On Monday’s Access Utah we’ll broadcast a full episode from This Is Her Place, a podcast that tells the remarkable stories of Utah women past and present, in all their diversity. Podcast co-host Naomi Watkins will also join us.
How do we work with people we disagree with? How do we stand up for causes while also building relationships? In this episode, we talk about two women who were gifted with an almost uncanny ability to create bridges with people who thought and felt differently than they did: Alison Comish Thorne, Professor Emerita at Utah State University and a civic leader and community activist; and Karen Kwan, a current member of the Utah House of Representatives from District 34, which covers Taylorsville, Murrary, Millcreek, and a bit of West Valley, also a community advocate and an associate professor of psychology at Salt Lake Community College. Both women focused on women's issues, including the ERA. Both could have felt like outsiders in their own communities, and at times they did. But they also dedicated themselves to building bridges with determined persistence, and often in the face of steep odds.
Naomi Watkins is an educational leader, women's advocate, and community builder who believes that diverse representation plays a vital role in the empowerment of young people. She authored Champions of Change: 25 Women Who Made History, a book written with Katherine Kitterman and illustrated by Brooke Smart as part of her work for Better Days 2020, a non-profit dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history through art, education, and legislation. An expert in teacher education and literacy pedagogy, Naomi earned her Ph.D. from the University of Utah and resides and hikes in the mountains of Salt Lake City.