A Leavening Place
Aisha Boyd, Project HOME’s Employment Specialist, wrote these reflections following the hurricanes in Texas and Florida.
Not often do we wonder how our lives could be much worse than how we perceive them ourselves. One person’s albatross can be another’s motivation, and in times of massive disasters or attacks, our albatrosses and motivations prove to be one in the same. Some of us share similar adversities while others struggle to relate to experiences we have not personally taken on. But we witness the devastation caused by hurricanes in Texas and Florida, we are transported to other natural disasters like Katrina and terror attacks like 9/11, which triggered our innate humanity.
In times like these, we tend to band together easily with the common objective to show that we care: We make contributions and donations. We prove our patriotism by flying flags and supporting our troops. Engineering patriotism across peer groups on a regular basis, without reserving compassion for tragedy and despair, is ingenuity well-worth grasping. In seasons of mass need, supportive hashtags flood the internet, and public outcries become trending topics. Facing challenges we may not understand, our blinders suddenly prevent us from flying capes of humanity once those challenges are catalogued to specific groups (e.g. Muslims, immigrants, etc.).
Our valor forges beyond what we put forth in dire times. So the sooner we may become consistently compassionate, the further our breadth as a society can reach. Whether we berate ourselves with guilt, dismiss the plight of others, or crusade for victims of injustice, a need for social responsibility remains a reoccurring touchpoint. While it is natural to feel like our opinions are being misunderstood, lacking empathy or compassion does not dignify resisting our greatest gift as humans – the ability to think critically. By allowing unabashed empathy, we can produce an international community capable of banding together not only in times of disaster or political unrest, but whenever moral wrongs occur.