I’m writing this letter because I felt compelled to write how I feel about the interlocking crises that are affecting the Asheville area, the country and the world.
My dad is a musician and introduced me to Mountain Xpress while I was a student at UNCA. To think that almost 12 years later, I would actually see a soup kitchen for musicians at the civic center sponsored by AshevilleFM. Coupled with a pandemic that has killed more people since World War I and a city that cares more about tourism than the lives of its own residents, those times when I was a freshman now seem so long ago. And even then, I had to deal with the worst recession in 80 years when I was 18.
To understand my perspective, you have to realize 9/11 happened when I was 11 years old. And since then, it’s felt like this society has gone downhill ever since. The Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the 2008 Great Recession, for-profit health care, the election of Donald Trump, the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. and now the worst pandemic of modern times combined with racist police violence and a new Great Depression.
With all of these things that have happened, how can the “important” people keep ignoring these problems while the majority are considered disposable? I’ve learned very early on that my life and others’ mean nothing to the powerful, and the only things that matter to this country are power, profit and self-gain, no matter how many die or get hurt.
So why do I still care? Because fighting for a better life is sometimes all you have. And at the end of the day, you don’t fight to win. You fight because it’s the right thing to do.
— Justin Reid