Mr. Kennedy, glad you enjoyed the YouZeum, but you dropped your skepticism too soon.
With the grand opening of the YouZeum, Columbia again missed an opportunity to be known as a progressive community. The YouZeum, which has been heavily subsidized by thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars and tax credits, does not live up to its tagline that “It’s all about You!” It costs $8 for anyone ages 14 and older and $5 for ages 4 to 13. Children 3 and under are free, but all children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. School tours are offered, but I have heard that the children who want to attend still have to pay the same admission fee and are encouraged to bring additional money along for the gift shop. The fees are not affordable for our families of low and moderate income so their slogan would be more accurate if it was “It’s all about some of you!” The taking of taxpayer money, but then withholding access, is what is known as economic discrimination.
I hear members of the City Council —you know who you are — say that they are concerned about how Columbia is becoming more divided and less of a society that cares about everyone. This museum is just one more example of why people feel disenfranchised and left out. This isn’t healthy for our community. The council should seriously confront this divisive problem by having a policy that mandates that any individual or group receiving city funds and in-kind public assistance must also have a policy that is fair and promotes unity by welcoming all Columbians.