Iyunolou Osagie asks community to stick together
Allow room to feel
In our Happy Valley town, I am hearing from individuals and groups who are feeling: emotionally raw; vulnerable; discriminated against; abandoned; and unsupported. Our situation is a result of historic events; in-place systems; and local attitudes. Most recently we’ve witnessed a hotel shooting leaving four dead and the fatal shooting of one of our young residents. No doubt, these two events, are layered in mental health issues, race, and our community’s ability to respond and react.
Research highlights just how much communities collectively feel and are negatively affected by traumatic events and we’ve had more than our share. Locally, people are speaking out at protests and government meetings. Others post defensively online and make unsubstantiated comments. Sadly, recently, we’ve also heard a city council member publicly comment about wanting to shoot construction workers for the annoyance of their loud trucks. Given our present situation, particularly in the backdrop of a national shooting crisis, such comments do not reflect our community’s values and touch on the importance of public diplomacy.
Let’s allow people the right and room to feel what they feel, have their voices heard, and continue to work/fight for needed change. As a community, we must do all we can to assure every man, woman and child that they matter, are valuable, and are safe. Now, more than ever our community needs love and to hear a voice of calm assurance, leadership and humanity. With that, eventually peace and understanding will return to our community.
Thankful for a giving community
Getting home from baseball practice and thinking you are doing your nightly routines with your three children, and then being faced with terrifying screams from the kids that their house is on fire is a moment I would not wish upon anyone. However, from the soot and ashes of that April 4 fire arose a newfound feeling of respect, caring and generosity for such a giving community. In a world full of social media negativity and drama, it is so refreshing to have learned that true humanity and empathy exist. Less than 24 hours after my children felt their world collapse with the burning of their home, all their things and memories, this community made them rise with confidence and a new sense of security. You have all embraced my children in their most dire time of need and for that, as a mother, I am forever grateful. Thank you to immediate family, neighbors who are watching our animals, Bellefonte Area Middle School and families, Benner Elementary and families, Hope Foundation, Centre County Government and families, Carnicella & Associates dentistry, Greater Buffalo Valley United Methodist Church, American Red Cross, families of Bellefonte/Benner community, which is a long list of names. The list keeps growing, so if I didn’t mention a particular group/organization or person I apologize, but know we are thankful! It is with much gratitude, words are not enough, to all that have helped in this tragic time! Thank you and bless you all!