By: Jeannie Cadarette (LNH '20)
The Black Heritage Trail portion of the day exposed us to the fascinating, under recognized feats and untold history of slavery, freedom, and heroism of NH’s black community. The exercises allowed us to get to know each other better and share a visual representation of the differing paths we all journeyed to get to this place. The various challenges, circumstances, and biases we face throughout our lifetimes shape the way we see the world and how we decide what initiative we are most passionate about. It was a humbling reminder to look past biases or our own perspectives, and to allow ourselves to truly listen when others speak about what’s important to them. One of the most poignant reminders from this part of the program session was to always learn, continually evolve, and find the ability to forgive.
It is clear that collectively, we have the power and wealth of experience to better understand how the complicated web of issues throughout our state impact one another. We also have the ability to open our minds to one another, and in some cases, change our minds based on new evidence. There is no single problem to solve, no single solution to fix what any of us feel the underlying problems are, and determining who “owns” such problems is still complicated. It is our responsibility to share what it is that we know and learn from one another with our own communities, our own leaders. We are being given the tools to do it through exposure to challenges and resources, such as the data provided to us by Peter and the Community and Consequences group. The importance of groups such as Leadership NH is that it facilitates a safe place for individuals from every region, sector, and demographic to imagine how wonderful NH can be, and work collectively toward a shared vision.
By the end of this program day, I felt inspired, engaged, and much more curious. I also felt a bit unsure about what I didn’t know, and questioned what I thought I knew about NH, but I think that was probably the point of this exercise.