Voice of the Intern: Leaning into the uncomfortable

Anna Sorenson, Journal intern

This last week, I had to have some hard conversations. I was talking to people in the community about race, the Black Lives Matter movement and diversity — or more often, a lack of diversity. At times, the conversations were uncomfortable or stressful as either I or the person I was talking with navigated what can be a difficult topic. But there was a resounding conclusion I came to after having those conversations: Just because something is hard to talk about, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about.

I understand why these conversations can be uncomfortable. They often require us to take a hard look at ourselves and our communities, and that examination can bring up some hard questions to reckon with. How are we biased? What inherent prejudices do we have? How can we be more equal and inclusive? While the answers might not always be immediately apparent, I think asking the hard questions leads to conversations where solutions can be found.

In a town like Brandon, I think we are prone to avoid conversations about race. It doesn’t seem to apply to us. But this recent movement has really shone a light on the fact that issues of race are relevant everywhere and everyone can engage in some form of dialogue about racism and diversity. It’s easy to turn off the news, disengage from social media, put what’s happening in a box labelled “Not our problem.” It’s easy to stay within our comfort zones. But growth doesn’t happen when we’re comfortable. We have to lean in to the uncomfortable moments to truly take steps forward.

There are steps that can be taken beyond conversations. There are petitions to sign, organizations to donate to and voices to amplify. But I think one of the hardest steps we can take is starting a dialogue with our friends, families and neighbors. I understand that I’m writing this from a young perspective, and there are most certainly those who will disagree with me. But I don’t believe it’s naïve to think that we have to acknowledge the local impact of what’s happening across the country. We can’t make progress if we don’t join the conversation. And that will take leaning into what makes us uncomfortable.


The Brandon Valley Journal


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