Well, my friends, we’ve reached the conclusion of my time as a columnist for Brick & Elm. For three years, I’ve had the outstanding privilege of sharing my thoughts on a myriad of topics with you. Goodbyes suck. There’s no sense in avoiding the obvious. However, just as I knew it was time to forego another term as a Regent at Amarillo College or President of the Amarillo Branch NAACP, I have also decided to end my time as a columnist for Brick & Elm. 

A lot has changed since I was introduced to the subscribers of this magazine. My personal journey resulted in exponential growth and introspection while sharing this column with you, with many life experiences inspiring the content. Throughout it all, we have weathered the storms of life together and welcomed each opportunity with faith and optimism. This time will be no different. As a child from northeast Amarillo, I could hardly imagine there’d be a day in which my words would be featured in a local magazine with regional circulation. I’ll always cherish the email I received from Jason on May 16, 2021, inquiring about my interest in becoming a part of this amazing journey. Together, Michele and Jason delivered what was promised to me, and for that I am grateful. 

I hope I served you well with my thoughts and inspirations. With each column, I attempted to share a broader voice with those who may not have otherwise heard it. My goal was always to help build bridges and overcome the barriers we often construct out of fear. I highlighted issues related to public education or voting, and gave you a glimpse into my own personal adversity and opportunities. You helped me put words to every emotion, which allowed me to fully process the evolution within. For this I thank you. You may have disagreed with what I opined. Even if that was the case, thank you for taking time to consider a different perspective. If you read in agreement, well, I am humbled by our mutual understanding of pertinent personal and public policy issues.

Amarillo is a city of vast opportunities. It’s a city that has its shortcomings, but it remains determined to resolve those most important matters. From its days as a settlement called Oneida to its becoming an established city of more than 200,000 people, Amarillo continues to reign as the metropolis of the Texas Panhandle. In 2024, we have the unique opportunity to capitalize on our technological advantages and scientific developments to ensure our region is built for the prosperity of our posterity. Strengthening our infrastructure and water conservation will continue to be important issues. Ensuring reliable public transportation options—from the most rural to the most densely-populated urban areas—will need to be prioritized. Advocating for public education and creating job opportunities for our highly qualified, post-secondary graduates will continue to be important, especially if we are going to become a city of interest to future generations of entrepreneurs and public servants. We must find a common ground that allows us to build consensus through thoughtful collaboration if we are going to root out divisiveness from within the public square. 

We are capable, if only we are willing. When natural disasters strike, the people of Amarillo and the Panhandle respond accordingly. In times of crisis, we give assistance without regard to ideological or partisan beliefs. Imagine if that were the norm rather than the exception. We are not bound by monolithic, foregone conclusions of the past. The solutions to our problems exist in our ability to overcome that which divides us to achieve what should unite us. Our history is still being written, my friends. Whatever happens next, let us resolve to move forward together. Our forward momentum will take us farther than we have previously ever known.

Thank you, Amarillo. I anxiously await the opportunity to share my thoughts with you again very soon—perhaps on consequential matters related to our collective desire to pursue what is best for Amarillo. Until then, keep moving forward. 

Author

  • Patrick Miller

    A passionate local educator, Past President and current executive officer of Amarillo Branch NAACP, Patrick writes in every issue about education, faith and forward momentum.

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