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Mountain Mediation hosts this month's Community Conversation on visibility and belonging

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Mountain Mediation Center
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The Mountain Mediation Center is partnering with the Park City LGBTQ Task Force for its monthly Community Conversation Tuesday.

The topic of this month’s conversation is Visibility: A Step Towards Belonging. The hour and half talk will be held in the Park City Library’s third floor community room from 5:30 to 7 pm.

Sam Mekrut, a member of the Mediation Center’s Board of Directors and full time mediator, says while topics vary every month, the process of listening and connecting remains the same.

“The idea behind them is to really help create a sense of community and belonging,” Mekrut said. “So, we talk about a variety of subjects, from housing, to gender identity, to what it feels like to be a woman nowadays. And we use a restorative justice kind of process. So, we sit in circle, and it's an opportunity to really engage in a conversation in a unique and different way where we're not debating a topic, we're not trying to solve a problem. We're simply trying to discuss how we feel about certain issues and connect as human beings.”

Joe Urankar is a member of the Park City LGBTQ Task Force. He says everyone is invited because the wider the swath of opinions and perspectives on visibility and belonging, the better.

“For us, you know, our sexuality, or our identity isn't necessarily visible, you can't look at someone and immediately understand that they're gay or lesbian, or, you know, maybe they are not expressing their gender in a way that's authentic to them yet, you know, because they don't have that wardrobe. And they haven't done the shopping. So being seen might be physical representations, things like the street banners on Main Street. And it might be emotional representations, being able to talk about something and just be understood without having to translate yourself for other people.”

A team of restorative justice practitioners, who are also mediators, facilitate the circle, that Mekrut says can help build community and relationships.

“We develop a series of questions that allow people to relate to a topic on a personal level, and from various different perspectives. And the idea is that we have an opportunity to listen to people who may come at things from a different angle. So, the questions we ask are very open ended. So, you might answer them very differently than I might answer them. We might even not even interpret the question the same way. And it ends up being a really interesting conversation because people learn a lot about each other and about their community and how to relate to one another in a different way.”

The event is free and open to all. They do ask for people to pre-register to know how many chairs to set up.

Future community conversations planned will deal with another Olympics, access to childcare, and affordable housing.

Tough but fair, Leslie is the woman most of Park City wakes up with every weekday morning. Leslie has been at KPCW since 1990 and her years at KPCW have given her depth and insight, guiding her as she asks local leaders and citizens the questions on everyone’s minds during the live interviews of the Local News Hour.