"A united and resilient community where everyone belongs and everyone thrives."
That was the message that closed this year's Live United Celebration; a powerful vision and call to action centered around collaboration and partnership. And what does it take to achieve an all-encompassing community vision such as this? You and other like-minded individuals and organizations.
There's no denying that our community faces challenges and that these challenges are exacerbated by the lack of — and in some cases, an unwillingness to even recognize — racial equity. However, that doesn't mean they're insurmountable.
In his speech, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County President and CEO, Dan Leroy spoke about each of us being a piece of the puzzle; that every piece is needed, important and belongs. If we are to truly address the causes and consequences of poverty in our community, each of us must be willing to stand firm, raise our voice and join together in committing our time and financial resources. Nothing short of this will bring about the systemic community-wide change we envision.
We hope this is the message each of you took home from this year's Live United Celebration. We would like to thank Millhouse Logistics, Duke Energy Progress, Lenoir Rhyne and Johnson Price Sprinkle for sponsoring this year's event. We would also like to once again congratulate this year's award winners — your engagement serves as a reminder to us all of what community leadership looks like. Thank you!
Lastly, we'd like to thank the students, parents and teachers who shared their stories and experiences this year.