The Dialogue Sessions - interpreted by me!

Personal reflections by Sanjana Bhatta on the six-week online course Dialogue About Race, a series of six Thursday night guided discussions in February and March of 2021.


I was sitting and listening to an intense discussion on racism and how it applies to our country when one of my HMS Cares club advisors brought up a dialogue session.  This session was going to be for people of all ages and would be a safe space to begin talking about the issues with racism in our community and how to fix them.  After the club meeting, I found myself continually returning back to the Hillsborough Commons website, staring at the blank registration form for the dialogue.  Would I be able to commit to this?  6 weeks of 90 minute sessions; do I have enough time in my schedule?  It took a long time, but I eventually decided I did, because it was going to take people willing to sacrifice their time to spark a change in the Hillsborough community.  I was actually really lucky because right before these dialogue sessions, there was a National Day of Racial Healing event hosted by the Student Diversity Initiative, so I knew most of these people already.  Although, I was still anticipatory and nervous.  I didn’t want to mess up or say something unintentional, and I felt kind of lost in this group of powerful authoritative people.  

Facing-Racism-in-a-Diverse-Nation_small.jpegWe began to dive into discussion topics and each of us gave our own story about racism.  As I sat there paying deep attention and visualizing all of these people’s different stories, I realized that we all have so much more in common than we think.  The first day of the dialogue sessions was probably one of the best because I felt so welcomed.  Not only that, I felt grateful to be able to connect with these individuals who suffered through their past and rose into their future.  I knew deep in my heart, they would definitely be role models for me.  

The sessions continued and I found one thing repeating in all the conversations we had as a group; the support and respect we had for each other, no matter what age group, race, sex, or culture you were.  The best part was definitely the research we had to do on our own.  Our wonderful host, Dr. Cindy Assini, asked us to find articles or news events that related to our meetings each week.  Through the job/task of finding articles, I realized I became way more excited to talk to everyone and see their variety of opinions on the news event I found too.  It made me realize all my aspirations and goals for the Hillsborough community, and made me inspired enough to work harder towards making an impactful change.  It was a great, great experience and I would 100% partake in it again.  


Sanjana Bhatta
April 2021


Editors Note: At the time of writing, Sanjana is/was an 8th Grade student at Hillsborough Middle School. The Dialogue About Race (Thursday Zoom Series) was a series of six Thursday night guided discussions in February and March of 2021. Everyday Democracy provided the discussion guide to discuss racism in a diverse setting.