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Humans of Unalaska campaign celebrates locals for their ‘small acts of kindness’

Courtesy of Kate Schwarz
The display includes names of locals and a short description about something special they’d done, written by the person who nominated them.

Unalaska’s Department of Parks, Culture and Recreation is recognizing and celebrating locals who have made an impact on the community.

PCR arts and culture coordinator Kate Schwarz organized the campaign, which was inspired by Humans of New York, a popular collection of portraits and short interviews that has developed a huge following on social media.

Schwarz is calling her project “Humans of Unalaska.”

“It's been a tricky and unique past couple of years, where I think we've all had to be so focused on certain procedures and just getting through hurdles that we've never experienced before,” Schwarz said. “So it's nice to be able to step back and reflect and celebrate those people that are just doing even small acts of kindness within the community.”

The project, which started around Martin Luther King Jr. Day in late January, is also meant to honor the legacy of the civil rights activist, by spotlighting community members who put others before themselves, Schwarz said.

All thirteen nominees were included and recognized on a display at the local community center.

“Names up on that board aren't necessarily people who are in positions of power,” she said. “It's anybody who has made a difference, whether it be a small act or a series of leadership [acts].”

The display includes names of locals and a short description about something special they’d done, written by the person who nominated them. They include people like Harriet Berikoff who was recognized for giving so much of her time to the community. And high school senior Sam Ahsan who volunteered to paint faces at a local festival over the summer.

Schwarz said she wants to keep the project alive and hopes that it grows.

“What I’d really like to do is be able to talk to the individual themselves to get a little bit of their background, like being able to say, ‘You were recognized, and we just want to learn a little bit more about you,’” Schwarz said.

Find out more about Humans of Unalaska on the PCR’s Facebook page.

Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
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