Left Justified: I like Mayor Box

Left Justified: I like Mayor Box

By Stanley Campbell

I like Mayor Box

by Stanley Campbell

I like Mayor Box.

I bet you never thought you’d see that sentence in The Rock River Times, but I really do appreciate the work Mayor Charles Box has done for Rockford.

When I first heard he was going to run for mayor, I thought, “He’s gonna have a tough time being warm, personable and glad-handing like a politician.”

But then I saw him at Martin Luther King School talking to a bunch of kids. I then knew he would be the best mayor we’ve ever had. He really encouraged the kids to overcome adversity and do great things with their lives, and he should know, because that’s what he did.

I’ve invited Mayor Charles Box to talk publicly at an open meeting this Thursday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m. at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 4055 N. Rockton Ave. That’s the lovely little church just south of Wesley Willows, north of Riverside Boulevard. Mayor Box will speak about his personal history and experiences, his faith and beliefs. Mayor Box has been very supportive of some of Rockford Urban Ministries’ projects. The first was Rockford Neighborhood Redevelopment Corporation. We’d gotten churches involved in housing rehab on the west side. Mayor Box gave RNR a free house on Underwood Street, and thus began our experience in rehab development. It ultimately ran out of federal funds, but we learned a lot and now have a project called Rockford New Hope, Inc., another development company. Again, Mayor Box helped with his support of the Holland House rehab on Walnut Street.

His most courageous support came for the Harm Reduction Outreach, a needle exchange program that tries to stop the spread of disease among IV drug users. Because of Mayor Box’s efforts, the program is now a successful outreach on Seventh Street and can be credited for halting the increase in HIV-AIDS among some of the most ostracized groups in the city.

Whatever else you might think about his administration, Charles Box did form a bridge between the diverse groups of the city and often stuck his neck out trying to save people’s lives.

That’s why I like Mayor Charles Box.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Minsitries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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