Greydon Williams

News Reporter and Columnist


When good people are silent, evil prevails

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January every year. King himself was a major advocate and, to many, gives a face to the Civil Rights Movement. Across the country people recognize King and many consider him to be a hero. Monday night in Blytheville, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church held a special service as a celebration for MLK Day. At the service, Deputy Prosecutor Curtis Walker Jr. was a guest speaker and speak he did. Walker talked about race, courage, right and wrong, heroes and choices.

“Everybody forgets about the unsung hero, you don’t get Brown v. Board of Education without Brown. Oliver Brown was an old country preacher that wanted his third grade daughter to have a good education. He got tired of seeing his daughter walk six blocks to the bus stop and then get on the bus and drive a mile to go to school when there was a white school just seven blocks away from the house. He wanted more for his daughter. He thought ‘Segregation is wrong, it doesn’t make since.’…He decided ‘I’m going to put my name on this lawsuit’…He had crosses burned in his yard. That man had bricks thrown through his window. He put he and his family in danger but he took a stand,” Walker said.

Walker went on to talk about the price of taking a stand for what you believe in. As a journalist and columnist, this is something I understand on some level. Now I’ve never had to deal with any real danger by voicing my opinions, but plenty of people do. Every time someone chooses to take a stand against an established order they are risking something from simple ridicule to, in extreme cases, loss of life. King was one such case.

Walker’s talk about choices really struck with me because of everything that has gone on in our community recently. He talked about how a mentor in his life told him whenever he finished law school that he had a duty to come back to Blytheville to show others that good can come out of and return to Blytheville. But staying in the community isn’t the only choice that people can make. Other choices are important too, choices that can change your life for the worse; choices that are wrong. It seems like a lot of wrong choices are being made right now and to hear someone influential in this community speak out against violence and talk about right and wrong is really inspiring.

“I think about Curtis Walker, Sr. The many things that he has done for me and I think about Odyssey of the Mind. How we had a lot of bright kids, but dad made the point about how it wasn’t about kids that were the best and brightest, he looked for kids that he could help. I think about what I call Curtis’s kids just to name a few; Lonnie Harrison, (a medical doctor now), Kaitlin Weeks (an engineer), I think of Doug Harp (deputy prosecutor), I think of Jill Flimming and Lisa Jones (artists). I think of Curtis’s kids,” Walker said.

Since Christmas Eve, Blytheville has had four shootings, two of which were fatal. Now let me say that I didn’t grow up in Blytheville and I know that people in Blytheville are tired of hearing about how violent Blytheville is, especially from “outsiders”, but I believe that it doesn’t have to be this way and Walker agrees. Walker said whenever good people are silent, evil prevails. I believe that is true. I believe that whenever the spirit of caring and the spirit of doing the right thing are crushed then nothing good can ever happen. But I don’t believe that has happened in Blytheville, at least not entirely. I still think that good comes out of this community and that plenty of good people live in Blytheville, and if enough good people stand up and decide that they do not what their town to be associated with violence and they take and stand, then Blytheville will change.

More good exists in Blytheville than bad, but if the good get lazy or simply stop caring about what goes on, the bad will win the fight. It is time for Blytheville to come together and unite against violence and crime that occurs within the city, it is time for Blytheville to put an end to this stereotype that it is some kind of abode of lawlessness, it is time for Blytheville to make a stand and to not be silent any longer. Change is coming to Blytheville and I believe that change will be for the better.