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I will readily admit that until a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have known Jusse Smollette if he jumped up and “bit me on the buttocks” — to quote Forrest Gump. He and I don’t travel in the same circles, and I had never seen any of his film work or heard any of his music.

We were traveling through the hinterlands of the Shenandoah Valley last weekend. I was trying to keep my personal group of pilgrims guessing where they would be going next. We had spent two days learning how the other half lives at The Greenbrier — a resort near White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

I know it is almost Christmas and I feel like the Grinch writing about controversial matters during what should be the happiest time of the year, but I always write what is on my heart and this is what is weighing heavy on my heart right now.