Writers James and Deborah Fallows speak on hope for improving local communities

(Video by Kelsey Mae Nield)

Writers James and Deborah Fallows shared ideas during the Feb. 15 BYU forum for what people can do to improve local communities.

James is the author of 12 books and has written for The Atlantic. Deborah has worked as a writer for notable news sources such as The Atlantic, The New York Times and National Geographic. 

“Our job this morning is to give you reasons to feel some hope about the communities you’re living in, hope about the world you will inhabit and shape,” James said.

James said the closer to the community you are, the more hopeful you feel. Deborah emphasized the importance of public participation to achieve this. They shared that public participation through events such as festivals and parades give people a chance to connect and feel like they belong.

“Go out and join things. Be part of your community. Learn to find your voice there,” Deborah said.

Deborah and James both emphasized the uniqueness of the opportunity many young adults in the BYU community have to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deborah shared that missionaries have a unique opportunity to go into new towns and develop a better understanding of how communities work.

“It’s a gift. It’s a service you all are doing, but it is also a gift. There is no better way to understand the strengths & vulnerabilities of the American culture than to live somewhere else,” James said.

Deborah also encouraged students to be mentors and leaders in their local towns. “We applaud you … and encourage you because you are the hope for all of us,” Deborah said.

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