As we move closer to Thanksgiving and the holidays, there is much to be thankful for this year. Unfortunately, our nation remains bitterly divided in partisan bickering with our elected leadership from both parties pointing the finger of blame. Worse is the senseless violence taking place in our communities. As I write this, another school shooting has taken place right here in the Charlotte region at Butler High School.

The recent mailing of pipe bombs and the Synagogue shootings is pure evil, but it is a symptom of a society unhinged and calling out for true leadership. While social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter can serve to connect us to friends and family with whom we may have lost touch, it also serves as a conduit to share feelings and views that should be kept out of print.

I have recently found myself “unfriending” people because I’m simply tired of their daily rants. I used to think how bizarre it was when people posted they are sad with no further commentary. Now social media is filled with hateful, divisive commentary simply aimed at hurting other people. I’m more concerned with the lessons that impart on our children and the generation that we leave our community to in the future. The school shooting is a further example that we must do something to bring our people together rather than focus on issues which tear us apart.

Against the backdrop of these trying times, we should be reminded of the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King. In the midst of the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s, Dr. King said, “The measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

The one thing we can be assured is there will be change. Challenges are brought about by that change. Today is different than yesterday, and tomorrow will be different than today.

President Ronald Reagan also understood diversity when he reminded us, “It’s not enough to be equal in the eyes of God. We must be equal in the eyes of each other.”

On Nov. 15, the Lake Norman Chamber embraces “Diversity” and recognizes those companies, businesses and individuals who promote and encourage inclusion in their business practices at our annual Diversity Luncheon held at River Run Country Club. A luncheon on inclusiveness could not be scheduled for a better time!

Michelle Murphy, vice president Diversity & Inclusion and Global Talent Acquisition at Ingersoll Rand will discuss “The Business of Belonging.” It is a message all of our business and community leaders need to hear and put into practice.

Tonight, when I hit my knees in prayer, I’ll pray that as we face each new sunrise, I hope we will move closer to the day, when we as a community, nation and people find the opportunities in our differences and the strength in our common ground. And I hope that occurs while our nation still has a prayer.

– Bill Russell

Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce

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