We want to be the best human beings we can be. We strive to be transformed, so we read.
We read books about leadership, personal growth, and business. We appreciate lovely fiction and poetry. We read because it’s one way we can grow and empathize with others, to see the world and our actions from a different point of view.
Essentially, we read to be better human beings who will do good work with other good humans.
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systemic racism (which we’ve benefited from) remind us that there is still much more we need to learn and understand. More than ever, we need to keep listening and learning from our Black friends, partners and neighbors.
In June, we attended the OneFargo event in Island Park. There we listened to neighbors and community members share their experiences and hopes.
After all, we are better when we truly listen to and work with each other. We are better when we make it our responsibility to seek out and lift up the perspectives of people who are Black, indigenous or people of color. It’s the only way we can start to make serious changes to our society.
One voice who is helping us learn is Laetitia M. Hellerud from West Fargo.
Her book, Being at Home in the World, Cross-Cultural Leadership Lessons to Guide Your Journey is truly transformative. As she writes, “An authentic education can help us to see beyond stereotypes, old biases, and ignorance to fine those common values every human holds and strives for in their life.”
Her words and experiences inspire us. They encourage us to do better, to be transformed.
It’s particularly exciting to read her book now because Laetitia was recently named one of 24 Bush Fellows in 2020.The Bush Foundation supports visionary leaders who have ideas for shaping better futures for their communities.
Laetitia is deeply committed to civic life in our community. A refugee from Burundi, she quickly became involved by becoming a member of the New Americans Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment. She is also a human relations commissioner for Fargo.
Still, she sees few people of color on the governing bodies in our community. As a Bush Fellow, she will build skills in community organizing and seek advanced leadership training to equip and encourage more New Americans and people of color to serve. Follow her on Twitter: @Dearlaetitia.
We will keep learning from Laetitia and others. We’ll keep reading and listening.
This is how we begin to be a better community.