Changing the Channel from ME to WE
If you didn’t make time last week to attend one of the Converge: E Pluribus Unum performances, you missed out. The original play, based on over 50 interviews with our students, our staff and our community members, told stories of struggle, loss, triumph and hope. The playwright explored the difficult themes of food insecurity, homelessness, foster care placement, addiction, violence, poverty, suicide, transgenderism and cultural isolation through the eyes of teachers and students. As I looked around the auditorium at the faces of the audience, I could see that this was new information to many of them. When they spoke during the talk-backs at the end of the play, many admitted that they had no idea that these are issues right here in River City. And that was the point. Through the ancient art of storytelling, we were asked to open our minds and hearts. I think it worked.
The trick is to take this spark and make a movement. A documentary film about Converge will be released in May at a public forum so we can continue the conversation. I’m already looking forward to it and I hope you participate. I’m also looking forward to the No More Violence Week, April 1-5, where we can focus on topics that run parallel to Converge. I’m looking forward to these community conversations to start, to continue, and to spark action.
I’m hopeful that the closing lines of Converge are starting to echo across Great Falls, “Listen, listen, listen.” The actors asked us to listen, without judgement, to other’s stories. They asked us to listen, to learn and to change our thinking. I’m hopeful we can change the channel from ME to WE, from MINE to OURS, from YOU to US.
Converge has reminded us that we belong to a community and that means we should be joining hands, minds and yes, dollars, for the common good. By living in a community, we have responsibilities…to each other and to the next generation. No one understands that responsibility more than you. Thanks for your devotion to our kids, our community and our future. I’m listening for the winds of change and I hope you are too.
Take care. Be safe. Stay well.