"Love one another and you will be happy. It is as simple and as difficult as that." - Michael Leunig.
The day after MLK Day, January 16, 2018, was the National Day of Racial Healing. It was established in 2017 by U.S. leaders to focus on:
- Finding ways to discover our common humanity, yet also celebrating the diversity that makes our communities vibrant,
- Acknowledging that there are still racial divisions in America that must be understood, overcome and healed,
- Engaging all races, ethnicities, religions and identity groups to communicate and create a common basis of understanding, caring and respect.
To honor these aims, Newport Way Librarians created a self-directed, table-top activity designed to encourage our patrons to work together to create something beautiful - a mandala filled with peaceful and loving words. Providing a space and activity for people to sit, reflect and create together is a simple yet powerful concept.
Last year's self-directed jigsaw puzzle activity also created an opportunity for developing a sense of community. We witnessed all ages and nationalities sitting together, working out the puzzle. Sometimes there was conversation, sometimes only congenial silence as participants moved the pieces around, looking for the perfect fit. After working together towards the same goal, patrons left the library with a newfound sense of connection.
Newport Way Library continues to provide activities and programs that will promote the goals of the National Day of Racial Healing. In February, we begin a series of monthly programs called Connection Cafe: Skill for a Well Balanced Life. Marcia McReynolds, co-manager of the City of Bellevue's Neighbor Mediation Program teaches you techniques for creating connections and building community at home, work and in your neighborhood. Each workshop is interactive, fun and thought-provoking. Workshops are scheduled to build skills incrementally; however, you can attend one without the others.
- Thursday, Feb 15, 6:30pm - The Art of Listening: Becoming practiced at the way you listen to others will dramatically improve your focus and your relationships.
- Thursday, March 15, 6:30pm - Resiliency Skills: Learn techniques to build inner strength and optimism that will help you weather life's storms.
- Thursday, April 19, 6:30pm - Cross Cultural Communication: Understand and communicate more effectively with people from other cultures, particularly between "I and We cultures.
- Thursday, May 17, 6:30pm - Challenging Conversations: Develop a toolkit of skills to employ when discussing difficult topics or differences of opinion.
Join us as we strive to create a better world, filled with peace, love and understanding. It starts with us. We can learn together.