Tasha Hotch has a soft spot for community challenges that disproportionately affect minorities.
Her first interaction with the Forum came through an invitation to a neighborhood StepUpAK workshop. Other opportunities followed: evening conversations on traumatic brain injury and Jenny Irene Miller’s Continuous photography exhibit documenting two-spirit Alaskans; participation in an Art of Powerful Questions experiential workshop. In May, Tasha joined others as the most recent group of Leadership Anchorage graduates – LA 22.
Tasha is Tlingit and a Program Manager with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. She is a passionate Mountain View volunteer and Community Council member, concentrating on issues such as education, public safety and homelessness.
To be fair, Leadership Anchorage (LA) wasn’t what Tasha expected but she found that the rewards included solid friendships and an expanded network. Her team worked with Anchorage Downtown Partnership to measure the economic impact of free community events. The task proved challenging, but led to other opportunities to get involved in the community, including the ability to help on the Forum’s Community. Media. Possibility. (CMP) project in Mountain View.
Hosted by the Forum, in partnership with the Mountain View Community Council and Journalism That Matters, the CMP gathering brought community members and media together to explore the relationship between individual stories and broader narratives.
Having served on the neighborhood’s Community Council for years, Tasha had witnessed that need. “One of the things that has been vocalized more recently is the perception that the media puts out about the community. So one of the things that I was hoping to get out of the workshop was how do we proactively share those more positive stories.”
Why does Tasha participate in Forum activities? “To learn more about subjects I don’t know very much about. I just like how it reframes the conversation.” She adds, “That’s what I like about the Forum: that even though I think I agree with most of [the conversation], I like seeing the way that others interpret it. Or to hear people’s stories and think to myself, ‘if I were there, would I have made that person’s life different? How would I have impacted it?’”
With the Forum’s mission to connect Alaskans through stories, ideas, and experiences that positively change lives and empower communities, Tasha’s recent CMP experience seems to bring that to life: “We’ve set ourselves up for a great follow-up conversation. The conversation we had was the conversation that needed to happen.”