How can we help to make Kamloops a kinder place to live? This question has taken on new dimensions in the wake of social and physical distancing. But a group of community people in Kamloops had already started to explore this question in a meeting held last month.
The idea for this new initiative was seeded during Impact Fest hosted by Transition Kamloops last spring. This first meeting, organized by David Lidster, brought together a group of individuals and organizations to explore the idea of starting a kindness initiative here in Kamloops.
It was a wide-ranging discussion. Folks talked about what kindness (or civility) is, what obstacles can interfere with a culture of kindness, and why we are concerned to foster kindness in the city. We discussed the value of individual acts of kindness, and explored the problem of destructive forms of conflict and the need to bridge differences between people while fostering a culture of respectful communication. On the question of conflict, several people were particularly concerned about online forums and how these platforms seem to facilitate destructive conflict. People shared stories and talked about examples of kindness/civility initiatives in other communities.
We did not decide on any action plans in this first meeting, but lots of ideas were floated—everything from raising up the profile of acts of kindness in the media, creating a new slogan for Kamloops, i.e. “Kindloops”, to positive messaging on t-shirts and in a variety of public venues. There was interest in exploring further what we could do to foster respectful dialogue and understanding in conflict situations.
There was genuine enthusiasm for the conversation among the attendees. Plans for a second meeting are on hold for the moment, but stay tuned for more updates on this initiative!