Our official position is that Magnolia and South Arkansas welcomes everyone to live here. Refugee, immigrant or native-born. Black, white, Hispanic, Latino or any other racial description. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindi or no religious affiliation. Straight or gay. Democrat, Republican, independent or apolitical. High school, trade school, college degree or advanced degree. Poor, middle-income or wealthy (we would prefer a little bit more entrepreneurial drive among these three divisions, but that’s another column). Why do we take this position? First, it's the right thing to do. Second, our current population model isn’t working well for us, and has failed to do so going on two centuries. This region is depopulating. South Arkansas lags far behind the rest of the nation in personal income and educational attainment. The reasons for this are myriad and not explained simply by a perceived lack of economic opportunity. People live, or continue to live, where they feel welcomed and accepted for what they are and for what they aspire to become. We welcome everyone who wants to build a great life for themselves and their families in South Arkansas.
We’d add one more thing with which we’re fine. We don’t care whether someone was born speaking another language, and doesn’t speak or write English well yet so long as one makes an earnest effort. We can say this because there are plenty of native-born, South Arkansas speakers of English who are difficult for us to understand, or who make little effort to make themselves understood in written English. Many non-native speakers at least make an effort.
You still have some time to respond to our current online poll question: “Are you making beer, wine or liquor purchases in Columbia County?”
Southern Arkansas University students are filtering back to Magnolia for the start of the spring semester on Wednesday.
The Magnolia School Board meets at 6 p.m. tonight in the District Administration Building.