It feels strange to say, but I’ll be relieved when this year is over!! Of course, next year may be just as full of painful, divisive, hate-filled events… I’m just hoping it won’t.
So much violence and weather disasters all over the world. So many events that tear communities apart. Yet, those same events contain the opportunity to come together to rebuild, to join forces and create new, hopefully more cohesive and loving communities.
This month’s theme is about that very thing: building (and celebrating) our communities. Several articles are about women (and men!) doing just that in simple yet powerful ways.
You’ll read about Lina Abuadas of Pita Express in Hendersonville. She and her husband have created a place where, through food, dancing and language, diversity is celebrated instead of feared.
To the north a young business called Fermenti. is bringing people together over food and tradition. Meg Chamberlain not only has created a delicious array of products but through her community building efforts has brought a variety of other producers together for an annual Fermenting Fest. Held at the Cooperative Extension space in Marshall, this event featured a number of artisans, fun space for kids, plus a number of workshops on food preparation. Proceeds from the event went to a local church-run food bank.
Really, just reading again about these dynamic women and their work has started to bring back my naturally optimistic outlook!
And there are so many more examples of local, simple ways we can join forces for good.
I imagine most of you have heard of the Junior League. But do you know how far back their history goes and how many truly life-giving programs they have created? You will read about them here this month.
Another local organization whose work is about diversity and connection is Building Bridges. Alicia Swearingen writes with passion about the need for all of us to go out of our way to befriend folks who are different from us. As a member of Bulding Bridges once told me: “We’ve built the bridges, now when are we gonna cross them?”
We’ve talked about food as a traditional way to bring people together, and music is another strong (and fun!) way to connect people from various backgrounds. Village Marimba’s Sue Ford offers the chance for young and old to come together to play music and in the process meet folks outside one’s day-to-day community.
The scars of the Vietnam War, even after 50+ years are still painful for many. Equinox Ranch not only offers support to these vets but took a group back to Vietnam recently to promote reconciliation. Read about the amazing and healing process.
There are so many opportunites to build community: an ongoing wrting workshop that supports a group of women over time; community yoga that brings people together around the healing power of yoga no matter their ability to pay; and even technology, which is often seen as an isolating medium, brings people together through UniteWNC to build a regional alliance that will enhance the quality of life of all residents.
Finally, let’s not forget that this is the season of celebration! Check out Fairview’s Festive Friday event on page 26 and look over our Holiday Gift Buying Guide on pages 28-29 to find unique, local shops. And spend time with loved ones with gratitude that they are in your life.
Enjoy the Happiest of Holidays!