By this time next year I wish. . .
. . .that the U. S. Congress will have enacted comprehensive immigration reform that would provide for the documentation of the millions of Mexican and Central American immigrants who currently work hard to keep things going in our nation without the protection and benefit of legal status. In this regard, I hope that early in 2009 the Congress will send the D. R. E. A. M. Act to President Obama for his signature. The children of undocumented immigrants, like many of my young friends whom I've written about here so often, need protection and legal status so they can remain in the United States as they pursue higher education, military service or both.
. . .that a major part of any economic stimulus package passed by the new Congress and signed into law by the new President will include significant provisions for expanded workforce training programs that are accessible in every major urban center in the nation and that are designed to assist low-income citizens to gain the skills needed to obtain and hold a living wage job.
. . .that the federal government, in cooperation with states and local urban municipalities, will provide significant tax rebates and subsidies to encourage the pursuit of green energy production by business, private and public sectors in an aggressive manner that encourages and achieves scale as quickly as possible. Note: due to differing tax structures, a state-by-state policy approach will be required. Time for new thinking.
. . .that the federal government will create partnerships with local community-based organizations with proven track records in workforce training to create "green job corps" whose members will be enabled to lead the way in turning urban communities green while creating millions of new, livable wage jobs.
. . .that the City of Dallas will see the wisdom of providing increased funding for affordable housing development, including scalable permanent supportive housing for the homeless, out of its general revenue budget over and above what outside sources of revenue currently generate.
. . .that local leaders will make a compelling case for using some of the promised economic stimulus funds to expand and "fast forward" plans for DART, our light rail public transportation system, to the end that the system is built out more aggressively across more of our community with special attention given to connecting neglected areas of the city to the whole.
. . .that faith communities of every variety would embrace a renewed concern for the poor that translates into effective action in terms of both meaningful service and unifed aggitation for systemic public policy reform.
. . .that everyone in Dallas would come together to make sure the Dallas Independent School District would work in an optimal way for every student.
. . .that the State of Texas would reform the Department of Health and Human Services so that it would get back to actually providing needed care, intervention and support for the poor, our children and our most vulnerable citizens.
Ambitious, you say?
Hope does that to a soul!
What's on your list?