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We All Dream

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. I had one too. His actions moves me to act and his words and phrases will resound throughout these thoughts.

When can we begin to act? What can the collective dream be of our marginalized right here in Ottawa County? Those who have faced the losses of their homes and possessions they may have found floating in that fowl water trapped in their living rooms, their piano forever ruined. Every item pulled out by hand to the road, stacked up with the sheetrock all of the dreams that home had had in the remodel, the new color in that bedroom, the joy of Christmas mornings all flash to homes no longer there.

There are times when stashing all those emotions and the actual grief of the losses of the stuff we grew up with all gone, wiped, no, actually gutted from the structures that had been home. I have gutted a fish, but my home? I have never had to do that. Where we are and who we live beside, the ultimately shared lives, as we reflect we know we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.

This community knows that memory, so many know what that means to suddenly have the Southern Baptist Men walk in and start with their expertise getting that sopping wet carpet out to the street and then the sheetrock. If they were able to find you and your home. Otherwise many of your neighbors know how that works. They have muscle-memory of it.

And all those muscles need to be put to work right now. The only time you have to take actions to stop some of the next floods. Who floods you? We already know from court decisions most of you are flooded by when all actions by people in power, organizations in charge of making power, do not do what you need and release water before it is held too long and begins to back up onto the lands and property of those upstream.

Going home to Grandma's changes after a flood, the markings on the wall showing how quickly your children grew up, gone, the antiques, the heirloom quilts gone and the dollies and crocheted what's its in a pile of mush scooped out with a shovel.

There is a lot of "why bother" rampant around here. The silence of our friends. Perhaps it is the guilt of knowing you suffered and they did not, and said nothing, never walked across the street to lend a hand. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

That can change now you can speak out for them, to stop the next flood.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?

So on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Remembrance: I kick it.

That means walking more streets, listening to your stories, and your questions, and letting those of you with businesses or are living in the floodplain participate in the flood survey LEAD is conducting.

We are distributing postcards for all of you to send to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who is the entity that will approve or modify the multi-year license renewal the Grand River Dam Authority has submitted, with provisions that may put you and your neighbors more at risk of flooding in the future. I am forever believing. I have a dream. I and we must never lose infinite hope.

Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim

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