LOGAN – Cache Community Connections (CCC) is an organization that reaches across religious, ethnic, and cultural divides and encourages togetherness through community activities.
Richard West, a member of CCC, said they generally host the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in January as one of their biggest events of the year. Due to the worldwide pandemic this year, they sought an alternative way to honor King’s legacy of acceptance and unity.
“To celebrate the diversity of our community and reach across ethnic and social lines we decided to interview different people and post them online,” he said. “If we can’t bring people to the event, let’s take the event to them.”
The group chose a selection of citizens in Cache Valley and interviewed them and posted the interviews on their website: www.cachecommunityconnections.org/connecting-neighbors/
“We started off with racial diversity,” West said. “I approached Jimmy Moore, an African-American basketball coach at Utah State University.”
Jalen Moore, his son, interviewed him.
“Those interviews are an initial attempt to look at not just race ethnicity and culture, but disabilities, challenges, poverty,” West said. “We wanted a wholeness approach for all people in the community that typical members probably don’t take the opportunity to interact with.”
He said he was amazed at the resilience and challenges many of them faced.
“They all have inspirational messages of hope and opportunity,” West said. “These are wonderful people who should be recognized for their resilience and challenges, and when it comes right down to it, they have the same dreams for their families as we all do.”
He said most people don’t realize how similar they are once the barriers are removed.
The goal for each of the interviews was to last 15 to 20 minutes.
Besides Jimmy Moore, CCC conducted interviews with Saboor Sahely (owner of Angie’s Restaurant), Hadjer Abir Bensasha (who is from Algeria), Rida Shoorbajee (a pilot in training from Turkey), Aaron Timm (diagnosed with Albinism and is blind), and Darren Parry (past Chairman of the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation).
Most of the interviews were conducted by Providence resident Carol Foht, a member of CCC.
“While it started as an alternative to the MLK program, at the beginning of April there is no end in sight,” West said. “We are having a wonderful time connecting people in the community and it has a regional impact.”
CCC based the idea of getting to know neighbors on a biblical quote.
“I looked at every religious tradition and everyone had the same ‘love thy neighbor’ as a core value,” West said. “That fundamental loving those you live among is in every traditional faith.”
CCC is a group of local religious, civic, and business leaders in Cache Valley that first came together to organize an interfaith memorial service following the tragic events on September 11, 2001. That became a time when the whole community came together.
Working together was such a positive experience that the group continued meeting monthly to foster understanding and cooperation among all religious groups in Cache Valley.
In the past 20 years, the local interfaith and civic organization has sponsored an interfaith Thanksgiving service in which representatives of many different faith traditions have gathered to share spoken messages, singing, and other forms of worshipful expressions of gratitude and hope.