Community Conversations Program Proposed


Hope Burns, director of Buffalo Trace Children’s Advocacy Center talked to the Human Rights Commission on Thursday about a program she would like to bring to Maysville.

Community Conversations Bridging Stories, developed by Hakim Oliver of Cincinnati, brings together individuals from all over the community to share their experiences and perspectives with the goal of fostering respect for differences.

“People are pooled together to listen and hear other people’s stories, and he said it’s intended to facilitate positive intergroup interaction and discussion recognizing individuals are different from others and how together we create a community,” she said. Those could be stories about disability, gender identity, race, religion or other differences.

One of the speakers at the Mason, Ohio event was a former Bengals player who spoke about growing up in LA and his experiences there with gang life and his transition into sports and being a family man. A woman shared growing up with a family member in the KKK and how she was treated when she dated and had a baby with someone who was not the same color as herself. There was a couple from the community who spoke about how they had believed that they weren’t racist, but as they reflected they realized that they did have some biases.

“Mason signed on to that because they felt it aligned with their mission for building a culture of wellness in the community by helping elevate morale, respecting differences, and giving a voice to the community,” she said.

“This is something that we are focused on at the college,” said Millicent Harding-Thomas, Diversity Director at MCTC, “which is just building the relationships and trying to give everybody an opportunity to hear everybody’s story so you do have a better understanding of the different cultures. This fits right into what our mission is and what we are working towards.”

 Burns said that Oliver hoped to bring the four-part program to Maysville this summer. In the planning stage, she said she is now looking for a location at which to hold the program. Harding-Thomas offered use of auditorium and classroom facilities at the community college.

Commission Chair David Green said that it sounded like a great program, and the Commission agreed to support and promote it.