Community Leader Spotlight: Maria Gonzalez
September 14, 2020
Category: Open Minds Respectful Voices
Tags: Community, Community-Building, Inclusion, Open Minds Respectful Voices, Respect, Testimonial,
This is part of a series of spotlights on community leaders in the Triad who have signed their names to NCCJ’s Open Minds, Respectful Voices initiative to affirm their commitment to practicing the initiative’s 5 Community Practices in their daily conversations. Here’s what Maria Gonzalez, CEO of ClubFitness Greensboro and NCCJ board member, has to say:
Why did you sign on to the Open Minds, Respectful Voices initiative, committing to the five Community Practices?
Now, more than ever, I feel the need to find ways to have courageous conversations, to listen to each other with open hearts, show mutual respect, compassion, love and care for one another. We need to work together as a community against racism, hate and intolerance.
What are you learning through your practices?
That having difficult conversations is not easy but they are necessary. There are many voices who have not felt comfortable sharing their feelings with others. We need to be more intentional on who we invite to our conversations, and how do we build trust to allow others to open up.
What do you hope happens in our community as more people sign on to the Open Minds, Respectful Voices initiative, and commit to the five Community Practices?
I hope that our community through our actions and interactions, embraces our differences, find new ways of understanding and builds the kind community we all hope to see.
What advice do you have for others who are just starting to engage in these practices?
I encourage you to expand your connections to a diverse group of people, ask questions, listen to their stories, struggles and challenges. By the way, we have a beautiful and diverse community!