Guest Column by Preston Love, Jr.
Dear Rural Nebraska:
I am reaching out to you in an effort to plant a seed. I am urban and mostly African American. During this stressful period of disease and viruses, I’ve had the time to realize, more than ever before, who I am and who you are. I have discovered, that you and I have so much in common. While ridiculously separated by distance, sometimes color, sometimes race, sometimes political persuasion, my reflection has taught me the truth of the matter. The truth is, that we both have the virtue of fertile ground and an abundance of seeds. So, what shall we do?
We both have the challenges of mass unemployment, before and during the virus, minimal and reducing investments in our relative communities, mistaken perceptions about each other, love and faith in God, and a shared love of life, family and community. The virus defines us, not as rural or urban, but only as potential victims. We have survived years of slavery and racism. You have survived drought, insects and flooding. In our survival, we remain together in our preparation to plant our seeds, and we are united in our desire for our seeds to yield a better future. So, my question is, “how on earth could we be divided?” We have more in common than we have differences, yet we have not acted like we have more in common. We have wasted so many years and generations relishing in our differences. We have not used the abundance of our common seeds.
For generations, we have pointed fingers at each other. We have voted differently. We have exaggerated our differences. Yet, when we have come face-to-face, we have seen with our own eyes our commonality. Now, thanks to this horrible virus, we sit at home in our little-bitty silos and realize, “Oh my God, we have the same humanity." We have so much in common. Your neighbors are our neighbors. With closeness or distance, we are joined by our love of our families, our communities, our state, our Huskers, our corn, our soybeans, our large buildings and our abundant busy "Urbaness."
Did you know that one of the most growing phenomena in urban life is urban gardens? Did you know that we love and adore our elderly? Did you know that we have the uniqueness of having international cultures within our grasp? I say, during this time of tragedy, we should pick up our respective plows and plant the seeds of togetherness, unity and future, and be glad of it.
The time has come for Nebraskans, rural and urban, to come together and fight for our communities – needed capital and resources for now and for our future. Fighting separately, we lose. Fighting together, we win. Someone once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Failure on either side, will be failure on both sides. We need each other. Let’s plant, and let’s yield a beautiful future together, forever.
Your Urban Neighbor
Photo courtesy of mncenter.org.