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I can’t be Silent about Sam

Commentary by Matt Mittan

(Warning: This post may tick some of you off but it might also set you free.)

We are living through a very tense time in our nation and I think it is imperative that we speak with moral clarity and candid truth.

NC has been thrust into the national spotlight again, on the issue of race, due to the toppling of the Confederate Monument on UNC referred to as “Silent Sam”.

Many who are angered over its desecration yell “it’s history, not hate” or “its about states rights, not racism”… The question we should be asking is not whether it should go back up or not but why was it put up in the first place and when?

Rather than argue for days on end, lets not guess but instead go to the source… The statue was put up in the Summer of 1913, during the Jim Crow era.

Here’s what UNC trustee and Confederate Veteran Julian Carr, the keynote speaker at Silent Sam’s unveiling ceremony said… (Taken directly from the transcript stored in the UNC Library achives.)

“The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo-Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo-Saxon race in the South. When ‘the bottom rail was on top’ all over the Southern states, and today, as a consequence, the purest strain of the Anglo-Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States — Praise God.
I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand [on Franklin Street], less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted an maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterward slept with a double-barrel shotgun under my head.”

Those are the words spoken right there at the statue, the day of its unveiling, by a trustee on UNC who was the invited keynote.

Here’s how I see it… We are at a crossroads of accountability in our country’s evolution. Are we going to rise above the darker truths of our history by owning the harshness of true evils that occurred, and become the shining light we propagate that we want to be, or will we continue to deny the ugly truths that – by our refusal to acknowledge – continue to chip away at the soul of our nation?

No… You didn’t own the slaves youselves… But your denail of the actual history and the plainly articulated sentiments behind so many of these ‘monuments’ is yours to own.

When you have been shown the truth but still subscribe to a false narative then it keeps wounds open, it breeds resentment and it marginalizes fellow citizens from discovering the common goals and shared values that exist between us, within our communities.

It’s been over 150 years since the Civil War ended. But it’s been less than an hour since I’ve seen people try to justify, defend or excuse the hate that lingers in its wake.

Rise above it. Please.

(Posted from a place of #love…)

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Up, Up and Away!

Biz_Radio_1350_Logo3 months on the air…. What’s been accomplished?

  • Create brand new, never done in Asheville before, radio station format, lineup and branding – Check.
  • Build out broadcast capability from scratch – Check.
  • Get new 10,000 watt station on the air live – Check.
  • Get live audio streaming up – Check.
  • Get Social Media and Web platforms up and running – Check.
  • Get Podcasts up and running – Check.
  • Get broad distribution of podcasts across multiple popular platforms (such as iTunes, Google Play and more) – Check.
  • Partner up to start doing community business networking events around town – Check.
  • Get live video streaming up and running – Check.
  • Feature a long parade of amazing people from across our community up on a very large media platform – Check.
  • Start promoting local advertisers to a growing listener base – Check.

Signed,
The entire crew of Asheville Business Radio, on the day of our 3 Month (young) anniversary. WOW!!!!

Thank you everyone!!! This is all yours! Celebrate! There’s still more to come!!!!

Because rate increases over the past several years weren’t enough…

BCBS wants 23% rate hike on ACA plans in North Carolina for 2018

635563407906359575-bcbsnc-logo_2513224_ver1-0(Raleigh News & Observer) Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, is proposing a 23 percent rate increase on Affordable Care Act plans in 2018, in what will be the fifth year of the federal health insurance mandate.

The steep rate request follows a 24.3 percent rate increase for this year and a 32.5 percent increase in 2016. The company’s ACA rates have more than doubled since the law made health insurance mandatory in 2014.

Read the full story HERE>

Miss me? I tapped out for a bit.

3-5-17 037I tried an interesting experiment over the past couple months. I disengaged with my website. I shut off the news. I stripped my social media feeds of all things political. I picked up my guitar and got on a public stage for the first time in forever. I wrote some new songs and poetry. I soaked myself in the lives of the people I love and immersed myself into where I was at. When I stuck my head back up I realized that nothing had really changed. Angry people were still angry. Happy people were still happy. Politicians were still splitting people apart. And good deeds were still, for the most part, being ignored by the media.

You know what I came to understand from this little pop culture hiatus? I care way too much about being present in my daily life to care about what’s dominating social and broadcast media anymore. Am I alone in this feeling? I really don’t care if I am or not. That said, I would love to engage with as many people in my community as care to engage with me in a genuine and vulnerably honest way. I find myself motivated to volunteer around town again. I’ve already agreed to a few big events over the next several weeks. I think the election season got me so jaded that I retreated to my bubble of family and friends just to maintain some semblance of sanity. It was like people didn’t know how to shut it off. All the drama was effecting my spirit.

So here’s where I’m at. I love the hours that fill my day. I love the people I encounter in my daily routine. I love the work I’m doing these days. And most of all, I just simply love. From where I sit, it seems a lot more people could use a two month unplug. If you can’t find it in yourself to do that, that’s cool. Do what feels right for you. But if you see me politely turn away and not engage, it doesn’t mean I don’t care. It means I don’t care to hit my head against a wall.

#Love

Nonverbal Boy with Autism Shares Special Bond with Deaf New Shelter Dog

connor-and-ellie-released(Good News Network) Connor Guillet may only be 6 years old, but he’s already found his soul mate in a deaf adopted boxer pup named Ellie. Since Connor is a nonverbal boy on the autism spectrum, he usually only communicates through signs and gestures. The boy’s parents found Ellie at a boxer rescue event near their home in Cocoa, Florida. When the trainers explained that they would have to use sign language in order to communicate with Ellie due to her deafness, the couple knew she would make a perfect companion for their son.

Read more HERE>