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We are Charleston Strong

This past week, our city was rocked by a terrible act of violence. Over the next few weeks, our town will hold nine funerals and there has been an amazing outpouring of generosity, support, and love from within our community.  Did you hear about the 10,000 people who gathered together and crossed the Ravenel Bridge to show their support? It truly was an incredible sight to see.

Our Battery soccer fans flew their flags at half-mast, started the game with a moment of silence, and passed around donation buckets, raising more than $900 for the victim’s families during the game. Plus, there are numerous local restaurants that are donating their proceeds in support, as well. The front door of the Mother Emmanuel church has since been covered with notes of love and encouragement, ribbons and flowers. The outcome of all this has been overwhelmingly positive and heartfelt for us all of whom call Charleston our home.

Charleston Strong

This beautiful little girl is one of our pediatric dental patients; standing on the steps of the Mother Emmanuel Church. Her picture, an act of love, has since gone viral. We are so proud of her courage and unconditional love towards those affected by this senseless tragedy. So, what can we tell our children? How do we help them cope with the senselessness? How do we begin to talk to our children about loss and fear?

All Lives Matter

Maybe the larger lesson, for all of us, is in respecting the individuality of every one. Our differences are not something to be afraid of. Our differences make this country what it is – a melting pot for all sorts of cultures and nationalities. These are the things that make our nation strong.

As I talk to my own children about this past week’s events, I want to focus on what respecting another human life looks like; I want to focus on what it means to truly stand and support others in need of our help, and I want to focus on how important our reaction to sad or frightening events truly is. Standing up for those in need changes everything.

Those nine families will never be the same. Yet, I don’t think Charleston will be the same again. Hopefully, our city will grow in great ways as a response to the senseless violence.

It All Starts With a Smile

In the wake of these senseless tragedies, we look around at our families and neighbors and realize we have so much more in common with one another than we realized. Sometimes, the smallest gesture, a smile or a hug, can make all the difference in someone’s day. As of June 26th, the city of Charleston has raised $691,006.00 to help the families of the nine victims.

If you would like to help, please donate here. And remember, positive change starts with a smile.

The Busy Mom

~Cullan Pagenkopf