Last week, I had the privilege of introducing Tami’s and my good friend, Bruce Bastian at the Peace and Possibility Speakers Series at Weber State University. If we look back over the last 25 years of progress made in Utah on issues involving civil rights, and in particular LGBTQ rights, a whole lot of that progress has been pushed, prodded and carried by the work of one individual. That individual is Bruce Bastian. Tami and I are eyewitnesses to many of the ups and downs and ins and outs of this journey. Whatever the particular issue, often the driving question was – and still is - “what does Bruce say?” Not only has he made things happen with his donations, he takes an active role in helping set policy.
Bruce spoke to an enthusiastic audience of Weber State University students, faculty and staff. In his talk, titled "Leveraging who you are to achieve success and make a difference," Bruce shared some of his life experiences in growing up in a conservative Mormon family, attending BYU, creating a successful business (Wordperfect) and coming out as a gay man.
He shared his own struggles with letting others define him, and talked about how once he accepted who he really is, he was able to focus on the important work of doing what he can to make the lives of others better.
Bruce asked the audience to consider what is their main goal in life. He hoped that for most people it would be to "be happy." He said "every person's path to happiness is unique. Discover your own path and don't let it be defined by anyone else."
When asked by an audience member what advocacy work most needs to be done now, he encouraged everyone to continue to tell their personal stories. It is the power of stories that changes hearts. He also reminded the audience that "happiness is a process, not a moment."
Tami and I are grateful for Bruce’s friendship and leadership in the community, and stay tuned for more from the Peace and Possibility Speakers Series.