Your time is coming up.

Graduates, we’ve watched many of you grow on our pages and through telling your stories and now you’re ready to make your own way in the world.

First off, we congratulate you in making it through a difficult couple of years in high school. The challenges will continue but we think you’re up to it.

Hard work and persistence do pay off. Keep working toward your goals and dreams, and while that vision may shift in the crafting, you can still realize it.

We hope that you all will look back upon trying times with fondness.

Be you a Coosa Eagle, an Armuchee Indian, a Model Blue Devil, A Unity Lion, A Rome Wolf, a Pepperell Dragon or a Darlington Tiger, we wish you the best.

Difficult choices

We need affordable housing. We need housing for teachers, workers, police officers, nurses, drivers, reporters and EMTs.

The questions of “what is affordable” has been bandied about recently and it seems to be caught somewhere between what developers can handle and what renters and buyers can actually afford.

The numbers just don’t seem to mesh.

The high prices of construction and expected profitability of more expensive homes have gutted the ability of someone to potentially create that which we need most, a place to live.

This week, the city shot down a proposed development which would have brought a bevy of fairly expensive apartments to North Rome.

There are so many arguments that have merit. Those arguments vary from the residents who fear their life will become unaffordable by raised rents and gentrification to the developers who see the untapped potential of the area.

There has to be a middle ground in this situation.

We need to find that compromise between profitability and affordability, or this issue will continue to spiral.

The continued relevance of understanding

An anniversary this week revisited the pain caused by the brutal killing of George Floyd, a man in another state whose death felt so locally relevant.

The murder of George Floyd by a police officer unfolded over those 9 minutes and 29 seconds for every one in the nation to see. There are still those who question and justify the officer’s actions, despite the fact that a jury convicted the man.

We see it on social media posts and in political rhetoric and it’s wrong. There is no justification for killing a man who was subdued and helpless. It also unfortunately calls to mind the brutal suppression of Black Americans who sought to vote or better themselves.

Last year the Rome News-Tribune published this in an editorial and its message still stands:

We’d like to commend our local law enforcement agencies in Rome and Floyd County for taking steps and actively working to be the types of departments we as a community can be proud of.

There’s a lot of hard work and care that goes into actively protecting a community, and a lot of stress. The odds of a police officer eventually making a mistake are pretty high. That’s not a critique. In a person’s role as a police officer they go into high stress situations and attempt to make sense out of chaos. It’s their job. Oftentimes, there are situations in which the anger meant for another person gets taken out on them — and that’s a tough thing to deal with.

There are so many times we’ve seen our local police stopping to help, not to harass. We’ve seen police in the rain changing a tire or in the hot sun talking someone through a bad day.

We’ve seen the caring and compassion in our law enforcement community — and it starts with our local leadership. That good leadership trickles all the way down to officers who patrol the streets, and it shows.

We should feel fortunate as a community.

There’s been a call to end harassment and police brutality, and that’s a valid call we should all heed. No one wins when one of our own is treated unfairly. There is no us or them. We’re all Americans and when a person is mistreated, we are all mistreated.

Arguments over semantics have been abundant. A common retort to the statement that “Black lives matter” is “All lives matter” — and while they do, there is an exclusion. The statement, which sounds nice on its face, attempts to diminish the need for justice.

Equal justice under the law is a right and one we should be striving to achieve as a community and as a country.

Thank you for reading.

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