We have to work at building unity

Published: January 25, 2013
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I'm weary of hearing, reading and seeing black versus white, Republican versus Democrat, red versus orange, liberal versus conservative, North versus South, etc. My New Year's resolution was filled with hope that we could be a nation together again, but I suppose I'll have to wait for another national tragedy for that to happen.

I wrote a majority of my doctoral dissertation about a former governor in Mississippi, William F. Winter, who sought and succeeded in his time by making the educational playing field level for all children. Trying to unite black and white was a huge challenge in that beautiful Southern state but Winter did so because he cared for the well-being of all. Mandatory school attendance and kindergarten for all were a part of his education reform act. As I look back and then look to the future perhaps we can capture the vision of those reformers who looked at the entire picture, not just those parts that we hear about, read about or see and visualize a picture of unity. As a servant leader, continuously learning and continually improving, I hope we will all go the extra mile, model the behavior that we expect, and follow the work ethic that I learned on a farm from my eighth-grade-educated father who said, “Son, sometimes you must start a little earlier and work a little later to get the job done with what you have.”

James Hawkins, Yukon



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