There are a number of difficult issues facing our community as we look to the future of our downtown. A friend sent me a post recently in which a local activist asked, “Think of Julian Price; what would he do?”
I met Julian soon after he came to Asheville. We worked on a project together in 1991, and he and Pat Whalen hired me to work for their newly created company, Public Interest Projects, at the beginning of 1992. I worked with Julian for many years, and this is what I think Julian would do. Julian would listen.
Julian never believed he had all the answers, and he listened and learned and questioned and considered information from all sides. Julian was honest. The world is complicated, and we each have a unique perspective. Julian would not tell half-truths or create his own facts or twist information to push his agenda. Julian was respectful. Julian did not believe it was necessary to demonize those who didn’t agree with him. He simply worked harder to make his case. Julian didn’t need to die on every hill. Julian realized that the perspectives and needs of others should be honored as well, and that compromise was often the best solution.
Asheville has to do better. The “end justifies the means” approach is unacceptable. We have to stop misrepresenting opposition views and vilifying those who don’t march in lockstep with us. We have to start listening — openly and respectfully. And then we have to step up and personally contribute — our money, our time, our energy. To paraphrase JFK, “Ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community.”
Julian is no longer here; it is up to us. Think of Julian Price; what will you do?
— Karen Ramshaw