Our youth need love and guidance instead of harsh judgement and rejection

April, 2018

I have been an appreciative resident of West Virginia for most of the past 25 years. We pioneered wireless communication through the founding of Cellular One, which eventually merged into AT&T system.

Throughout these years, with a very few exceptions, I have witnessed the integrity, open minded acceptance of all without prejudice, and a heart based community connection with the people I have encountered and have been acquainted with.  My company was successful because of the hardworking dedicated employees who supported us and a long list of happy customers who patronized our wireless services without prejudice and almost always with kind acceptance, despite the racial, cultural and ethnic difference of my own background as an immigrant to this country. With deep gratitude from the proceeds of sale of my company my family and I initiated One Foundation to serve the young leaders and entrepreneurs who were creatively empowering new initiatives and enterprises to serve the economic, welfare, educational interest of our communities in Southern West Virginia as well as the rest of Appalachia. As we serve we learn, and as we learn we further appreciate the roots of these people who are committed to their cultural heritage with forbearance despite the decades of abuse by exploitive practices which have left our people poor, our environment wounded, and our resources polluted.

 

I was grieved to learn about the recent withdrawal of funding from a program to provide badly needed support for our youth regardless of their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. I would like to make it clear that while our Foundation participated in the initial funding based on the interest of a respected employee, the Foundation management was not involved in the decision process or even consulted on the matter of reasons to discontinue funding. We are here to serve and unify our communities, tend the causes of poverty and scarcity, to partner with leaders who care and seek the light as to the roots of suffering and separation and tirelessly bring merciful solutions, in goodness and without prejudice, in line with the true teachings of all religions and enlightened belief systems. We partner with many projects and programs to empower the youth of our communities with a sense of community spirit and compassionate acceptance and respect for the whole creation and its diverse variegated manifestations.  At the same time we also subscribe to that we have learned from our communities to be respectful and tolerant of diverging views and coexist with those who do not see the way we do. Beyond the stories our minds maintain an attachment to, we are all human, with hearts that love, with positive contributions to our families and communities. If there will be any change in the mentality of those who believe, it will only be by seeing the positive examples and the results of the activities and services which are based on goodness, care, respect for freedom of choice, justice, and peaceful nonviolent resistance. This has been the way we have tried, while we aspire to improve and recognize our own imperfections as human.

 

I see the recent conflicts around the events surrounding our youth who need love and guidance instead of harsh judgement and rejection, as an invitation for us to openly discuss these issues and seek more light and understand deeper the roots of our separation within our own communities. I feel fortunate to be invited to this communication with plenty questions of my own, with curiosity and desire to learn and find ways to reach out better and tend the needs and heal the hurts and pain of our neighbors and fellow communities.

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