Don't forget the past, forge the future

While he was growing, his interest in civic involvement developed because he knew some day he wanted to do his part to contribute to his community. History was another subject he enjoyed, and he understood changes in racial equality only occurred because people stepped up.

"I always promised myself that I would contribute," he said. "I look at my service as paying tribute to those that came before and made it possible for me to even run and pave the way for future generations to make sure they have the same opportunities that I had and even more."

While a lot has been done to move toward racially equality, he said, the fight isn't over.

McKinney recently attended a training convention in Georgia and said there is a difference in the surrounding community there compared to Niskayuna. He said, while there, he went into a restaurant in sweat pants and waited to be served. For 20 minutes, he said, he watched other people coming in and promptly getting served before he was finally waited on.

"Kids in Niskayuna don't realize that some people are still fighting the Civil War," he said. "Today we still experience racism even in my own town."

While locally, he said, there isn't too much racism prevalent, but he still notices getting treated differently sometimes when he is just out in his causal attire. At those times, he said, he never tells people that he is a councilman, and he lets his money do the talking by taking his business elsewhere.

McKinney said it is important to expose kids to what can happen if they don't get involved and understand what could be and what barriers are still out there that need to come down.

"Government will create laws to hurt you, so one thing to remember in Black History Month is no law should just be taken for its face value," he said. "Government has a tendency, because it is run by people, to take on personal views on how the world should be."

Although he admitted telling people to not trust their government might sound odd coming from a Town Board member, he thought is important for people to question what their government does and what effects those decision have on them.

"No one should trust government. You should question anything that happens," he said. "Being able to critically think about a situation allows you to make smart decisions.""

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