Reach out to help the children


To the Editor:

What grief is deeper or more hopeless than that of a child who has lost their parent?

Our government has implemented a barbaric practice of separating innocent children from their parents. This is not a partisan issue. Through this practice, innocent children are being tortured in our country on a daily basis. This is heinous. Our politicians seem unconcerned. Where is our humanity? Who is making this an issue? Who will? A judged ordered reunification, yet, hundreds (thousands?) of children continue to languish without their parents.

This practice traumatizes children and families in desperate need. The suffering they endure on a daily basis is unthinkable. Imagine your tiny child whisked away and kept from you and kept from comfort. Your very child. Imagine the distress. Imagine the hopelessness, trauma and horrific suffering. Innocent children suffer daily at our borders. They are tortured daily without their source of comfort and security, their parents.

We must make this an issue, because our leaders will not stand up and do so. Please join me in daily calls to our representatives until this outrageous practice ends. These are our children. Burr: 202-224-3154; Tillis: 202-224-6342; Meadows: 202-225-6401. We can make a difference.

Julia Simmons,



Do we have a voice in Jackson County?


To the Editor:

Over the past few months, I have been met with personal hardship – ranging from anxiety about paying bills to making it through graduate school to dealing with sickness – all amid our already fearful political climate, as well as during my first year of marriage. What to do? What can I do, alone?

I, like many other people in Jackson County who are struggling against the system, have felt hopeless to see much positive change affect what I’m going through now, this week, today. Yet, through these past few difficult months, I have found support and empowerment as a member of Down Home NC – a grassroots organization that aims for change, starting with me and others in the poor and working classes of Western North Carolina, who are used to thinking that we don’t have a voice, that our voice will not make a difference.

The reality is that we do have a voice when we come together. Down Home’s mission is to build power and a voice for poor and working folks in small towns and rural areas in North Carolina. We believe that power does not come only from money or position, but from people coming together. We believe that positive change comes from uniting our voices to be heard.

Down Home NC was founded for those of us who are dissatisfied because the system is failing to help us meet our basic needs. It exists for those of us who want to change the system, but don’t know how. That’s why Down Home is a member-led organization, a place where everyone has a voice to direct Down Home to work for the benefit of its members. It works when we come together, express what we need to see change in our community and work to make those changes together. Where Down Home has come together in other counties, our members have created positive changes for communities including increased wages, new facilities for addiction treatment and more.

Anyone here in our Jackson County community is welcome to join us in working on issues that matter most to us, such as jobs and wages, healthcare, mental health and addiction, and affordable housing.

If anything I’ve said hits home with you, I invite you to come to our next Down Home NC meeting. It will be at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sylva, near the First United Methodist Church and City Lights Bookstore. We’ll follow up on how the results of the mid-term elections affect us, talk about how to hold our newly elected officials on either side of the aisle accountable to meeting our needs, and of course we’ll also share a meal.

We can make Jackson County an affordable place to live and work. Together.

Kellie Smith,