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CATALYSTS FOR CONVERSATIONS In certain African communities, there are baobabs that provide a central location for important conversations. A baobab 10 is an extremely large tree. It is full of natural resources that enable people to create staple items such as paper and fabric in order make a living for themselves and their families. It is a source of water, food, and shelter. Because of the size of the tree, it is also used as a community gathering place for learning and worship. Even in harsh times, the tree is built to last and continually provides essentials for living in the African desert. Because of that, it is often called the “Tree of Life". Photo Credit: Dudarev Mikhail ROAR! THINK ABOUT THIS AFRICAN PROVERB: “TRUTH IS LIKE A BAOBAB TREE; ONE PERSON’ S ARMS CANNOT EMBRACE IT.” 11 Truth takes on many forms and some of our truest stories have the rawest emotions attached. Knowing this makes it easier to filter out the unfamiliar or to avoid what makes us uncomfortable. Although it is possible to quickly see and understand someone else’s point of view, sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand other people’s ideas and experiences. Yet in doing so, we avoid being blind to reality and we become more aware of the common roots we share. Every struggle has a story of its own. The outcome is what usually determines if it is ever told. The more realistic we are with our perspectives about the people and places around us, the more we can begin to fully respect ourselves and others. Moving society forward is an ongoing effort that requires ongoing dialogue. These conversations can be uncomfortable. They also can spark some of the necessary changes in our communities that make them stronger and more welcoming. THE TIGER & THE TORCH Page | 14

ROAR! THOUGHTS AND WORDS SHAPE ACTIONS. ANGELA DAVIS SAID, “WE BAOBAB 2.0 HAVE TO TALK ABOUT LIBERATING MINDS AS WELL AS LIBERATING SOCIETY.” 12 When it comes to Black history, especially local Black history, it’s hard to beat the history of the community being told by the people who have made the place their home. It is often said, “The pen is mightier than the sword” 13 but now thumbs