Facing the faces of Asheville

As a community activist and artist, for the last nine months I have been learning in depth about greater-Asheville residents through the Faces of Asheville Photo Documentary Project (www.FacesofAsheville.com). I have listened to the unique stories of what has brought individuals to or kept [them] in this area, making each of us an integral part of the community at large. I have also gained great insight into the deeper issues that affect not only our personal lives, but this area’s future integrity.

Over the past decade, Asheville has revived our downtown into a lovely, cosmopolitan, culturally appreciative center for all venues of creativity and spirituality, dedicated to a healthy quality of life. Thus we have been placed on the “best of” list in nearly every syndication imaginable. Together these have brought forth many [people] relocating to find their own sense of mountain-valley harmony and home. This influx has brought with it growth and development—and often a sense of growing pains and resistance to change. However, as we all are aware, the only constant in life is change; and this trend does not look like it will halt anytime in the near future.

As Asheville moves forward in the first century of the new millennium, we definitely have the potential to create one of the most culturally creative and environmentally pro-active cities in the world. We also have the potential to turn ourselves into a gentrified population, putting at risk that which we hold most sacred: our sense of community and our magnificent homeland.

Having grown up just outside of Asheville in Buncombe County, I have witnessed many dangerous developments occurring without deeper insight into the cause and effects on our land and community. As Asheville and Buncombe County continue to develop and grow, we need someone who can bridge not only the city and county, but also the native issues with the desires of newcomers. We also need someone who can put emphasis on policy that protects the people who live and work here, including keeping our greater community a place where health and human services are easily accessible to all families.

It is for these reasons that I fully endorse and support Holly Jones to become a Buncombe County commissioner. Holly has proven herself to be a strong leader with a courageous spirit, who carries the community’s best interests in her heart. It is my belief that Holly Jones is the best person for the job, and the best person to get the jobs we need done.

— Jen G. Bowen

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