I walked into the panel event today not knowing too much about rural development, particularly in the United States. I had the impression that us Americans did not have any issues with this other than the natural disasters that affected us. Theresa Isley from Family Violence and Rape Crisis center in Siler City, NC talked about the hardship that people in her community have been facing, particularly her family.
Theresa pointed out that she is currently the only one in her family that lives in the town, is working. In the town jobs are limited and there is no public transportation, so if your family doesn’t possess a vehicle then getting to the grocery store becomes a mission. When she was talking you can hear the disappointment with the economy and the country but yet the dreams of a better future. She mentioned that the people in the town want to hold their head up with dignity, they did not ask to be “disenfranchise”. Hearing such things opened my eyes because as I mentioned before I did not think that there were places like this, in which Americans are struggling as if it was a 3rd world country. America, a place a where people take pride in being a powerhouse country is still facing such issues that Theresa pointed out during the panel event.
An interesting point that was mentioned while she was talking about the towns’ situation is that the kids who attend college end up leaving the town upon graduation and not returning home. She pointed this out because as educated individuals the college graduates are capable of improving the community, but rather than doing so they are living in other communities. The main issue that I grasp from her speech is unemployment, how much it is affecting the lives of those in her town and the hardships for the kids growing up.