Archive for 2019

My 1000 Small Steps – August 20, 2019

Posted on: August 18th, 2019 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Hope

by Kathie England

With the recent mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, plus the ICE raid in Mississippi, hope often feels hard to find.

Listening to the On Being podcast by Krista Tippett helps me not abandon hope. Her recent conversation with Jonathan Rowson offered many thoughts on hope that I share in this month’s post, including words of Vaclav Havel and Roberto Unger.

Jonathan Rowson has studied the brain, philosophy, economics, and education. He directed the Social Brain Centre at the Royal Society of Arts and is co-founder and Director of Perspectiva — a research organization in London that examines the relationship between systems, souls, and society.

Words of Vaclav Havel:

“Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. It is an orientation of the spirit and orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.

Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.

The more propitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper the hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”

Thoughts by Rowson:

“…with the question of hope, I think it’s incumbent on anyone who would define their work as being in some sense about changing the world — and that can be quite a hubristic notion, of course — but anyone who is trying to fashion better forms of living, they need some working theory of hope. And I like the definition of Roberto Unger*, as well, which is that hope is the ‘visionary anticipation of a direction.’ It’s not just so much about thinking things will be better, but actually seeing a place that’s worth going to and orienting your will towards that.

When I quite recently created a new organization called Perspectiva, the purpose of the organization, in some ways, is to paint a vision of the future and a pathway of getting there that does instill a certain amount of hope. I think the only way we’re going to do that is if we get better at linking together what we call ‘systems, souls, and society’ —complex systems, including the economy and politics and all that, the totality of our inner worlds, and then, how we talk to each other and how we live together. I think, if we can get better and more nimble and more generous about how we move between those worlds, then the chance of creating a hope that makes sense for all of us is all the greater.”

I invite you to find hope by taking the small step of listening to the entire podcast.

https://onbeing.org/programs/jonathan-rowson-integrating-our-souls-systems-and-society/

*Roberto Unger is a Brazilian contemporary social theorist, politician, and law professor at Harvard Law School

My 1000 Small Steps – July 20, 2019

Posted on: July 13th, 2019 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Soul Box Project

by Kathie England

“One person can make a difference. Everyone should try.” These words of John F. Kennedy aptly describe Leslie Lee, founder of the Soul Box Project.

After the mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people and wounded 441 on October 1, 2017, Leslie’s despair tuned to action when she asked herself, “What can I do?”

The Soul Box Project idea began when she discovered that more than 168,000 people were killed or injured by guns between 2014 and 2017. Leslie found a photo of the Ohio State University Stadium that holds nearly 105,000 people. What does it say when even a stadium as large as large Ohio State’s cannot hold all those killed or injured by guns within the most recent three-year timeframe?

Leslie realized how difficult it is to comprehend numbers like these. As an artist, she pondered how a visual statement could make the astounding number of victims more real. Her idea – create a small origami box to represent the life of each soul gunned down – a SOUL BOX. Then display thousands of Soul Boxes in public places like libraries, shopping malls, the halls of Congress, and maybe even at gun shows. Perhaps this visual display would motivate people to write their Congressional representatives, lock up their guns, and demand common sense solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in this country.

A famous and impactful visual display, the AIDS Memorial Quilt with each panel representing one life lost to AIDS, was initially the idea of one man, Cleve Jones. First exhibited on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in October 1987, it helped Americans pay attention to another epidemic.

Perhaps the Soul Box Project has the same potential!

I recently hosted a small Soul Box Party for a few friends. We made almost 40 Soul Boxes which I will deliver to the Soul Box workshop in Portland, Oregon. We decorated many of these Soul Boxes with the names of individuals recently killed by guns. Several of mine showed the faces of a one-year old, a two-year old, and a three-year old. Just the act of researching those who have recently been killed by guns was an emotional experience.

I invite you to visit www.SoulBoxProject.org to learn more, to be inspired, to take action, and remember JFK’s words: “One person can make a difference. Everyone should try.”

My 1000 Small Steps – June 20, 2019

Posted on: June 15th, 2019 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

“Everything needs to change – and it has to start today.”

by Kathie England

At age 15, Greta Thunberg created a movement when she began protesting to demand action on the crisis of climate change. She walked out of school and sat outside the Swedish parliament every day for three weeks. Her actions inspired more than 100,000 children world-wide to become involved in a movement called Fridays for Future.

In 2018, Greta spoke at the United Nations COP24 in Katowice, Poland, where her speech went viral. In January 2019 she was invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos where her speeches again made a worldwide impact. She has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by TIME magazine.

Listen to Greta’s talk on the TED Radio Hour broadcast by NPR where she said that instead of looking for hope, we need to look for action. “Everything needs to change and it has to start today. It is only then that hope will come.”

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/07/730383662/greta-thunberg-are-we-running-out-of-time-to-save-our-planet

Prompted by Greta’s call for action, I want to share the action that Steve Oldham and his team at Carbon Engineering (https://carbonengineering.com/) in Squamish, B.C. are already taking.

