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Hello Ocracokers, Islanders, Residents, Locals, Ocockers:
However you think of yourself, this letter is to you.
Representatives of three North Carolina non-profits will be on Ocracoke this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Nov. 6, 7 and 8).
This team of people hopes to hear from as many community members as possible and invites us to sit down during our meals at the Community Center to share our ideas, concerns, and hopes for the future. Conversations will be in both English and Spanish, to best learn from the whole community.
Their professional experience is in helping places–especially small ones that don’t have easy access to the resources of larger towns–decide how to plan together for the future. They believe that we already know what we need and are offering us an opportunity to talk about it. They are not coming to tell us what to do, but to listen and to learn what themes emerge that we may want to start working on.
After sleepless nights worrying about where everyone is going to live and feeling overwhelmed that we may not be able to figure this out on our own, I invited them to come. They found resources and time to help us. In other words, this costs Ocracoke nothing. In fact, they organized a crowd from Harker’s Island that will feed us a fried shrimp lunch on Wednesday, and they have put money into the food prep program organized by Jason Wells.
The team is made up of people who work for Blueprint, N.C., the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, and the Resourceful Communities Program of The Conservation Fund. Their focus is on sustainable planning to ensure strong communities that are economically healthy, environmentally sound and proud to feature their cultural heritage.
These organizations are connected to funders, agencies and programs that could invest in helping Ocracoke rebuild the way WE want it to be. All they are asking of us is that we show up and talk over lunch.
Everyone is welcome because everyone has a voice that matters.
I believe that we have wisdom and strength collectively. I am proud to be part of this place, and passionate about making it as good a place to live as possible. No one can do that alone. I hope to see you all at lunch at the Community Center this week.