It is an honor for the opportunity to share my LT experience with you. My husband, Randy Nicklaus, was in Class 9. I remember that year like it was yesterday. We were young, both working and starting our family. I was so jealous of him and of course happy for him at the same time. Hearing about his experiences during that year was amazing! It was an experience I wanted to have one day. Fast forward 20 years, yes 20 years with gray hair and few extra pounds, I was one of the lucky ones selected to be a member of LT Class 29. It is an experience I will always cherish. LT opened my eyes to so many opportunities, happenings, and people in Tallahassee. The realization that while we think we know Tallahassee, there is much more we do not know. LT breaks us out of our bubble and challenges us to be our best, do our best and embrace all that Tallahassee has to offer.
Like every class, we were expected to have a class project. While there were several ideas all of which were good, the one we chose lives on. Our classmate, the late Luke Stevens, had the wonderful idea to keep LT going forever through a program titled LT 2.0. What we learn during our LT year is just the tip of the iceberg! LT 2.0 provides us the opportunity to continue expanding our knowledge of Tallahassee. I have participated in several programs and each one has been great. Currently, I am participating in the Racial Justice program. I feel certain this will be challenging for all involved.
There are so many reasons I chose to participate. I believe we all need to get out of our bubble. We need to challenge ourselves to hear differing views, gain a better understanding of others and experience and as a result, we will become a more united and stronger community.
It was during our opening LT Class 29 retreat that I learned so much about myself and my classmates. As is true for all of LT, our class is diverse in so many ways. This is one of the things that make LT special. For me, the exercises during that first weekend brought to light how my class was a microcosm of our community. One of the exercises was the Privilege Walk. At the end of the exercise, I was struck by the differences in our life experiences and what a charmed life I’ve had. We all grow up in our bubble, not always realizing the impact our many experiences have on our future and the community. Or that others live in a different bubble! Many of us are unaware of what is going on in “other” parts of our community, the good, the bad and the ugly. Coupled with my LT retreat experience and the violence and hate we are experiencing today in our community and our nation, I did not hesitate to sign up for the Racial Justice LT 2.0 program.
The program has just begun and I am already hopeful. My fellow LT grads seem ready for some open and honest discussions. We are reading Devil in the Grove and it has touched me at my core. Experiences such as this program, make us stop and take off those rose-colored glasses. I am looking forward to our next session.
To all of you that have not taken part in a LT 2.0 program day, you are missing out. And to LT Class 29, congratulations friends! The idea of our friend and classmate, Luke, lives on for all LT graduates!