Exploring Our Differences, Together

"The people I met really helped me to feel like there's a cultural community I can belong to and be accepted in outside of my current circles."

Once again, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2015, community members gathered to celebrate and work together to build a more inclusive and accepting community. Through open discussion, creative activities, and even ice breakers, we shared our insights, experiences, and built understanding. 

Here's a reflection from our Executive Director, Jeffrey Dorsey:

"The event welcomed me out of my comfort zone, just enough to interact with people in new and sometimes surprising ways: With the assistance of an ASL interpreter, I was able to have a sustained conversation with a person who is deaf for the first time. And he was funny and insightful. I witnessed people talking with a blind neighbor who they said they have never felt comfortable engaging on the bus before, and yet they see her every day! All around me I could see the invisible barriers that separate fellow human beings from one another, breaking down. Diverse people were making new friends, in a playful manner I don't often experience. I felt less afraid to make a mistake or offend someone, because we approached one another with compassion. Everyone seemed hungry for more interactions like this on a regular basis."

Check out photos from the event and see some of the images that were posted under #UnityatUP.

During the event, we did our version of The Race Card Project. Everyone was invited to share their stories about race. Some chose to read them out loud, and the community repeated their words back to them, validating their experience publicly. We invite you to participate by writing your own Six Word Story. Just follow these directions!

“I learned that I have a lot of neighbors who are committed to making a difference in our community.”

HUGE thanks to all the people and partners that made this event possible, including: Michelle King, Christiane Leach, Brian Cohen, Heather Gray, Toni Yates, Ann Lapidus, Anne Mulgrave, Food Revolution Pittsburgh, Reading is FUNdamental, Mihm’s Rentals, Repair the World, PULSE, Gays for Good, and our buddies at Creative Citizen Studios.

In addition to our own celebration, our ceramic artists were also out in the community providing hands-on clay activities at The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and at the Children's Museum!