Letter – Surry should talk about race

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Division is growing, and leadership is in denial. For our community to thrive, we cannot present differing ideas, then run to our separate corners and declare it is because of our race. 

Recently in Surry County, budget discussions between county administration and elected officials ended with such assertions. If it is indeed racism, our elected officials should lead, and open the conversation. 

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No matter who you are in our community, I am fairly sure that many feel that we sometimes are treated differently, unkindly or not accepted because of our race. We need to have conversations on the issue and develop a community in which intolerance is not tolerated. Despite all we hear locally and nationally, there are communities that have these conversations and develop social norms that support tolerance for everyone. It is these communities that thrive. 

Surry County’s population has declined for a long time. Our county is now the lowest populated county in Virginia that does not border West Virginia (Bland, Craig, Bath and Highland). We citizens have achieved this distinction in spite of being surrounded by growing localities. We must embrace change and listen. If this division in our community continues and county leadership does not improve and open the discussion, our county will continue the decline while other localities grow.


Michael Drewry