My son Drew came with me to vote on election morning with a sense of excitement and hope. The next morning he had so many questions about the outcome of the election. I shared the following perspective with him.
The truth is that we haven’t come as far as we think we have. Although we are facilitators of change, it appears that it is not as much, nor as systematic, as we may have hoped. There are still great divisions in our country, based more on race, background, and other such factors than we would ever have liked to admit.
So now we have a very clear awareness of what our world looks like, regardless of how unpleasant that may be for so many of us.
We need to recognize more is needed, and isn’t that better than deceiving ourselves into thinking that equality and social justice might actually be just beyond the horizon or that we can take our foot off the gas for even a minute?
It can be somewhat alarming that we are still so far away, but maybe instead of feeling hopeless and angry, why not embrace this opportunity and face what stares us right in the eyes and do something about it.
The reality is that we live in a country where large portions of our population feel marginalized and forgotten, hopeless and fearful, left behind and invisible. I reminded Drew that luckily I have a wonderful job where I can encourage all of the staff and board of The Child Center of NY and the not-for-profit industry to move forward and carry out our respective missions.
So to the staff, board, and supporters of The Child Center of NY:
I wish I could say something that would provide you with an immediate sense of comfort or some form of relief or encouragement. But instead I am counting on the fact that confronting reality can be as motivating for you as it is for me and a reminder that we’re in the very unique position to make a difference and do our part. I have never felt more committed to the children and families we serve, in the most culturally and economically diverse borough in this country. We are aligned in our pursuit of social equality and equal opportunity for all.
This election and the deep fissures it laid bare provide a real impetus for our organization and other community-based organizations to fight for a critical system that unites us beyond skin color and gender, beyond sexual orientation and economic status.
It’s still my belief that people respond better to community and unity than they do to hatred and divisiveness, so in the spirit of healing and progress, let’s put our feelings about the election on hold. Let’s remember that we, a large, inclusive number of people, are not alone. That we have others of like-mindedness, and that it has never been so clear why we need to remain mission focused.
I am not suggesting we undervalue how far we’ve come, but we cannot deceive ourselves into thinking it’s far enough. This is our wake-up call and the exact moment to succeed in our mission of strengthening families and building community.