Everyone has a story to tell. Our stories make us who we are and our stories connect us. They create community and help us find our way through life together.
Peter Forbes, co-founder of the Center for Whole Communities said, “Stories help us imagine the future differently. Stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people, and open us to the claims of others… Telling stories is our best hope of reflecting the kind of world we want to live in and, therefore, gives us hope of creating it.”
Through stories, we share passions, fears, sadness, hardships, and joys, and we find common ground so that we can connect and communicate. Stories provide a timeless link to those who came before and those who have yet to come. The story of who we are today as a community, city, town, and county has been shaped by the melding of those stories lived throughout our history.
And to understand exactly who we are and how we’ve arrived at any given point in time, each and every story must be told — the good, the bad, the heartbreaking, the ugly, the beautiful.
Last week we shared within our Black History Month graphic the faces of men and women who have helped shape Blount County through the stories they have lived. Just as Black history is American history, their stories are our stories and it’s time to share those stories so a part of our history is not lost.
“It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it… We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free… But one thing is certain…. If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright… So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left…. We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover… And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful…. When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid…. The new dawn balloons as we free it… For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
– excerpts from Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb”