A group photo of everyone in attendance at the retreat
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Community – Why it Matters to Me 

Cody Peluso Sep 16, 2022

Finding a community where you want to belong – not   always easy. Finding a community where you feel like you belong – even  harder. Finding a community where you believe your community wants everyone to belong – this may have been the most difficult undertaking of my adult life. 

Finding a community that you want to belong to, a community where you feel like you belong, and a community who wants everyone to participate in their community does something besides fulfilling a life-long dream. It inspires hope. 

Hope has been hard to come by when living in a world occupied by oppressive capitalist institutions, a deteriorating ecosystem, and a general structure where people are treated as a resource which can be exploited, manipulated, and controlled for profit or power. Hope is hard to come by when animals and ecosystems are treated even worse. Hope has been hard to come by when articles like this one declare the imminent destruction of our planet.  

Hope is not hard to come by when you get to be a part of the Population Media Center community. Hope isn’t a feeling or an emotional state. Hope, to me, is a verb. Hope is an action. Hope is knowing that if we use community as a catalyst for the global good, if we use hope to change the hearts and minds of people across the world, to create a sustainable planet, with the rights of women and girls at the front and center, that our hope for a better future will be future generations’ reality.  

I want you to be a part of the PMC community because in the short time I have been here, I have been inspired. I have been motivated. I have learned and I have gotten a peek into the extraordinary work being done across the world by people who believe in the same things I do. People who don’t just believe, but put their beliefs into action by telling transformative stories to change the world. One community at a time.  

The truth is, I don’t know exactly how to make you feel like you are a part of this community. But I am trying, every single day, because I want you to feel what I feel when I walk into a room and get to be part of the PMC community. It’s an immediate feeling of belonging, of working for the global good, knowing your work has real impact and your work is creating a better world for all beings who call this planet home.  

What I do know is you are welcome here – your ideas and beliefs, your passions and your fears, your hope – it is all welcome here. We tell stories that have an impact across the world, and we want you to be a part of that. You can join our Facebook page, you can connect with us across social media, and you can connect by subscribing to our email. 

But I want that to be only the beginning. We want to co-create a community.  We’re focused on participation, and cross-dissemination of information. We want to learn, grow, and transform the world together. If you want to join us in creating this, feel free to email me at cpeluso@populationmedia.org and talk to me about how we can create a community that listens to you. A community that inspires you and gives you hope. A community where you feel like you belong. A community where you are heard. A community that has impact across the world, for everyone.  

At PMC, no living being is left behind. That includes all people. That includes all animals. That includes the living and breathing ecosystems that make our global community such a wonder to live in. We don’t do our work for a certain group of people, or species, we do it for everyone, everything, everywhere. 

This week, PMC staff across the world came to Vermont as a community of storytellers to discuss how we change the world with transformative stories. I wanted to give you a peek at these people from across the country, across the world – who live in communities just like yours. These people are changing their communities – the hearts and minds of their communities, the very fabric of their communities – all with popular media.  

And you are a part of our community. It’s time to hope. So let’s build something, a more sustainable and just world, through community, together.