OPINION: Let’s revitalize Laredo by focusing on change
STAFF POINT of VIEW
By Shelley Rodriguez
Bridge Staff Writer
Published March 30, 2020
There is an unintentional line frequently said by children and teens all throughout Laredo.
We hear it, think it and most probably even say it at least once in our lifetime if we’ve lived here: “I’m going to leave Laredo.” Some variation of that line passed down generation-to-generation to the point where we’re not even surprised when we hear it any-more.
There’s something about this lovely city that makes its own residents want to leave time-and-time again. Al-though it’s easy to point out this town’s flaws, it is still no better to leave it the way it is as opposed to staying and implementing change. To put it simply, leaving Laredo doesn’t help. If anything, wanting to leave is the least favorable choice for everyone involved.
I won’t go ahead and turn a blind eye to all the faults this small town has be-cause that, in itself, would be irresponsible as well as overdone. If I were to be honest with myself, there’s nothing this town really has to offer besides a place of comfort to “Latinx” folks as well as over-bearing heat; however, there’s one quote that’s stuck with me ever since a local teacher told me: “Laredo isn’t great because all the best people leave and never come back to share what they’ve learned from the outside.”
What happens when we leave is actually a tragedy, if we think about it. We leave the desert in search of water and once we find it, instead of going back to share it with the ones who stayed behind, we remain at the oasis.
Leaving Laredo only keeps the city in its echo chamber with no challenge for it to grow. We offer no new elements and just leave the city the way it was unless we stay or return to offer new ideas. I’m not saying we have an obligation to become city mayors or any other political figure, but what I am saying is that we have no room to criticize when none of us are willing to take the challenge to make the city as great as others of its type.
Those others started off the way we did: lame, boring and small, as everything in life does. What actually makes something blossom into something more profound? Perhaps dedication, time and effort could help. We can find influences in other cities, while adding our unique take on it.
As many of you read this, I believe you may have sense of naivety to my “proposal” or take on this notion, but I do not feel I am alone in this. This city has a population of more than 250,000 yet treats itself like a small town. We choose to not treat it like it is more. Laredo must grow, along with the Laredoan mentality, which I believe should be tweaked.
I admire the volunteers, the down-town scene that is slowly changing by embracing the local culture, the baby steps it seems to be taking and I hope the message gets across. Laredo has potential. We can make history but, perhaps, we are stunned by fear or it taking too much work to even think about making a push from the inside.
I believe, instead of setting the goal to leave Laredo, we should change it to “I’m going to change Laredo.”
It’s just a thought.