I’ve always wanted to be that person who went out and changed the world, and I thought that in order to do that, I had to leave my city. I used to think being a big name meant that you had to come from an equally big place. For years I had my sights set on moving to New York, Atlanta, or California. Now though, I’m okay with remaining in my hometown; in fact, it’s pretty great. Mobile, Alabama is an…interesting place to live. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that there are many interesting gems about living in Mobile that I now appreciate.
Mobile is chalked full of history, really cool places to enjoy, great schools, and a lovely since of community and stability. Interesting fact: there are TONS of famous people from Mobile who have become famous; though most don’t really recognize their hometown. Just to name a few famous folks from Mobile: The guy who wrote Forest Gump, Laverne Cox, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Hank Aaron, Satchel Page, the wife of former Attorney General Eric Holder, the late wife of Gospel sensation Marvin Sapp, former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, just to name a few. Honestly, Mobile is the place you could either raise kids or retire to.
Sadly, I see so many young Mobilians talk trash about how bad it is to live here. Most relocate and never look back. I have to be honest and say that I too used to down talk my city, but then I went through a few things and had to return to the very city I wished so desperately to run away from. In fact, I’m still stuck here, though it’s not necessarily by choice. At this point in my life, I have zero problems living and remaining here. Why is the question that most people would ask; for me the answer is simple: because I see potential. Mobile is a thriving and growing city with a rich history…but it’s also problematic in its systemic racism and discrimination, as well as the deeply rooted covert prejudice and classism. These things can be changed, but it cannot change if everyone who wishes to see change happen, leaves.
I have had TONS of opportunities to leave and make a difference in the world, but recently I’ve come to the conclusion that there are MILLIONS of change seekers and innovators in New York, Atlanta, and California. But who’s fighting for change here in Mobile? How many young people know who sits on the city council? How many young people have who have knowledge of how our city works? How many young people are actively starting businesses, working alongside the Mayor’s office and with the state to see Mobile and Alabama in general be better?
From what I’ve seen, not many; instead we’d rather sit and complain about how bad of a place Mobile is or run away to some new city that’s already established and become just another a face in the crowd. I understand leaving Mobile because there are no jobs in your field; I understand leaving because you cannot afford the cost of living, or because the cost of living is too low. I get that, and I can respect it. In fact, I’ve considered leaving for some of those same exact reasons. However, I’ve learned that no matter where I go every city has these same problems. It’s not just Mobile, it’s because the economy right now is shitty, and we have a congress and now unfortunately a president who would rather people struggle to live on a minimum wage of $7.25 than to raise it to something more affordable.
If the Presidential Election has taught me anything, it’s that I cannot depend on the government to make this country a wonderful place to live; it’s up to me. If I want change, I have to be willing to advocate for it.
So I challenge my fellow young Mobilians to stop getting on Facebook and social media and whining about how much Mobile sucks. How about YOU try and work to make your city better.
Charity starts at home…ijs.
Be the change you wish to see in the world,