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The #100LoveNotes Project: Drawing Inspiration From Grief

MONDAY, JAN. 23, 2017

Credit John D. Simmons / The Charlotte Observer

We hear about the power of love notes from Hyong Yi, who has been spreading those notes to strangers since his wife’s death.  It started in Charlotte, but has now gone global. Mike Collins talks with Yi about his love story.

Hyong Yi is living the life he didn't expect. "I had not planned to be the poster child for love in the city of Charlotte," Yi told Charlotte magazine last fall.

This status was born out of pain. In 2014, Yi's wife, Catherine Zanga, died of ovarian cancer. Rather than give in to the grief, the widowed father of two began writing a series of love notes to Catherine. The notes read like a conversation, chronicling their relationship. Some are funny, others are achingly emotional.

On the first anniversary of Catherine's death, Yi and his children stood on the Square at Trade and Tryon and handed those notes to passersby, hoping it would inspire them to write similar messages to their loved ones. "Everbody has a love story," says Yi, a former assistant Charlotte city manager who recently took on the position of director of innovation and sustainability.

The gesture echoed around the world, and Yi continues to advocate using love as an uplifting force, both on a personal and community level.

A book compiling the notes, The #100LoveNotes Project, was released this month. It includes illustrations of the notes by 17 artists.


Hyong Yi, director of innovation and sustainability, City of Charlotte; author, The #100 Love Notes Project: A Love Story (@CLTLoveGuy)

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