The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

August 8, 2012

A salute to Viola Harris for caring

Curmilus Dancy II

TARBORO — To the Editor:

First of all, I want to say that I have no permanent friends no permanent enemies only permanent interest!

I know you, mayor Linda Ingram, and I know commissioner Viola Harris very well. Harris and I are not the best of friends, however we do have something in common and that is visiting Princeville because we care about the status of the town. I don’t live here, nor does Harris.

Harris and I have been attending the Princeville town meetings for years. Harris is an Edgecombe County commissioner and was recently appointed to the Local Government Commission (LGC) by the governor. The county commissioners run the county, so therefore, if any town in Edgecombe County has some concerns and/or want some help; they should attend the county commissioners meetings. Better yet, they can call their county commissioner. I don’t think Conetoe is in Harris’ district, however, she does serve the entire county.

You (Mayor Ingram) say, “She has no idea what we are doing, have done, or our plans for future growth.” So is it something you need some help with that Harris needs to know about? If so, have you attended an Edgecombe County commissioner’s meeting, sent her an email and/or called her?

You say, “I don’t know who she is sharing all this knowledge she has gained in her travels, and from those conferences, but we (the citizens of Conetoe) have not benefited.” Well, since you feel you and the citizens have not benefited from Harris, then I say contact her to see what she can do for you.

And lastly you say, “If she is truly fighting for all the citizens in District 2, we would love to hear what she is doing or has done for this community.” Ingram, you are the mayor and you should be the one, along with your fellow commissioners, running your town. However, if ya’ll want some support, then it should be ya’ll seeking it from others … especially those who serve the districts that Conetoe is in, be it school board, commissioners, congressional and/or whatever.

I applaud Harris, who is not my county commissioner, for going over to Princeville to try to assist them because you and the citizens of Conetoe ought to see this town has been in the news for many years. Again, Harris was recently appointed to serve on the LGC which governs towns and boards, so it is therefore a priority she attends the Princeville meetings to see what is going on so she does not have to rely on the newspaper and if I miss a meeting and my video is not available.

I have a question for you … you being a mayor. If you have been following Princeville, you should see that mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates and the town have some serious issues. One would think that you being a black female and she being a black female and your towns being about four to five miles apart that you would have contacted her to see if ya’ll could sit down and talk about the negativity of Princeville.

But, you see, most folks will not do what Harris is doing and that is get involved. If I was black and a mayor and lived that close to Princeville, I would be attending the meetings whenever time allowed to see what was going on there for myself. If you had attended some of their meetings, you would see that Harris is on point when it comes to Princeville and obviously the LGC agrees, because they voted unanimously to take control of the town’s finances.

And one last thing everybody in Edgecombe County ought to be concerned about is the fact the oldest town in America incorporated by slaves is struggling and only a few citizens and a few outsiders are attending the meetings and voicing their concerns.

I attend the meetings, however I can’t speak, but I do video the meetings and make them available online while voicing my opinions as well.

As I stated earlier, Harris and I are not the best of friends but I stand with folks who stand for a worthy cause — and Princeville is a worthy cause. You see, it’s not about Harris but all about trying to do whatever I can to help bring some exposure to the town of Princeville by trying to hold the mayor and the commissioners accountable for their actions.

So, I say “thank you” to Commissioner Harris for attending the meetings in Princeville when you could be somewhere else. I recognize and understand that you can’t be everywhere all the time, but making Princeville a priority has been the right thing to do.

Curmilus Dancy II