Editorial: New Life and Asleep Voters
The repurposing of the Winston Mutual Building is the sort of public/private partnership that can help East Winston evolve.
The black community had its own little skyscraper after the building was constructed in the 1960s. Its size and grandeur betokened what was possible for blacks in an America that was vastly changing. Ironically, the building’s fate dovetailed with the black community’s vicissitudes.
Winston Mutual Life fell on hard times by the late 1970s, as companies that specifically catered to black customers lost steam as a result of integration.
The glue that held East Winston and black communities throughout the country together was further eroded in the 1980s and ’90s with the drug epidemic and the violence that accompanied it.
During much of the first decade of the 21st century, the Winston Mutual Building was pretty much empty, a mere shell of its former self. Now, under new ownership and after a much-needed renovation, Winston Mutual is roaring again.
The City of Winston is the first tenant of the new Winston Mutual, but, we pray, not the last. The Winston-Salem Police Department’s Community Resources Unit is a perfect – and obvious – choice for the building. Many of the neighborhoods the unit serves are in East and Northeast and Southeast Winston; and if cops are serious about improving their standing in communities of color, it will serve them well to settle into the communities in which they are trying to make inroads. City officials thought outside of the box when they decided to relocate the Engineering Field Office in the Winston Mutual Building, and they deserve kudos for that.
We see a bright road ahead – finally – for the Winston Mutual Building and community that surrounds it. The building virtually borders the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, with its buzz of development and ceaseless opportunities. The realization of the Union Station transportation center a short distance away will also help Winston Mutual again become a beacon. This time around, the building will be an even more powerful symbol for the community; it’ll be the phoenix that rose from ash.
There was a runoff election Tuesday, but not many people realized it, or, perhaps, they simply did not give a darn.
The 4,000 voters (across six counties) who did bother to vote, chose Josh Brannon over Gardenia Henley as the Democrat who will face conservative titan Rep. Virginia Foxx in November.
A primary, much less a runoff, is never going to make the voter turnout record book, but the apathy of voters, at this time, especially, is startling.
Our state is under siege by forces pushing through regressive laws designed to divide and conquer us. The N.C. NAACP is working admirably trying to stop the GOP hate machine and to educate and enlighten voters.
As the apothegm goes, if you are not outraged, you simply have not been paying attention.
We should be voting with passion and vigor whenever the opportunity presents itself. The polls is where we should go to exorcise the frustrations we feel; it is truly the only place where we can make change happen. Our protestations have their place – a central place, actually – but they alone can’t supplant power-brokers from their thrones.
We hope those in the Fifth District who sat this one out are conserving their energy for the fall general election, when so much will be on the line.