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About Randolph Reads



Newspaper series explores invisibility in our community

#8. Adam Plant embraces life as a male

#7. "I just want to be Diane"

#6. "It's like Ana Morrison doesn't exist anymore"

#5. Once invisible, Scott Smith now embraces being "a part of something"

#4. Poetry, medication, meetings help Jon Willis beat back mental illness, substance abuse

#3. Jerry Buskirk: "He carried pain and stuff"

#2. Multiple sclerosis changes Joel Jordan's Life

#1. A Constant Ongoing Battle: Donald Matthews talks about struggles African Americans face

Feel invisible? Invisibility comes in many forms. How many of our neighbors feel invisible? If you feel that way or know someone who does, and are willing to talk about it, contact Chip Womick at 626-6122 or cwomick@courier-tribune.com.

By Chip Womick
The Courier Tribune
photo by Paul Church

Have you ever felt invisible?

I have.

In my role as a reporter, I even try to be “invisible” at times, often preferring a fly-on-the-wall approach to covering a news story instead of getting knee-deep in whatever it is that I am covering for the paper.

But that is not the sort of invisibility that I mean.

I mean being ignored — or feeling as if you are being ignored — though you are standing (or sitting) in broad daylight or though you are among a group, even if you are hanging about on the periphery, not holding court in the middle of things.

I am shy by nature.

In a group, shy people tend to become “invisible.”

In that context, I have been invisible many times.

Some people, well, let’s face it, most (all?) of us sometimes react to others based on who those other people are (or who we think they are): How they look, where they live, what they do for a living, what sort of education they have, how they talk, and so on.

I have felt invisible to people who I am fairly certain knew nothing about me save for the fact that I was not “somebody.”

Sadly, if I am honest, I must admit that I have done the same thing myself.

I do not feel invisible often and if I do, I know I can take action — speak up or step forward — and change the dynamic.

I certainly do not feel invisible every day.

Some people do.

Think about it for a moment.

How many of us tend to overlook (or look past) that disheveled fellow in dirty clothes who looks as if he may be homeless?

Or the woman on crutches who walks with an unusual gait?

Or someone who does not speak English?

How about shut-ins? Or nursing home residents?

How many of our neighbors feel invisible?

Could we count them by the dozens, the hundreds — or maybe by the thousands — right here in Randolph County?

Who are they?

What could we do — maybe the question is, what should we do? — that would lead to more of our neighbors being seen and, more importantly, heard?

In the coming weeks, as part of a local initiative called Randolph Reads Invisible Man, area residents will be encouraged to read “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison. There will be get-togethers at the Asheboro Public Library to talk about the classic 1952 novel, which tells the story of an African American boy who grows into a man and who feels invisible no matter where he goes or what he does.

A series of events is being planned for September to complement the book discussions, including an art exhibit, a concert and a stage presentation based on stories of people who feel invisible in Randolph County in the year 2014.

The characters will be based on stories published in The Courier-Tribune

Do you feel invisible? Or do you know someone who does and who might be willing to talk about it?

Call (336) 626-6122 or send an email to cwomik@courier-tribune.com.

Let’s get this conversation started.

Randolph Reads • Randolph County Public Library • 201 Worth Street • Asheboro, NC 27203
336-318-6814 • www.randolphlibrary.org

© 2014 Randolph County Public Library
background image adapted from "Harlem, New York" by Ilan Costica under a Creative Commons 3.0 Unported license