Conversations and connections change perspective

Mary Jo Nash,
Oakland, CA

The one connection we all have is that we are human.
I am lucky because when I was pretty young I was put in a group where I was the minority and I think in a small way that changed my perspective in life. I grew up in Portland, Oregon in a neighborhood that was mostly white. When the older kids went off to swim class one summer day, my neighbor took me with her to a school where she was doing some volunteer work. It turned out that I was the only white kid at this summer camp and all the other kids were black. I was a shy little kid at the time and any new situation made me a bit nervous. I felt awkward and out of place when I first arrived because I did not know any of the kids, however, we quickly started working together on an art project and I had a really good day. I don’t remember anyone talking to me about that experience in what one would call a “teachable moment” today, however, the experience stuck with me. I have found that some of my strongest connections happen when I take the time to get to know people who appear to be different than me on the outside. There are always connections to be found that lie beneath the surface if you take the time to start a conversation.


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