Looking to encourage diversity and create a welcoming community, the Gig Harbor Open Hearts group is holding its first community meeting designed to begin a conversation around diversity in the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula community.
“A lot of us in conversations were expressing interest in talking about the level of diversity in Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula,” said Robyn Denson, a volunteer organizer and one of the group’s founders. “A lot of us were expressing concern because there seems to be a certain lack of diversity. We really starting thinking, it’s one thing to talk about things like this …but we really wanted to get down to some real action times to see what we could do to make sure that our community is welcome to all.”
Denson added that, as a parent, she wants her children exposed to a range of diversity in religion, thought, experiences and backgrounds, a sentiment that she has found echoed with other parents and community members.
A lot of us in conversations were expressing interest in talking about the level of diversity in Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula. A lot of us were expressing concern because there seems to be a certain lack of diversity.
Robyn Denson, volunteer organizer and founder of Gig Harbor Open Hearts
“We decided that we needed to broaden the conversation so that we could include anyone who was interested,” she said. “This is just meant to open the dialogue.”
The first meeting is expected to gather many people from Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula, Denson said, and is intended to begin discussing ideas and actions that can be taken to make the area more welcoming and open.
Denson, a local realtor and owner of Home Base Washington, said that future meetings would be held monthly and the plan is to have them more focused on specific areas or topics, such as schools or business.
Also, while the first meeting will not feature a guest or keynote speaker, future meetings likely will have an expert to come and talk, offering ideas and solutions.
People here do have huge big hearts and I do think this is an issue that, on a national level, has been talked about a lot. In our roles as parents or neighbors, what can I do to make sure that everyone feels welcome.
Encouraging conversation in the community and active engagement by citizens is a major goal of the meeting. Another goal is to steer away from complaining or negative talk and toward more solution-oriented conversations, Denson said.
“This meeting we are really carefully formatting it so that it’s not just negative,” she said. “This meeting is about solutions.”
So far, notice of the meeting is spreading through social media, and Denson has received a lot of positive feedback from the community.
“People here do have huge big hearts, and I do think this is an issue that, on a national level, has been talked about a lot,” she said. “In our roles as parents or neighbors, what can I do to make sure that everyone feels welcome — we just want to make sure that this whole area, Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula, has this perception of being welcoming.”
Anyone interested in the group or being part of the Open Hearts email list can contact Denson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gig Harbor Open Hearts
The first Gig Harbor Open Hearts meeting will be held from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Tuesday (April 4) at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, located at 4424 Point Fosdick Drive in Gig Harbor.
The next meeting will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. May 2 at the Gig Harbor High School library, located at 5101 Rosedale Street in Gig Harbor.