Apathy in Suffolk

Published 11:13 pm Thursday, August 16, 2018

I spend hours in all types of meetings that affect the city of Suffolk and its citizens, and sometimes I feel like I’m the only other one in the room.

These public meetings normally have public hearings to give citizens an opportunity to voice their concerns and potentially sway members of whatever board to vote a certain way.

It never fails that people flock to Facebook to complain about the way the vote went and how it will inevitably ruin the city and its citizens. The same people I can see complaining on Facebook are the same ones I’m not seeing at the meetings.

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I’m a strong believer in telling people they shouldn’t complain if they didn’t make every effort to do something about the issue.

For things like City Council, Planning Commission and School Board meetings, it’s as simple as coming up to the podium and expressing a concern. If there is no feasible way you can come to a meeting, it’s as simple as making a call, sending an email or even mailing a letter to the representatives on the boards, commissions and councils.

If you make no effort to fight for your beliefs, then there is no reason to complain.

Older adults are always complaining about how apathetic millennials are, but I seem to be seeing that they are just as apathetic when it comes to their city government.

Suffolk Public Schools and the Virginia Department of Education is making it essential to grow students that are active citizens, but parents, guardians and mentors need to make it a point to be active citizens first.

Being a good citizen starts in your own community, and in any household, it starts with the parents.

Fighting apathy in any community is increasingly important as Election Day sneaks up on all of us. Nov. 6 will be here before we know it, and it is important to go to meetings, research candidates and be informed about the issues.

That information is at almost everyone’s fingertips. The city website, suffolkva.us, offers times and agendas for important city meetings, including City Council and Planning Commission.  The School Board agendas is easily accessed on their website, spsk12.net.

I’m hoping that in our current political landscape — local, state and federal — everyone can make the effort to carve out just a few hours a month to attend meetings and stay informed.

I’d enjoy the company.