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Us: City Councilmember Barbara Henley of the Princess Anne District

What can we do in the New Year to help build inclusive communities amid a time of polarization?

“Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me.” 

BY BARBARA HENLEY

Not only are these the words that begin a beautiful song that we sing, especially at this time of year, but they are also words which describe each person’s responsibility.

The world is big. Each of us plays an important role if we are to live together successfully. There is no room for hatred or malice. 

It is incumbent upon each of us to examine the attitude that we bring to every situation, and to assure that we are approaching every issue with respect for others and with a willingness to hear with respect every side of the issue.

Our democracy is based on the precept that every individual is important and is assured the right to express her or his viewpoint without fear of retaliation or intimidation. It is when we are able to bring all sides of an issue together and genuinely give consideration to all needs and viewpoints that we are able to arrive at the best solutions.  

Certainly there are challenges. But there are also opportunities. It is when we work together, with open minds and open hearts, that we find that the opportunities are boundless and that the solutions are really possible.

Virginia Beach is a great city with many challenges but also with enormous opportunities. There is no end to the good things that we can do with — and for — our people if we work together. 

I just look at the very long list of wonderful  programs and projects already existing in our city, and I know that 2018 can be a time for successfully addressing more needs when we work together with a positive attitude of love and respect for each other.

We may not be able to solve all of the world’s problems, but we can begin with Virginia Beach. 



The Independent News posed a question to community leaders, writers and artists: What can we do in the coming New Year to help build inclusive communities amid a time of polarization? If you would like to share your own thoughts, respond to this project or even complain, please email letters@princessanneindy.com.


Henley, a farmer, represents the Princess Anne District on the Virginia Beach City Council.


© 2017, 2018 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

The Independent News

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