A community must include everyone

Community is about being in it together, working on solutions to make where we live better for us and for future generations.

Disagreements should include compromise, not personal attacks on our neighbors. Yet there seems to be an ongoing trend in our community, to disparage our neighbors and tear them down.

We live in a community that is plagued with poverty and addiction. According to the 2019 County Health rankings, Randolph County has a 5.4% unemployment rate and 27% of our children live in poverty.

Many work multiple jobs to make ends meet or to afford the luxury of being able enroll their children in extra-curricular activities. We have state workers that barely make over minimum wage and struggle to have a quality of life where they can afford community events such as festivals, train rides or even a night out to a restaurant.

According to Feeding America, over 4,000 people in our county experience food insecurity. But we don’t need research to tell us that because our food pantries are always low, we fill backpacks for children every week, and the Blessing Boxes empty as soon as they are filled. People are hurting. Yet in a town of over 50 churches, there are some I have heard in Town Halls refer to hurting people as “those people,” “cockroaches,” “druggies,” “low-lifes” and “evil.”

Some are using letters to the editor as their personal social media page to spread hate,

The people that are so easily discarded or make you uncomfortable in our downtown spaces, they are someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, and they are our community.

We are never going to arrest our way out of the addiction problems in our state, it will take treatment facilities, access to healthcare, compassion, and the willingness to find solutions and put them forth where we live, not in some “other” place. We can and we should do better.

Mandy Weirich

Elkins

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