Wade on Birmingham

The Future of Birmingham: Slow and steady

Drive-By Truckers

Photo: Curtis Fockele (CC)

The Drive-By Truckers perform at Iron City on Southside.
The venue has not only brought in bands from the South
but also from across the nation.

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Details at the end.

By Jackie Lo

Those of us who love Birmingham are slowly nurturing and hand-feeding this beautiful city with our passion and adoration. Naysayers have moved from and come back to a very different city. Outsiders have taken notice, written articles, shared our secrets. But, eventually the surprise will leave their tone and will be replaced with respect and their own adoration.

The Future of BirminghamMore traveling bands will put a pin in Birmingham on their tour maps. More people will attend local venues. Record shops will flourish, and underground radio will thrive and shake up the quality of music that hits our airwaves. Local bands playing at home will really mean something to everyone involved.

Women will make as much money as men do at the same job. They will be free to make their own choices about their bodies and not have to worry about what the politicians at the Capital have to say about it or if their rights or clinics will be shut down. Contraceptives will be affordable, and sex education will be available to everyone.

Gay marriage will be accepted in all counties in the state, and we will look back on that day outside the courthouse and realize we saw history happen in our city. A city that helped lead civil rights for race equality has now made strides for sexual equality. LGBT couples will be able to have all of the same rights that straight couples enjoy.

Drunk driving will be greatly reduced as ridesharing options such as Uber and Lyft will be available to our city. Waiting 45 minutes for a taxi will be a thing of the past. Public transportation will be easier and available in more places. Bike sharing will be a huge success as bike lanes and walking paths will spread throughout the city.

Marijuana will be legalized. We will be one of the last states to implement it, but when we do, we will realize it isn’t the terrible monster it’s made out to be. The war on drugs and violence within our city will have one less component, and our jails won’t stay at capacity because of it.

We will have a lottery that properly funds our education system to increase the quality of schools citywide. Our kids will be smarter than we ever were and “Alabama jokes” won’t hold the same weight they once did.

We will take pride in our amazing food and drinks, and more outstanding and award-winning restaurants and bars will open and be successful. We will have more places downtown that stay open at night and more late night options as well. “Locally Sourced” and “Locally Made” will be on every new menu.

Construction will continue to boom downtown, and we will keep moving into renovated old structures that once were abandoned and in shambles. New construction will continue to be thoughtful and add interest to our skyline, and everyone will see downtown as the place I’ve always loved.

Progress. That is what the future of Birmingham holds. We’ve seen it happening. It might be slow, but that’s our brand of progress, a slow and steady growth. We have pride, and we know how to fight. Wanting more and never being quite satisfied is what sets us apart. We always appreciate what we have to work for instead of what is simply given to us.

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Jackie LoJackie Lo (a k a Jacklyn Loquidis Hamric) is editor in chief of the blog I Am the F-Bomb, DJ for the weekly “Jackie Lo Show” on Substrate Radio, interior designer at Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds and a musician.

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The Future of BirminghamThe full version of this essay and many more are available in the free ebook, “The Future of Birmingham.”

All you need to do is fill out this simple form. We’ll email you a link to download the book. (And, at no extra charge, we’ll add you to the mailing list for the free Y’all Connect newsletter.)


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Read more essays in our special 10th anniversary series, The Future of Birmingham.

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