I heard Steve at TEDx Portland on April 27, 2019. Watch and listen to his idea that could save our planet. The cost Steve says is only 1% of GDP, which happens to be the amount of money spent on one day of the year, Christmas. What could be a better gift to the children of the world?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZu7N3LAbUM (This link is to all the speakers at the 2019 TEDx Portland, so scroll across to 27:00 to watch Steve. His talk is about 15 minutes long.)

I conclude this month’s post with the words of poet Jericho Brown in his conversation with Krista Tippett https://onbeing.org/programs/jericho-brown-small-truths-and-other-surprises/.

“Hope is always accompanied by the imagination, the will to see what our physical environment seems to deem impossible. Only the creative mind can make use of hope. Only a creative people can wield it.”

We are creative people who can take action that starts today!

My 1000 Small Steps – May 20, 2019

Posted on: May 15th, 2019 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Taking Back Power

by Kathie England

“A few determined citizens can change almost anything.”

Ralph Nader shared this belief in an interview with David Barsamian in the May 2019 issue of The SUN. (Until the 2000 election, I was a great admirer of Ralph Nader. Reading this article helped redeem my perspective about the incredible work Nader has done in his 85 years on this planet. I hope you will also keep an open-mind as I share Nader’s thoughts from The SUN interview.)

Nader explained that “every major advance for justice in our country took no more than 1 percent of adults – around 2.5 million people – with public opinion behind them, mobilizing to change government policy.”

One example cited in this article is that “in August 1964 fourteen thousand retirees went to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to lobby for the passage of Medicare.” Within months that bill was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Harry Truman who had tried to pass a national health insurance plan in the late 1940s was present at that signing.

Today more and more Americans support Medicare for All. Nader contends this goal is possible to achieve. He says, “If 2.5 million people each gave three hundred volunteer hours a year across every congressional district, we would have full Medicare for All in two years of less. Why? Because the majority of people want it. They don’t like our healthcare system.”

Nader believes that too many people have internalized a sense of powerlessness that also makes them comfortable. They make excuses for themselves so they don’t have to do the hard work of becoming involved.

Adapting the language of Daniel Webster, Nader says that “Justice is the great work of human beings on earth.” He believes that without justice there is no freedom. He quotes the definition of freedom by Erich Fromm, the psychologist from Yale. Freedom has two parts: “freedom from oppression, arbitrary authority, dictatorship, and harassment; and freedom to be civically involved in the shaping of local, state, national, and international policy – to be a citizen, to have a voice.”

Nader’s words from 1972 are still relevant. “Let it not be said by a future, forlorn generation that we wasted and lost our great potential because our despair was so deep we didn’t even try, or because each of us thought someone else was worrying about our problems.”

My 1000 Small Steps – April 20, 2019

Posted on: April 19th, 2019 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Unbreaking America

by Kathie England

“If we all do a little, we can win together.”

That is the vision of My 1000 Small Steps project launched on January 20, 2017 – the collective power of small steps to create profound change.

It is also the closing line in “Unbreaking America,” a short video created by Represent.Us, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization founded in November 2012. Its mission is to pass tough anti-corruption laws in cities and states across America by bringing progressives and conservatives together. By stopping political bribery, ending secret money, and fixing our broken elections we can create a system of government that will represent us.

Represent.Us proposes that key events at the state and local level trigger a rush of activity they refer to as “trigger moments.” The video cites legalization of women’s right to vote, interracial marriage, and same sex marriage as examples of trigger moments where local activity was the catalyst for changes in federal laws.

We the people can realize the potential of this “great American experiment” (the words of Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America written in 1835).

We can create a truly multi-racial society with genuine equality for all. (These words were inspired by Henry Louis Gates in his series, “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War.”)

I invite you to watch this video from Represent.Us at www.represent.us.

“If we all do a little, we can win together.”

My 1000 Small Steps – March 20, 2019

Posted on: March 16th, 2019 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

Isn’t This Already Happening?

by Kathie England

A study released last year showed that twenty-two percent of American millennials had not heard of or weren’t sure they’d heard of the Holocaust. Two-thirds could not identify what Auschwitz is.

In sharp contrast to this disappointing statistic, the unlikely friendship of a high school freshman in Oregon and one of Oregon’s last survivors of the Holocaust resulted in passage of Oregon Senate Bill 664 on March 12. This bill requires school districts to provide instruction about the Holocaust and genocide beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.

Claire Sarnowski first heard Alter Weiner speak about the Holocaust when she was nine. She heard him again when she was a seventh grader. During their friendship, which Claire acknowledges was unlike any other she had, they talked about stereotypes, anti-Semitism, prejudice, racism, and hatred. Weiner’s dream was for Oregon schools to adopt mandatory curriculum for teaching about the Holocaust and genocide. Though Weiner, who died last year at the age of 92, didn’t live to see his dream realized, Claire worked tirelessly with Oregon State Senator Rob Wagner to make it happen.

