Tuesday, January 14, 2014

To The People of West Virginia and Her Friends:


I'm going to follow the lead of one of my former students. The other day she posted this:

"So I've been thinking a lot and I have decided that every day for the rest of the month, I am going to devote my daily status to someone who has made a difference and impacted my life, big and small." Ashley Shade

I'm going to do the same.

My last gratitude dedication status was Thursday morning.  Thursday started as a great day; it ended with a screeching halt as Freedom Industries had irresponsibly contaminated the water source of over 300,000 West Virginians living within nine counties.  I am one of those 300,000.  

West Virginians historically have been cast in the role of the under dog.   From our majestic mountain tops to the black dust in the landscape's veins, West Virginians have had experience in almost getting  a head of the curve only to be knocked back down again. This gravitational pull knows no class system or household income. It knows not whether you are a Friend of The Mountains or a Friend of Coal. We are born and raised with an intrinsic, internal duality, a consistent struggle between our natural beauty, our natural resources, and lucrative yet cruel history that surrounds both.  It's simply something that we've grown up working to justify, debate, battle, and overcome.  It is one of the many reasons that I think West Virginians are the first to help OTHERS in moments of distress, devastation, or when facing hardships.  This is a time of no exception.  Today's gratitude status is dedicated to the people and friends of West Virginia, for you have given us your SIMPLE GIFTS of kindness, friendship, comfort, water, supplies, and hope.  

Since Thursday evening, there has been an outpouring of concern for those of us who have been directly affected by the chemical leak.  Phone calls, texts, tweets, Facebook messages, emails, care packages, and deliveries have been part of a continuous stream of support.  Friends and family from all over the state, the country, and the globe have offered up prayer, thought, money, supplies, and concern for us.  Your love and concern for those that you know and those of us that are complete strangers are so very moving, appreciated, and over whelming!  YOU have renewed our faith in humanity through your giving and grace.  YOU have  kept us hydrated.  YOU have given the kind words when there is so much negativity circulating in our drains.  YOU have called us resilient, which we are, but now I ask for another of your SIMPLE GIFT...please continue as this is not over yet.  We need to feel and be safe. Majority of us don't feel very secure and we need to gather the strength to generate real change in the coming weeks, months, and years.What you have done for us so far, and continue to do will help us make the changes that we so desperately need.  For that I give you the biggest thank you. 

Once again, from the bottom of my potentially contaminated heart, I thank you all for the gifts that you have provided the people of West Virginia.  You have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.  We hold you in our hearts and prayers of apprciation.  

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