We have a moment in this town

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

On our cover today, we feature Sam Lovelace, a woman doing something so simple yet so powerful and ever so needed.

Like many including Sam, I, too, have been feeling worn down by the divisiveness of the rhetoric in the public sphere, online, on TV. By the killing and violence that characterizes our everyday interactions and lives. By the anger, put downs and threats boiling on social media. By people taking positions without the benefit of conversations with “the other side.” We no longer talk, but we do a lot of yelling.

And it’s getting old.

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Sam woke up Tuesday morning and did something I truly admire. She’s countered all that negativity with positivity, towards total strangers no less, including those driving or cycling by, or walking up to chat.

“I was feeling overwhelmed, and helpless,” she said, “which seems to be a universal feeling now.” She went on to say that the messages of division are not helping us as a community or country right now.

“But sitting there mad or helpless is part of the problem,” she said. Her solution was rather spontaneous. She made a sign and headed to the street.

The significance of Lovelace’s message, “Do Good, Be Kind, Help One Another,” delivered with smiles and waves from the Nina Simone Plaza, directly across from the movie theatre marquee displaying the message “All Lives Matter,” was not lost on me or others who strolled up to chat with her.

Unfortunately, if I were to address the complicated legacy of Nina Simone and the implications of whose lives matter, I’d probably unleash a barrage of hate mail and vitriol, perpetuating the fighting that I’m so tired of. And I’m not sure I’d accomplish a thing. Sam even said we need to step back from the divisive rhetoric, slow it down, take a pause, cool off.

So what does Sam accomplish?

Well, it was quite hot yesterday morning; we were sweating and fanning ourselves while talking about her reasons for being there. From across the street a woman, a stranger, came bearing a glass of ice water and a peach for Sam.

What a simple gesture but what a gift!

The two began talking and sharing ideas for this “protest,” although Sam is hesitant to call it a protest, opting to call it an “encouragement.” Another woman joined the conversation. Numbers and emails were exchanged.

I think the encouragement may grow, Tryon. I hope it does. As Sam said, “We have a moment in this town…”

Let’s smile and wave at each other for no other reason than we’re kind people looking to spread a little happiness.

Let’s make friends with strangers.

Let’s do good, be kind and help one another.

Thank you, Sam.


Claire Sachse

Managing Editor