To say I am excited about THE 10 DAYS OF CONNECTION is a major understatement.

At MCCJ, our motto is, “You can’t hate someone whose story you know.” Personally, I have a long-held belief that gathering people who are different together over a meal to share their stories can be magical.

Through my work at MCCJ, I have been blessed to meet many people whose life experiences are totally different from mine and my life has been enriched in deep and meaningful ways. But still, when I invite people to my home, in most cases my guests are very much like me: racially, ethnically, religious identity, age, etc.

I love my friends and would always want to keep them close, but the best party I ever hosted was when I invited all the people I work with to join together. Everyone was different from the other…and it was a blast.

When you learn about other people’s journey, learn what it is like to walk in their shoes… the stereotypes crumble. The “other” turns out to be nothing like your image of them. Your common humanity shines through, and the differences are fascinating and expand your world. Good stuff.

I hope that we can all use this time to dip a toe into connecting with someone different. This connection can happen over a cup of coffee, a pot luck supper or at a larger event. Take a chance and find out what reward will come your way. And be sure to share it with us.

Roberta Shevin is the executive director of MCCJ.