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Profiles

Each Person Is Equally Valued

Members of Park City District receive the Soka Victory District award at the opening of the SGI-USA New Haven Buddhist Center, Connecticut, April 7. Photo by INES LEONG.

This year, the SGI-USA is focused on developing the district as the oasis of
open-hearted discussion and encouragement. In this new series, the
World
Tribune speaks to recently announced Soka Victory Districts to learn the keys to their advancement.

Park City District
FAIRFIELD, CONN

Our 20-year-old district can be best described as a family full of warmth and open hearts—one that was built on appreciation and trust. When we were announced the first Soka Victory District in North Zone in April, the district members felt a great sense of pride, knowing that we had all equally contributed to this achievement.

Park City District sits in a part of Connecticut that has tremendous economic disparities. Because of this, we strive to make our district a space where all people, regardless of where they come from, feel respected, appreciated and valued.

We take to heart SGI President Ikeda’s guidance that “instead of one person advancing a hundred steps, a hundred people would advance one step forward” (Nov. 16, 2001, World Tribune, p. 3).

This culture has been created based on the understanding that each person has a unique mission and is equally valuable in the advancement of kosen-rufu. Though there are some members who cannot come to meetings regularly, we welcome them with open arms when they do. We also visit all of our members and convey to them that the causes they make for kosen-rufu will accumulate as benefit and fortune for their lives.

Q: What were some points of action that led to Park City becoming a Soka Victory District?

Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the foundation of our unity and efforts as a district. The members of our district chant together in person weekly. United prayer is always first!

We chant to make life-to-life connections during our home visits. While meeting members, we encourage them to participate in SGI activities for their own breakthroughs and help them form a connection with President Ikeda by studying from the SGI-USA publications together.

The greatest legacy of this district is that our hands are always out to the youth, nurturing and caring for them so they can awaken to their mission. So far this year, we have helped two youth receive the Gohonzon.

One young woman described the district as a calm oasis where, no matter how much chaos she is experiencing in her life, she is nurtured and her potential is seen.

We view every campaign in the SGI-USA as an opportunity for each of us to transform our karma and win in our lives. Most recently, we fought all out to help 28 youth members and guests from our district attend our chapter’s July Youth Discussion Meeting.

Q: Can you share about a recent victory in the district?

There is a wonderful men’s division member who was determined to find
a relationship that would help him advance his mission for kosen-rufu. Feeling despondent about the state of the world and his life, he began doing
a lot of shakubuku to break through. Because of his schedule, he was only able to come to some meetings—yet, he never stopped chanting or sharing Buddhism with others.

Even if he couldn’t be there, he would confidently send his guests to discussion meetings, because of the district’s foundation of appreciation and trust. He helped many people begin their practice, and, in the process, he also began a wonderful relationship!

This experience reminded us that our role as district leaders is to support every person to carry out their unique mission and help them maintain their fighting spirit for kosen-rufu, so they can win in every aspect of their lives.

The greatest legacy of this district is that our hands are always out to the youth, nurturing and caring for them so they can awaken to their mission.

Q: What is your determination moving forward?

Three people have joined our district this year, and we are determined to continue doing shakubuku and raising many capable leaders! Our vision for Park City is to become two strong districts!

Q: Any advice for other SGI-USA districts?

Create a consistent time to meet as a district. Park City members know that every Wednesday night there is a meeting. We are so grateful for the members who consistently host these gatherings and support this weekly rhythm.

Recognize the importance of each member, even if they can’t come to meetings frequently, and visit and encourage them.

Finally, pour your life into identifying and raising capable youth, who will lead kosen-rufu into the eternal future! WT

District women’s leader Molly Poyntz-Massiah; vice men’s leader Clarence Ragsdale; young men’s leader Daniel Jacobs; vice women’s leader Jackie Jacobs; and vice region young women’s leader Kaitlyn Torres contributed to this interview.



“Long Live SGI-Bahamas!”