During this process Wagner said he was often asked the question: “Isn’t this already happening?” The answer is “no.” Oregon becomes only the tenth state to mandate curriculum that provides resources for teachers to engage students in conversations not only about the Holocaust and genocide, but also bullying and hate speech.

How ironic that the dream of a Holocaust survivor to teach about hatred and prejudice passed the Oregon Senate during the same week that a gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand espousing white supremacy massacred 49 Muslims in a mosque during their Friday prayers.

In his book In the Shadow of Statues, Mitch Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans, describes the impact of his visit to Auschwitz when he was barely twenty. Seeing the unspeakable horror of Auschwitz triggered this realization in Landrieu: “We had done something like this in America with slavery.” He resolved that if he were ever tested by the power of evil, he would have the courage to stand for what was right. His resolve ultimately resulted in the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans, “striking a nerve nationally, forcing into the open a reckoning with the institutional racism that shapes us today.”

How we can replicate the courage of Alter Weiner, Claire Sarnowski, Mitch Landrieu, and the survivors in New Zealand?

What small steps can we take today to stand up to hatred?

My 1000 Small Steps – February 20, 2019

Posted on: February 16th, 2019 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

What Can I Do?

by Kathie England

“Every day, more than 90 Americans are killed by gun violence and hundreds more are injured.”

Moms Demand Action

February 14, 2019 marked the first anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where 17 people died – 14 of them children. Since that date nearly 1200 more children have died from guns. (The New York Times, February 13, 2019). Nearly 40, 000 people in the United States died from guns in 2018. (The New York Times, December 18, 2018)

If those numbers astound and sadden you, you may ask, What can I do?

Here are the links to five organizations that can help you answer that question:

Here are seven pieces of legislation introduced by Earl Blumenauer who represents Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • H.R. 8 – Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019
  • H.R. 33 – Gun Trafficking Prohibition Act
  • H.R. 511 – Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act
  • H.R. 569 – Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act of 2019
  • H.R. 674 – Gun Violence Prevention Research Act of 2019
  • H.R. 686 – Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2019
  • H.R. 869 – Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act

What can I do? Write and/or call your representative to urge passage of this legislation. Support the organizations seeking to reduce gun violence.

Finally, I invite you to watch, listen, and embrace the perspective in this song: “I’ll Fight” from the documentary RBG (about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg). The music and lyrics of this Grammy and Academy Award nominee are by Diane Warren. It’s performed here by Jennifer Hudson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOqHWrCjuY4

What small step will you take?

My 1000 Small Steps – January 20, 2019

Posted on: January 19th, 2019 by Kathie England | Time for Success No Comments

What Can You Do for You?

by Kathie England

This post begins the third year of My 1000 Small Steps project launched on January 20, 2017. The goal of this project is to share the perspective that small actions taken by many individuals can help shift our future to prevent the results of the 2016 election from repeating in 2020.

In the introduction to this project I shared the words of Leo Tolstoy, Margaret Mead, Leonard Cohen, and Edward Kennedy – all reflecting on the power, the process of not giving up in the face of despair that so many of us felt on the morning of November 9, 2016. (And almost every day since…)

Leo Tolstoy: History is the combined effort of the many small things that ordinary individuals do every day, “An infinitely large number of infinitesimally small actions.”

Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Leonard Cohen, recorded shortly before his death, quoted Werner Herzog. “Keep on walking. Shape the future…”

Edward Kennedy, quoted in The New York Times shortly after his death. “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

I asked, What if millions of us committed to take small actions?

Today’s post was inspired by Krista Tippett’s recent interview with Claudia Rankine, poet, essayist, and playwright. (One of my favorite pleasures has become listening to Krista Tippett’s On Being podcast while I take long walks.) The title of this podcast intrigued me: How Can I Say This So We Can Stay in This Car Together?

Quoting from this interview I invite you to focus on Ms. Rankine’s response to a question she was asked, “What can I do for you? How can I help you?”

“Ms. Tippett: You wrote a play, coming out, The White Card, as you were on the road with Citizen and out of the conversations that emerged from that. Now, you said, you’re writing about how to have these conversations. It seemed to me, maybe this was a spark. You describe being in this cathartic moment where you were speaking, reading, and a man stands up and says, ‘What can I do for you? How can I help you?’ — trying to muster in himself the appropriate response to what you were showing, and you said, ‘I think the question you should be asking is what you can do for you.’

https://onbeing.org/programs/claudia-rankine-how-can-i-say-this-so-we-can-stay-in-this-car-together-jan2019/

As you listen to this conversation, I invite you to answer Rankine’s question for yourself: “What can you do for you?”

And, I encourage you to read Citizen, An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, whom I had the privilege of hearing last year at Portland’s Arts and Lectures Series.