Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Not Gonna Take It

On Saturday evening, around dinner time, my daughter and were headed to Sam’s Mart to buy a couple of lottery tickets and then meant to go from there to Mission Barbecue. We turned onto Stevens Forest Road from Whitacre and immediately had to pull over.

Police cars, paramedics, and a fire truck were headed towards us and into the Sam’s Mart parking lot.   After they sped by we passed on the lottery tickets and headed to dinner.

Later we read the crime report released by the Police Department on Facebook, followed by the same old, same old racist dog whistles about Oakland Mills.

“That area”
“Wrong element”
“Loitering youths”
“Turning into Baltimore”
“Always had problems”

Then, something interesting happened. Residents of Oakland Mills started pushing back. I started seeing things like:

“I love ‘that area’”
“I feel safe here”
“Proud to send my kids to school in OM”
“So much great going on”
“amazing community building”

On Saturday night the same old haters came out strong and they met a resistance they probably weren’t expecting. Oakland Mills was representing. Yeah, we’re used to the trash talk but we just won’t take it lying down anymore. We know our community has challenges but we also know it’s awesome.

Several years back I was part of a core group that created a Facebook page called “Oakland Mills is Awesome”. We were frustrated by the steady flow of negativity about our Village when we knew how great it really was.

The page started as a virtual pep talk, if you will, highlighting events, accomplishments, and exceptional community members. Over time, more and more candidates to our village board brought with them that sense of pride and positivity. Board Chair Jonathan Edelson forged collaborative relationships to support Village schools. Sandy Cederbaum and other OMCA staff went above and beyond to connect residents with helpful information and needed resources.

Sunday morning my daughter and I were back at the Village Center to shop at the Farmers Market. Once we had loaded up on bread, pastries, bacon, strawberries, and sugar snap peas, we headed over to Sam’s Mart to finish what we had started the night before. Yep, lottery tickets.

Winning the lottery would be extremely gratifying.

Living in Oakland Mills?  Priceless.

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