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Creature from the Orange Lagoon

The City of Syracuse continued its renaissance this year, evidenced by the number of cranes jutting in the air signifying new construction. Take a drive through each of the city’s neighborhood commercial centers and you’ll see signs of renewal everywhere.

The tower called Harrison House, long vacant, will soon be filled with SUNY Upstate associated tenants. Land that played host to the deteriorating Kennedy Square housing complex demolished, soon to be replaced by another facility expanding the footprint of development into areas that were once home to the Syracuse poor and working poor.

Millions of dollars have been secured by Syracuse University to create the Connective Corridor that will soon become a visual reality. More than $100 million has been awarded through New York State’s competitive process for a variety of projects across this region.

Include the massive expansion of health related services as our local hospitals renovate and expand, adding millions to the economy by employing those in construction and creating new employment opportunities for those who’ve chosen to work in Syracuse and Onondaga County.

The question remains: What about opportunities for the rest of us? What about self-determination by neighborhood residents? Who are the stake holders in our community? Who’s looking out for those who aren’t Syracuse University connected?

Opportunities are everywhere, especially for those who’ve attended Syracuse University, since they hire their own to operate most initiatives that will define the future of our urban community.

Efforts by the “university” to help “the community” are designed to assist their students make money and gain valuable experience, which is their prerogative. But what about the rest of us? I don’t recall an election where any university president was elected to office, but Syracuse University’s institutional power and influence continue to engulf this city like a giant orange blob, or the Creature from the Orange lagoon.

Most African-American college graduates that grew up in Syracuse prefer to leave rather than return home only to compete with the nepotism, institutional power and “urban power elites” that rule this place.

It really does matter who your daddy is in Syracuse, N.Y.

It doesn’t matter if that “Daddy” is a winning political candidate or an actual blood relative, or an educational institution. If a Syracuse-raised person obtains a college degree and they happen to be African-American, the best thing to do is visit their Syracuse home and get back on the Interstate and return to the opportunities that await them.

This is a sobering assessment, but I’ve seen people with absolutely no experience gain key appointments while those local people who’ve toiled in the trenches are forgotten as soon as the money comes in. Why don’t we just rename this town Syracuse University, N.Y.? It’s starting to look that way. Watch out for the Orange Blob or Creature from the Orange Lagoon coming to a theater near you.

December 31, 2011

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A Celebration of Black Icons in Dance

Community Folk Art Center 805 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY, United States

Join Classical Dance Trailblazer, Charles Haislah, The Creative Arts Academy, and CFAC-DanceLab for an evening of captivating performances and dance history. This event is free and open to the community!

Free and open to the community

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