Columbia is a destination point that is marketed for its diversity and opening to citizens of all ethic backgrounds. It is also my home. It was not my home before 2012 so my view of the external public relations is much different than what I have experienced.
Positively, the pieces of the dream are in place but the attitude of the people doesn't compliment those many pieces. There needs to be an intentional effort to make the dream of Columbia be a reality. Nobody needs to be left behind. There are many actions over the last few years that have brought shame to the idea of a tolerant and inclusive Columbia. The people who have painted this picture know who they are. They need to heal themselves and help to heal the land.
Columbia cannot be a secure place for people who are not open to everyone having a place. We must meet people where they are and help our neighbor.
Columbia must live out the public relations and marketing that attracts people to this city. We must work together to do just that.
Executive Director at Park Heights Community Health Alliance