As we approach the close of this tumultuous year, I am reflecting on the challenges we’ve experienced in pursuit of our mission to foster kindness in the US and across the world.
It has been a difficult journey marked by the rise of extremism, lack of civility, and various forms of racism – including a dramatic rise in antisemitic attacks and reports of anti-Muslim hate – that have tested the fabric of our humanity.
In times like these, we face a choice: to be Builders, united in our efforts to construct a better world, bring light, and reach out to the “other” — or to be Destroyers that aim to divide and diminish.
While social media amplifies voices of hate and extremism, we cannot allow ourselves to be consumed by anger or to become more radical ourselves. When we do, we unwittingly contribute to greater division.
To build, we must commit to develop the skills to bridge differences and solve problems across lines of difference (for concrete tips on how to do so, read this letter
and listen to this Axios podcast
with Lonnie Ali, co-founder of the Muhammad Ali Center, sharing concrete tips on how to do so). We must cultivate the habits of curiosity, compassion, and courage to embrace authentic pluralism.
When faced with so much darkness, it is daunting to wonder, ‘what can I do to make a difference?’ The answer is to lead by example in our daily lives. Every moment is an opportunity for us to define the world as we want it to be. Every act of kindness, every smile, and every glance of empathy can be a powerful demonstration of our commitment to bring light into the world.
Together, we can create a world where kindness and respect prevail. I wish you a new year filled with hope, compassion, and the conviction that – through our example – we will build a better future.