We are seeing unity in our community

All eyes have been on Ferguson, Missouri this past week after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer.
While the details of exactly what happened the day Michael Brown was killed are unclear, it is clear that this tragedy has steeply divided that community. Many have protested peacefully, however, some have used this young man's death as an excuse to loot, vandalize and use violence against the police.
Naturally, emotions are going to be high at times like this, but this is not the proper way to respond to a tragedy or crisis.
On the other hand, we've witnessed a better way to respond right here in Barnwell County.
After the murder of D'Andre Gleaton, 19, in Williston, allegedly by a 17-year-old, many people were angry and fed up with the violence and negative activity that keeps young people from being productive members of society.
Instead of combatting violence with violence and hate, as we've seen in Ferguson, the group of concerned residents in Williston took the opportunity to come together and collaborate on how they could help their community. Ideas were exchanged and the W-E CommUNITY Coalition was born.
In a matter of weeks, the group organized a back-to-school bash to help hundreds of area students be prepared for the new school year. Donations of school supplies were collected, volunteers were assigned tasks, and activities were arranged.
This is no small feat, but the group showed that great things can be accomplished when people come together peacefully to talk and work toward a solution. The group is now meeting monthly to continue to help their community.
A similar movement was born in the city of Barnwell several months ago to help empower the city's youth.
Like W-E CommUNITY Coalition, City Wide Youth Empowerment was started by a group of residents seeking change.
The group's first mission was organizing a huge communitywide back-to-school bash, instead of having multiple events sponsored by different groups. This past weekend, donated backpacks and school supplies were distributed to more than 900 children and teens. It's always great seeing the community coming together to help others and better utilize resources.
Members say Saturday's event was just the beginning of their efforts to help the youth. They welcome others to join their cause in order to make an even bigger impact.
Also on Saturday, our community saw 10 churches come together for the Praise the Lord Music Festival. This new event brought together a variety of music styles and tunes, though they were all aimed at praising God.
We applaud those in our community who are making the effort to improve Barnwell County and make it the best it can be. Working together can only help us, not hurt us.
We need unity in our community. That's our hope for Barnwell County, Ferguson and every other community across the world.
How will you make a positive difference?