Surreal. Based on a high volume of searches, Merriam Webster’s Dictionary decided surreal warranted ‘Word of the Year’ for 2016. The word was searched frequently in response to terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris, and most notably, from our presidential election.
In trying to think of a word or theme that stuck out to me in 2016, I went with conversations. This has been a year where dialogue took center stage. It wasn’t always balanced, and at times talks got heated, so the need for us to engage in more civil, compassionate, and conscious discourse was one major theme that emerged from the ashes of the 2016 presidential election.
The term ‘echo chamber’ popped up frequently this year when referring to those we communicate with through social media. Most people decided to talk only with those whose opinions were close to their own. (Some did this by ‘un-friending’ others, but one revelation that many learned this year was about the algorithms set up by Facebook and other social media services to promote only things you want to hear/see.) On the other hand, some people went in the trenches to engage in the difficult, and at times frustrating, conversations with those who had opposing opinions of the world. All of this highlighted the glaring need for us, as a nation, to improve our conversation skills.
So this is where I want to finish 2016- hitting home the idea of healthy conversations. The need for this is increasingly evident, so in 2017 that will be one of my major themes. The dialogue must continue- even if at times the talk turns ugly. I’m a big believer that conversations will continue to get better if we all make a conscious commitment to listen to one another.
With all that in mind, I want to extend a sincere thank you for allowing me to engage with each of you in an ongoing conversation about what I believe to be the most pressing issues facing our country.
The conversation will continue in 2017 with more guest writers, a continued in-depth look at new and familiar topics, all aimed towards creating a more conscious conversation about the state of our nation. As we give a much-needed goodbye to 2016, here’s to a hopeful, healthy, and fruitful 2017.
Food For Thought
“Crucial Conversations in 2016”
How to participate and communicate effectively during conversations surrounding challenging and emotionally charged topics.
Analyzing the role that artists play in creating positive art in the face of national turmoil.
A philosophical way of recognizing the plethora of emotions that we are faced with each day.
“Kendrick Lamar and the Role of Mentors”
The creation of “My Brother’s Keeper” by President Barack Obama in response to a report from the White House Council Economic Advisers that detailed the obstacles young men of color face, and the enormous cost it presents to our economy.
“4 shots, 6 shots, and the Cycle of Violence”
Dissecting the tense relationship between law enforcement and African-Americans.
“Problems with Poverty”
A look at the statistics behind where poverty is prevalent, and who is most impacted by it.
Islamophobia and the perceptions that others concoct based off of clothing and skin tone.
“What Would You Teach the World?”
Hearing people’s one lesson they would teach the world.
“Power of Generation Z”
Words of wisdom- post election- from our most diverse and tech-savvy generation.
“An Honest look at America”
“A Poem for Peace: Orlando”