A Greater Community

by Kelly Lee

My original plan for this blog was to write about our North Carolina communities and how similar they are, with the same issues, challenges and opportunities, regardless of the geography of our state.

My lighthearted piece was going to contain a reference to one of my favorite childhood movies, The Wizard of Oz, and how Dorothy clicks those red slippers together and says over and over, “there is no place like home.”

The thing is, all of us watching the movie know that Oz really isn’t that different from Kansas in the end.  The people and the landscape may be a little different, but in the end, everyone wants the same thing: to feel loved, protected, safe and happy.

I knew my blog would be different when two mass shootings took over the news last weekend, less than a week after a previous shooting at a food festival.

The disaster scenes are devastating to see.

We learned the identities of those who died in these tragedies and the stories of the heroes who risked their own lives to grab children or help others hide in the chaos.

People just like us, out doing their grocery or back to school shopping or joining friends for a drink and a few laughs. They were people just like us.

It’s hard to look at a map of our country and find a place that has not been touched by these tragedies. These disasters change us, and they change communities.

The recovery will be long for the people of El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy. Families will need support and the communities will need to rally around them.

My good friend, Jennifer Gregory, spoke from the stage at the NC Rural Center’s forum this year about regionalism. She said, “The issues in one county aren’t much different from the next county when you drive over those lines that only exist on maps.”

County lines, state lines and borders may divide us, but we all want the same things.

We want to take care of our families, to feel loved and to feel safe.

If you would like to support the people of Gilroy, El Paso, or Dayton, you can follow the links to our fellow community foundations and the funds that have been established to assist victims below: