Nov 10, 2020

The Moment We’re In Calls for Kindness

This is an email I sent to the KIND team this morning, encouraging empathy and bridge-building during a time of deep division within our country.

KIND Team,

This past weekend, Americans elected Joe Biden the 46th U.S. President. I have long felt that President-elect Biden’s campaign messages echo KIND’s ethos and I am encouraged that this administration will champion the values that we at KIND, regardless of political party, hold dear.

I realize that this news does not hit everyone the same way. As I have said before, everyone has a home here at KIND. We must continue to model empathy and respectful listening and discourse, not only internally at KIND but also externally in our communities.

Since I immigrated to the U.S. in 1984, I have never experienced such polarization, distrust, and even downright hatred among fellow Americans. While substantive differences are real, what we have in common is far greater. We need to re-learn how to respectfully disagree, learn from one another, and work with our fellow citizens for a brighter future.

The overwhelming majority of Americans long for a more perfect union. Everyone has a role to play – and a duty to play it – in forging this path. And we at KIND have a particularly important contribution to make by modeling our values within our communities, bridging relations, listening, and acting with empathy. The work ahead will require assumption of positive intent from one another.

The issues are real. It is absolutely not easy. But just as being KIND requires strength, so does trying to forge common ground with our fellow citizens. These are not weaknesses but signs of courage and leadership.

With warmth,

DL

Empathy          Leadership

More from Daniel

2022 High Point University Commencement Address

Today, I want to talk about a light and fluffy subject: your generation’s role in steering humanity in the right direction. No pressure, Dalton. 

But in all seriousness, Dalton, I love what you shared about “leaving everywhere you go better than you found it…and finding ways to give grace and inspiration to the people around you.”  

I want to talk today about HOW to do that as you are all simultaneously challenged and blessed with graduating as our world is re-entering a stage of dramatic consequence. 

The ship of humanity is moving in the wrong direction, and it will be upon all of you to steer it back on track. 

To illustrate this point, I want to compare the circumstances when my father’s generation came of age, to those when my generation and your generation graduated from college. 

My father was fifteen-and-a-half when he was liberated from the Dachau concentration camp by American soldiers. He was barely alive.  He never got to go to school past third grade, let alone college. Several of your grandparents were around your age when they were sent to free Europe from tyranny and darkness. 

By contrast, when I was fifteen years-old, my family immigrated to America from Mexico. I was able to attend college during a period when passionate but cordial debate was the norm. I remember observing political leaders vehemently disagree on a particular topic, while maintaining a friendship rooted in respect. Our world was far from perfect – but the arc of human progress trended in an upward direction. Freedom, open markets, human rights, civility, and the quest for knowledge were all advancing.  

It seemed almost too good to be true.  In fact, it was so good that we began to lose sight that Our Great American Experiment isn’t so much a fixed state of affairs as it is a purposeful daily affirmation – something that we opt into, live out, and vote for not once every four years, but every single day – through how we engage with one another. 

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