The room felt full of energy as over 85 people from all over the community joined together to discuss the Complexity of Culture and Identity on the evening of Jan. 14 at the first session of Community Conversations. The evening opened with a showing of the TEDtalk, “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Adichie (Click here to watch it.) Adichie paints a picture of the ways that stereotypes negatively impact communities through the stories people tell about each other. When the lights came up, small groups participated in facilitated discussions - reflecting on the video and thinking of ways they can make the community stronger by interrupting single stories in Eugene.
At one point a participant stood up stating, “We can only address these single stories if we truly know our history.” This was a great moment to share that the next Community Conversation scheduled for Feb. 11 will be titled, “Oregon’s Cracked Foundations: Our History of Racial Exclusion.”
Three additional conversations are planned and will take place in the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s (EWEB) Community Room (500 East 4th Avenue) at 5:30 p.m. on the second Thursdays of March, April and May. A light meal will be provided along with child care and translation or interpretive services upon request. With leadership from the Eugene-Springfield NAACP, the Community Conversations initiative is a partnership with City of Eugene, 4J and Bethel school districts, EWEB, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Lane County with the goal of building unity in the community through shared understanding and meaningful dialogue.
For more information, please contact Jennifer Lleras Van Der Haeghen, Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement, at 541-682-5619 or Jennifer.E.VanDerHaeghen@ci.eugene.or.us.