A new resident’s view of Vicksburg

Published 8:25 pm Thursday, October 11, 2018

When I moved to Vicksburg, my first impression based on social media and news outlets was “Wow, where did we move to?” The negativity, the crime, the divisiveness and outspoken hate for local officials and law enforcement were overwhelming and sad.

I knew I needed to and wanted to learn about my new hometown. I researched and reviewed everything from city ordinances to who our local officials were.

I started watching the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings and attending town meetings, which were live on Facebook. The attendance at meetings and participation from the options for commentary online or by telephone was minimal.

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I remember watching the mayor sitting next to the President of the United States on television. I thought to myself, “This mayor is smart and is a fighter.” I knew he was there because he wanted to make sure the city of Vicksburg was present and fighting for funding and grants for our city.

I understand we all have different political affiliations, political opinions, disagreements of policies and projects but in a city of this size, why can’t people put that aside? I repeatedly heard the mayor say, “Call me, my number is 601…” I took him up on that.

I have met visitors to our city from England, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and France to name a few, and not just from the boats, but flying here. It was clear to me that we live in a very special city. It made me step away from the politics of the city and take a look around.

I noticed some events mentioned on social media and news outlets going on in Vicksburg, but I felt like crime or something negative was the focus. The city has its share of issues and I am fully aware of my surroundings, as anyone should be anywhere you live.

Vicksburg is unique in many ways, but the crime, homeless people and shortage of police officers is not unique in Vicksburg. These are problems being battled by communities nationwide.

I felt the need for positivity. Therefore, I started a closed Facebook group page entitled “Vicksburg MS Positive Community-Events & Topic Discussions *not about crime.” I started posting every event and activity I found. I even received messages from locals and natives thanking me because they did not know all that took place here. I promote our local businesses and restaurants.

As an experiment, I created a “document” within my group wherein members can write questions or suggestions for the city and when it’s full, I would make a meeting with the mayor to get them answered and share with the group. I figured anything is worth a try to engage with the community and “bridge the gap” between community and officials.

I have spent time with our local officials, department heads and city employees and if some would put their titles on the sides and see them for the people they are, you would see what I do, which are wonderful people

I cannot work on the past, but I can work on the present and on the future. I can be aware but remain positive. My hope is to bring more of the community together, work together and with our city.

We will never be perfect — nothing ever is — but we can always make a difference and make changes to strive for perfection.

Gina Hendrickson is a Vicksburg resident. You can reach her on her Facebook page, Vicksburg MS Positive Community-Events & Topic Discussions *not about crime. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.