Recreation still ‘separate but equal’

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Natchez needs a recreational program. As a black recreation professional for more than 30 years, I am concerned about whether we want a recreation program or are we using the YMCA as an alternative instead of investing in an effective, well-rounded recreational program.

I read a few weeks ago that a YMCA was being considered. The YMCA agency is a private system that charges a fee. Why can’t we establish our program and use a fee to fund activities? I was elated to read about the gift given to the city to improve and make much needed updates to two neighborhood parks. City and county leaders owe it to the young people to speed up the discussion on recreation.

I have been told by some people to keep quite on my opinion, but I have questions. Why do we have two little leagues? Why do we have two swimming pools? Are we using the old separate but equal philosophy by upgrading the two neighborhood parks?

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I have been a warrior for children all my life. It has never been about color. Politics has caused our problems. We must push to make changes in our outlook on an all-inclusive recreational program.

Just as God said himself, “I am who I am.”

Robert Jones, former director of programs Miss-Lou Boys and Girls Program