I love this picture. It represents what life should look like — a diverse group of children holding hands, smiling, playing outside and peacefully enjoying life together as friends.
Unfortunately, we aren’t always seeing pictures like this in 2020. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, economic crisis, political upheaval and continued racial tensions and injustices happening across the country on a daily basis. The reality of our country and world right now truly breaks my heart. And while we can’t control everything happening around us, we can each do our part to control what we can, which includes education on important topics such as African-American history, pandemics, medical science and economics, practicing empathy and kindness towards others and standing up for causes we believe in.
In addition to what we may have already learned in school, taking the time to continuously educate ourselves can increase and improve our understanding, perspective and decision-making in various life situations. For example, if we truly take the time to research and read about slavery, racism and the amount of inhumane treatment African Americans and other minorities have faced throughout history and in many cases, are still facing today, we can help educate others, lead by example and treat everyone equally and with respect, volunteer our time and donate to causes to ensure history doesn’t keep repeating itself over and over again.
If we study the history of pandemics and medical science to understand how previous viruses and illnesses had spread, how they were medically treated, how vaccines were researched, tested and administered and how societies eventually dealt with them in day-to-day life, we can be more aware of the similarities and differences to what we’re experiencing today with Covid-19. This level of knowledge can hopefully ease our stress and worries and give us hope and faith that we’ll figure it out again and eventually overcome the hardships we’re facing now.
If we educate or refresh our knowledge of economics and the history of increasing unemployment rates, stock market crashes and the downfalls of many businesses, we can work together as a country and world to figure out how best to balance slowly opening up the economy in stages, while still maintaining sheltering-in-place a little longer to further control the spread of Covid-19. As we know, trying to solve for two competing priorities isn’t a black or white scenario and will likely require further education, collaboration and some trial and error.
Empathy and Kindness:
In addition to being educated, taking the time to reflect upon our own experiences can go a long way towards practicing empathy and kindness towards others. For example, I grew up in a mainly Caucasian community in the Midwest, as a first-generation-born Indian-American, in the ’80’s and ’90’s. Therefore, I know first-hand, what it’s like to experience discrimination, have periods of your life when you want to look like everyone else to fit in and be judged or treated differently at times because of the color of your skin. Therefore, I have so much empathy for African Americans, Indians, Asians, Latinos, Hispanics and other minorities who have had similar or even worse experiences and as a result, I support causes and organizations that promote diversity.
Also, my husband is Caucasian and our kids are mixed, therefore, we focus a lot on teaching about empathy, kindness and respect towards all people in our household. I’m thankful we live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is diverse and filled with people from all over the world, interracial marriages and mixed kids, so our kids can grow up in an environment where they don’t feel singled out or different from everyone else in the way I often did as a kid.
If we’ve ever experienced illnesses or diseases ourselves or through our loved ones, we can also learn to practice empathy and kindness towards others, especially while Covid-19 continues to spread across the world. I’ve experienced upper respiratory illnesses, including sinus infections, allergies and asthma, on a pretty ongoing basis and feel so much empathy towards anyone experiencing Covid-19. Therefore, I want to do everything I can to practice kindness and contribute to charities and research funding to help physicians and other health care workers, patients and any other groups of people working on the front lines to fight the virus and keep everyone healthy and safe.
In addition, if we’ve lived through an economic crisis before and/or had our jobs or companies impacted as a result, we can put ourselves in the shoes of those who have lost jobs or who’s companies are struggling or shutting down. I lived and worked through the dot com boom and bust in San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the early 2000’s and know how difficult these uncertain times can be. Therefore, I’ve been trying to support and promote local businesses, help loved ones find jobs through my professional network and continue to build and grow my own company to help others. I also hope and pray for the economy to recover in time.
While it’s no doubt a difficult time in the world right now, let’s all do our part to get educated, practice empathy and kindness towards others and leverage all of these things to take action and stand up for what we believe in. We owe it to those in our communities, our families and ourselves to make this world a better place.