Have you ever had an experience where you learned something about someone that changed the way you felt towards them or caused you to see them with more understanding or compassion?
As we learn about the experiences and challenges of others, we can begin to see one another from a new perspective. As we open our hearts to the people around us, we might ask ourselves, “What if their story were my story?” Learning about someone’s story can help us remember that we are so much more than the labels that we allow to divide our community.
Starting tomorrow, Provo Kindness is launching a video series entitled Portraits of Provo. These short videos will highlight the experiences of our neighbors, community leaders, and friends. We hope their stories will inspire you to find ways to more deeply understand the experiences of others. Through understanding, we can create a more connected and inclusive Provo.
We are excited to introduce you to some of the amazing individuals who are making a difference in our Provo community. These individuals discuss what belonging to a community means for them here in Provo, what their personal experiences have been, and what they wish people understood about their unique stories.
Camlyn Giddins, the Community Engagement Coordinator at Encircle, described what she has learned about belonging. She explains, “I used to think that belonging had to mean that I found people that were just like me . . . but I’ve now realized that it doesn’t have to be that way. I can belong even with someone that is very different from me but is still choosing to care about me and welcome me to that space.”
Brian Yazzie, the Diversity & Equity Coordinator for Provo City School District, spoke about diversity. He said, “I think that’s what makes a community unique is when you have such diversity that we can all learn from each other. It’s what life is all about is to try to embrace each other and to look at each other as a brother and sister.”
Leonard Bagalwa, the Founder and Executive Director at Utah Valley Refugees, expressed, “I wish we all can say, ‘let’s learn from each other.’” This is what we hope Portraits of Provo will inspire in our community.
Portraits of Provo was created to help us learn from each other, get to know our neighbors, and embrace community. As we listen to and learn from our Provo community members, we hope these experiences will inspire each of us to find ways to “cultivate a community of understanding, empathy, connection, and respect.”
You can view the Portraits of Provo videos here.