Identity, difference, and the stories that shape our lives

The Stronger Together Series is built on a simple truth: we all have a story. For some in our community, the story is one of belonging. For others, it’s more complicated. Through these events, we want to create a safe place for honest conversations about identity, difference, and belonging in Newaygo County.

With each event, we have four main goals:

  • Create a safe space for individuals to share their stories
  • Amplify marginalized or overlooked voices
  • Encourage listeners to consider perspectives other than their own and increase cultural understanding
  • Explore the ways our differences enhance our community and ultimately make it stronger

We invite you to watch this brief video for an overview of the topics we’ve covered so far. Then, explore the topics in more depth with replays, study guides, and more below.


Beautifully Different | November 5, 2020

During our first virtual event, we were joined by authors and former Newaygo County residents Razel Jones and Daniel Abbott. Razel and Daniel—who are also brothers-in-law—shared excerpts from their collaborative memoir Wounds and spoke about race, growing up in Newaygo County, learning to navigate difficult conversations, and appreciating differences.

Watch recording
Read a recap of the event
To receive a copy of the Wounds study guide, contact us at 231.924.5350.

A Community For All Ages | February 25, 2021

In February, we welcomed an intergenerational panel of local residents to talk about the challenges younger and older people face in our community and how age can impact our sense of belonging. Panelists shared their experiences with ageism and stereotypes, the importance of intergenerational programs, and what gives them hope for a more age-inclusive society.

Watch recording
Read a recap of the event
Check out Ashton Applewhite’s TED Talk on ageism

Life in the Margins | April 22, 2021

Our third event explored the realities of poverty in Newaygo County. We heard data and updates on work at the state level to address poverty from State Representative Scott VanSingel. Then, a panel of local residents spoke candidly about their own experiences and misconceptions and stigmas they have faced.

Watch recording
Read a recap of the event
Learn more about Circles Newaygo County

Unpacking Hispanic/Latinx Culture | September 30, 2021

The fourth event in our Stronger Together Series explored what it means to be Hispanic/Latinx in Newaygo County. Led by moderator Carlos Sanchez, local panelists shared their experiences, misconceptions they’ve encountered, and the importance of listening and empathy.

Watch recording
Read a recap of the event