by Hunter Dawkins

There were many reasons that I could not have returned to my home in Pass Christian for the summer of 2012, after being away for 8 full years.  Historically speaking, the Coast has gone through quite the turmoil in the last decade plus; Katrina, Deepwater Horizon to name a few.

One sincere thought stuck through my head, as a famous quote that Dr. Martin Luther King told his church congregation in Atlanta, “The HOTTEST place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral conflict.”

Let us remember that we are presented with holiday blessings every year on the Coast, as we still have the wonderful Christmas in the Pass, Santa’s Sail-A-Bration parade in Long Beach, and the amazing Winter Harbor Festival Lights in Gulfport.

My time as a lifelong resident helps me cherish the memories of why I returned.

In 10 years of Roman Catholic theology study, the most important verse to me is from the Gospel of Matthew 25:40 where Jesus says, “Truly I say to you, what you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me.”  Taking these two important quotes into question, we should review our need for these four reforms.

  · The APPROPRIATE FUNDING for improvement of the foster-care system by the state of Mississippi and the Department of Human Services.

  · The APPROPRIATE FUNDING for mental health care facilities (studies have shown this will shrink crime rates).

  · The APPROPRIATE FUNDING for our schools, students, teachers, faculty, and resources.

  · The APPROPRIATE FUNDING for our Public Employees Retirement Services (PERS) plan (almost 500 in the city of Pass Christian as whole).

  I could go through each dilemma, their need for reform, and the exact financial amount, but the capability to let our federal, state & local leaders know is the important step that our community needs to take next year.

  Each one of these problems are of a moral value and our city, state and nation should provide the best opportunity available to fulfill our humanitarian right to the pursuit of happiness.