commerce

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 9:52 AM

GLORIA SPRINGER: Strong words about state takeover.
  • GLORIA SPRINGER: Strong words about state takeover.
Gloria Springer is a familiar name to me. She's a member of the family with Granite Mountain roots for whom Springer Boulevard is named. She's a frequent writer of letters to opinion pages. She stands up in community issues, such as when she fought expansion of blasting for quarrying operations near Granite Mountain. She's sister-in-law of Joy Springer, one of the deposed School Board members and a mother and grandmother of LRSD products.

She's posted on her Facebook page today a cry from the heart about the state takeover of the Little Rock School District. She sent it to members of the state Board of Education and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, a key player in the takeover campaign. The great white fathers whose lack of patience with the majority black school board spurred the takeover dismiss her feelings at their peril.

We live in a divided city — divided by class and race. The state's action against expressed black community interests yesterday inevitably was going to be seen by many as only the latest in a long line dating back to 1957 and beyond, no matter how good the intentions of individual actors.

Her letter follows. It's tough and recites a litany of actions, like yesterday's, nominally done in the best interests of the broader community. Her reaction might be extreme, but it's a graphic representation of the fact that some beg to differ with what others might say is their best interest. If such voices ignored or, worse, patronized, the state's takeover will fail.

A first measure will be the citizens advisory council to be appointed. Make no mistake. Such boards are powerless. The state has ignored the expressed wishes of just such a council in Helena-West Helena. There, the state has ignored local advice to sell vacant buildings to advance the interests of the Walton-backed KIPP charter school empire. If the state stacks the Little Rock council with people from the minority side of Little Rock school decisions the last few years, it will be noticed. And not just by Gloria Springer.

Springer's letter follows, with some minor editing.

To The LR Chamber of Public Schools

Visited your Facebook page, not updated since January 9 and I find no place but e-mails to express my total disappointment at being re-sold in this racist society. The Chamber of Commerce could care less about the side of town south of I-630, which now they want to widen. Why not widen Markham or something else?

This is our neighborhood and community. While you Stroll your Damn Bridge, Your River Market and bike our special lanes, remember it was you, the City of Little Rock and Chamber who gave away the Sports Park, the Verizon Center, the Fair Park, Gilliam Park with its fake pool. It was you who left us with parks by trains and under planes and in the periphery. It was your collaboration that leaves our least able economically to have no job opportunities on our side of town and you know Walmart destroyed our businesses near University and Colonel Glenn/Asher.

With the Chamber representing the business community, a primarily, White, Male group it is like the Council of Nicaea determining that Africa had nothing to do with religion or the decision that Egypt/Africa had nothing to do with Greece or religion. You continue to be Faubus’ Arkansas. Lincoln didn't really want to free us and, he didn’t.

Yes, this is extremely racist, racism being the power to control the destinies of others.

You will not own our children and brain wash them into thinking that Columbus discovered America or that people without political or economic power are somehow lazy and cannot make decisions. You will not win this battle to eliminate us from our country and continue all the other lies perpetrated upon a people to keep them subjugated by our supposed inherited owners.

You made a mistake, you made an enormous mistake. We have not recovered from the break-in at Central and the busing across town and closing of our monuments. (Horace Mann and Dunbar) We still have to deal with the Ugliest Kroger stores, one on City Property on East Roosevelt and the other unsurprisingly in SW Little Rock. The East Roosevelt store is older than I am and is used as a training center but not allowed to have a break room where more than 4 people can fit. It is not allowed to have a deli, self-check, an unrippled parking lot or to look like the Kroger’s on television, or in your neighborhoods. Public transit stops at an open sewer and a slosh where passing cars will drench you as they go by and you wait on the bus. Is the City and Chamber of Gods concerned with students living like this?

You made a mistake, leaving MLK Street looking horrendous with gated sewers and no sidewalks. You made a mistake not encouraging Kroger to leave your cemetery property for the I-30 and Roosevelt intersection, so that our children can work near home and keep their checks. You make a mistake not encouraging business to come nearer our homes so we can take our elders out to dinner after work, or even a franchise, but that’s going to cost you.

You made a mistake leaving this food desert from I-30 to Southwest LR and using benign neglect then coming back to void our votes telling us basically, you are not free to vote Negro.

This is controlling, condescending and insulting on the part of the controlling class, The Chamber and people who do not live in LR, to void our votes and expect families and the rest of us to comply and step and fetch ourselves to your 'New' Charter Schools, you lost the right to promote in your pretentious election for LR Board.

While the teachers and the Board are judged, because the Federal Money is leaving, and 5 newly elected Board Members are rejected after spending time and money for positions you knew you weren't going to uphold, you think anyone should trust you or your crony out-of-state superintendent? If you are the same State body cognizant of these conditions all this time, you are more culpable than the six Board Members. Resign! But, just like your ancestors because you have the money you will not be judged. Just like your ancestors you deem yourselves superior to make intimate decisions for others. Just like our ancestors I can proclaim, you are not.

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