Part II: Describe North Carolina

Esse quam videri: to be rather than to seem

Vast mountain ranges and breathtaking beaches with crisp blue waters. Diehard basketball fans cheering for the blues and the red. A wealth of universities to learn engineering, law and medicine. National attention on the bathroom bill.

"A state of contrasts. ...Religious traditionalism and ambiguous agnosticism; old money and new money and no money; white collar and blue collar and no collar; white and black and Hispanic and Asian; armed-at-all-times and complete disarmament; staunchly heteronormative and LGBTQ positive; all coexisting and occasionally intermingling and interacting." –Nathan

"A state of contrasts. ...Religious traditionalism and ambiguous agnosticism; old money and new money and no money; white collar and blue collar and no collar; white and black and Hispanic and Asian; armed-at-all-times and complete disarmament; staunchly heteronormative and LGBTQ positive; all coexisting and occasionally intermingling and interacting." –Nathan

Baloch simplifies it to "an ever-changing state." Olverson considers North Carolina to be "a state of possibility."

Neptune says the state motto represents North Carolina.

"We allow our actions to speak for us," Neptune said.

“"To be rather than to seem. From the jump, North Carolina out of the gate, we’re not going to talk about it. We’re going to do it."

Olverson said one of the things that sets North Carolina apart from other states is its potential provided by a history of innovation.

South Topsail Beach, North Carolina 

South Topsail Beach, North Carolina 

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University

Appalachian Mountains

Appalachian Mountains

"Between the mountains and the sea, it has top universities, amazing talent, and an innovative culture," Olverson said. "The backdrop is set. However, the most exciting part about North Carolina is the possibility that lays in its future. Across the state, legislation encourages businesses to move here and individuals to start new ventures. North Carolinians are allowed and encouraged to be creative and to build. The urban centers are also especially welcoming of outsiders to participate in efforts to build and create and mold North Carolina into a new beacon in the South."

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For Blackburn, North Carolina is home, despite some of its downfalls.

"I went around a lot of different parts of states," Blackburn said. "I did hiking and really got into different areas, but the longer I was away from it, the more I wanted to be here. It just felt like home. I’m kind of invested in that, even though the state has done some things that have kind of embarrassed me, it’s still not enough for me to be like ‘Alright I’m out of here, I’m going to Canada.’ I’m just kind of like ‘Hey it’s the creepy uncle that we got to deal with at Christmas.’ I know it’s not going to last forever."

Zainab Baloch

Zainab Baloch

Baloch said she feels similarly about North Carolina’s deep political divide that often attracts national attention. She knows the state values diversity, however, because her Pakistani parents were welcomed when they chose to settle down in North Carolina.

"You might know us as the bathroom state," Baloch said.

"We don’t care that much about bathrooms. I’ll say we’re a state with a very difficult and tough political situation. And it’s very unique to our state, because you have such progressive cities and progressive people throughout the state and then you have these mandates that just aren’t reflective of everyone, and I think explaining to someone else that 'Yeah, North Carolina, that’s there but you’re going to be able to come to a state and a city that embraces you, and you feel very at home.'"

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Olverson said the political climate can often distract from what North Carolina has to offer.

"Political arguments sometimes cast a shadow over this potential," Olverson said. "People from other states only see the state headlines. However, if you only look at the political news, you miss out on discovering the amazing, talented and energized citizens of North Carolina whose voices and actions drown out the political din.

"North Carolina is great for what it is, but it's even more compelling for what it can become. And for those looking to move here, we are open to you taking part in crafting that future."

Neptune stressed North Carolina isn’t perfect, but the state "gives birth to ideas and then turns it to action."

"There’s a lot to be proud of in this state," Neptune said. "We have been champions. We’re human beings. We’re going to make mistakes. God bless us."


More in this series

Issue NC