Letter from the Editor

You matter.

That is what the rock that I almost tripped over in downtown Bethlehem last week told me. (Stay with me here.) There it was, in the middle of the sidewalk, proclaiming the message that someone had painted on it in orange and purple. Two words: you matter. It was a seemingly simple but incredibly important sentiment, created by a complete stranger, that physically forced itself into my life. I don’t know whether or not it was placed there with intent, but for whatever reason, I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Not the rock per se, but the importance of reminding both ourselves and each other that we are valuable.

If you’ve been on any major highways in the Lehigh Valley this year, you’ve probably noticed the ArtPop billboards (page 12) featuring art instead of advertising. This artistic competition that offers local artists tremendous free exposure for their work is our community’s way of rallying behind the local creative minds, especially in a world of underfunded art programs and artists, and saying, you matter.

In Easton, the nonprofit ProJeCt (page 26) empowers underprivileged and underserved members of our community with literacy programs, GED prep classes, and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs so that they have some essential tools to work their way out of poverty. This programming is our community’s way of supporting the residents who may have not been privileged enough to have had some of the opportunities that many of us take for granted and saying, you matter.

Across the pond—no, the other one—a group of Australians started growing out their facial hair in November of 2003. Dubbed “Movember,” the tradition (page 60) is meant to raise awareness about men’s health, specifically testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and mental health disorders. The people in our community who participate in this now-global movement is their way of saying, you matter.

If you haven’t yet crossed paths with this rock downtown, let me pass along the message to you. You matter.

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