Get to know a person before deciding how to treat them

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

For many years, I had hair down to my waist. During that time, some would overlook me as having anything valid to share or, sadly to some, I was beneath them on the social ladder. Before I go on, let me tell you about the week.

Monday was a marathon day at Seymour City Hall. Three public meetings almost back-to-back can make for a long evening.

First on the agenda was the redevelopment commission. They reviewed claims for several of the road projects going on and even heard a new request or two for future consideration.

Then at the top of the next hour, I took my wife for ice cream between meetings. Mind you, that is probably not the best supper, but you make time for family and sweets when you can.

Shortly after finishing a few scoops, I headed back for the economic development meeting. This meeting was to finish up some state requirements related to the Silgan project from a few months ago.

Last meeting for the night was the common council. With three rezones on the agenda, it was a long meeting. The members listened as community members spoke for and against projects and after discussion cast their votes. They voted down an application to rezone residential to industrial and single-family residential to multifamily. They did approve a single-family to multifamily in another location.

I believe the members of the council are doing their homework on the front end to learn as much as possible before the meetings and still coming in with a willingness to hear new thoughts and concerns before making a decision. To the members of the council, keep up that open mind and you will serve our community well.

I had my first chance to be on air with Becky Schepman at Radio 96.3. We caught up on the previous day’s meetings and then dove into sharing updates on Fourth of July fireworks. They are a go for the Fourth at 10 p.m. Please remember to social distance and enjoy the show.

We also talked about Burkhart Plaza and that it will open to the public very soon. I hope you see the porch swings as a chance to sit down and enjoy our downtown. Watch for ribbon-cutting details in the near future. If you want to see the whole conversation, check the videos on my Facebook page Matt Nicholson Mayor Seymour, IN.

Congratulations to Wynn Wright on your retirement after 32 years of service with Indiana American Water. I hope you enjoy your time and fill it with many new memories.

There you have it, another week in review. Check The Tribune for many of the other events, like the blood drive that we had a great turnout for. Chief Bryant Lucas from the police department donated $100 to park and recreation after beating them on donors.

I spent part of a day with the airport crew learning and building relationships. Impact board along with a board of works meeting that honored many members of the park and recreation department with service awards. More than 115 years of service in that department makes for much applause and not near enough thank-yous. Even with all of that experience, this week was the first of three input sessions to allow citizens to help develop the parks master plan.

In 2010, I offered up my hair that I had worn long for almost two decades for a fundraiser. While it took me a little bit to get used to much quicker showers, it shocked me more that people suddenly seemed to think my opinion was more important. What changed? Not a thing. I am still the same opinionated person I have always been. Just like before, I will still hear your thoughts and weigh them in before I make a decision.

I share this story to reflect on the last few weeks. Prejudice is long developed in one’s mind. It can be taught by families and friends as you grow. While hair can be changed with the seasons, other things that some are prejudiced against cannot.

Any 12-step program starts with accepting that you have a problem. I will not sit here and tell you that you are prejudice unless I see it firsthand. Just because someone has a physical disability doesn’t mean they have a mental one, as well. Being from Mexico doesn’t mean someone is an illegal alien. The color of someone’s skin does not make them any less of an upstanding citizen. A man having long hair does not make them any less than short hair.

Heads up because along these same lines, wearing a badge does not make you a bad person. Get to know the person before you decide how to treat them.

I want to end this update with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

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