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Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year Wish

Guy Djoken

As we are all getting ready to turn on the last page on the year 2007 and welcome 2008, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year with the hope that the new year will bring us together as we confront all the major issues we face and address them together.

Last year we were challenged on several occasions on issues such Affordable Housing & Hope VI implementation, Road Congestion, Immigration, Fort Detrick expansion, and the excessive use of Tasers by the Frederick County Sheriff's office. We also had the call for the removal of the Bust of controversial Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision affirming slavery, from it's location outside of City Hall in the City of Frederick.

On many of these issues, we were able to work it out, respecting those who did not necessary agree with us. On other issues such as immigration, the passion ran a little higher and resulted in a discord that many of us were not very proud of. Thank God, our community is enriched by a new wave of leaders that are committed to change the status quo that has for many years marked the Frederick community.

Among tangible landmarks we witnessed is the first Street to be named to honor Mr. Lord Nickens for his lifetime contribution to social Justice in Frederick. This success was the result of E. Kevin Lollar, Director of Development of the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick. More than any other key players who help turn this dream into reality, Mr. Lollar is to be commended for understanding the significance of this and initiating the process.

Other landmarks include the election of Mr. Daryl Boffman as President of the Frederick County Board of Education and the successful implementation of Sam Williamson's project. Sam is a student at Ballenger Creek Elementary School, whose dedication and hard work resulted this month in a permanent memorial of Frederick's first black physician, Dr. Ulysses Grant Bourne. This was placed in the Frederick Memorial Hospital main lobby, a hospital where Dr. Bourne was not allowed to practice.

These few landmarks are a sign of hope for those of us who would like to see Frederick, one of the fastest growing counties in Maryland, become a model of tolerance, acceptance and diversity. The recent arrival of Mr. Henry Templeton, new director of the Frederick County Human Relations Department is seen by many of us as a blessing for our community. In the first few weeks in office, he has proven to be accessible, open and fair-minded and well suited for the job.

We look forward to working with him and other stake holders to build a more cohesive community in the days and years to come.

Guy Djoken is President of the NAACP, Frederick County Maryland Branch

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