Real Charlotte: Everyday humans share unfiltered thoughts on refugees, addiction and the arts

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Real Charlotte is a monthly series highlighting everyday humans that live in Charlotte. The people are what make this place special. Through this series, we hope to show you the successes, struggles, goals and dreams of Charlotteans. Follow along as we meet them on Instagram.

On how the refugee community is feeling in the current political climate: “So, first and foremost, the refugee community is nervous. And so we are so happy that these doors are open and people trust that they can come here and get information. So trying to keep the staff knowledgeable and up to speed has been tricky. But people are just nervous where this is all going to settle out and what it’s going to mean to their family members back home. But secondly, and maybe more importantly, is just the outpouring from our community. My phone doesn’t stop ringing. My inbox is loaded. We’ve had people who want to donate anything you can imagine. We’ve had people call to say can they donate soap. Can they donate stuffed animals. Can they come here and sweep. Can they do data entry. I’m so sorry of the circumstances but it’s amazing to watch our city be honestly welcoming and try to be helpful. It’s been overwhelming. Overwhelming. I wish everybody could see that.”

Rachel Humphries, Executive Director at Refugee Support Services. Traveler. Caring. Outgoing.


On sharing his story of overcoming a heroin addiction on national television: “I honestly didn’t remember having that interview. Those interviews happen when they happen. Sometimes it’s after a challenge and you’re exhausted and you’re emotional. When I saw it I was like, ‘Oh OK, there it is.’ Then my social media blew up. People were like, ‘Holy shit – we didn’t even know.’ I don’t regret doing it or saying it. I think it’s a very important part of my history, coming up in restaurants. It’s out there. It’s everywhere. It can definitely be a cancer in this industry. For me, I was able to overcome it and great things happened. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on social media from people just thanking me for sharing or asking for advice. I’ve also aligned myself with some people in Charleston to help in any way that I can. With the Top Chef visibility, I wanted to do something good with it and so helping people in any way that I can has been really important to me.”

– Jamie Lynch. Executive chef, 5Church. High-energy. Creative. Loyal.


On what the arts mean to him and our society. “It’s a freedom of expression. It’s a time to actually get away from the chaos in the world and establish a new world. You’re able to freely express your thoughts, your emotions, your feelings. At the same time, you hope that somebody can relate to you through art — so you have that silent connection. On social media, it’s easier to communicate art globally. You can meet somebody you didn’t know existed across the world and say, ‘Wow. I really appreciate your art. It really spoke to me.'”

Kendrick David. Printing Technician at Wells Fargo. Laid-back. Outgoing. Goofy.

Photos: Sallie Funderburk

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