People Are People

Month-end musings on empathy, tolerance, and accountability

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

It’s the end of another month, and also happens to be the end of another week. Coming off of a cancelled clinical rotation this month and about to dive into another in June, I wanted to pause and reflect (and there’s almost an overwhelming amount of things and events to reflect on). First off, systemic and ongoing racism continues to hurt, kill, traumatise, and re-traumatise countless people and, the recent events in Minneapolis and beyond, unfortunately, are only the latest manifestation.

Individuals in positions of power and authority have a choice: a choice to use dialogue based on empathy rather than discipline and punishment to address a conflict or a disagreement; a choice to respect and support the rights and dignity of every person; and a choice to own their mistakes and accept accountability for their actions. There have been far too many instances of individuals and institutions leveraging the inherent power differential and misusing their power and authority to inflict unnecessary harm and distress on fellow human beings, including inmates, students, individuals with mental illnesses, persons with physical, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, children and adolescents, sexual and gender minority individuals, and employees across industries. I do not stand for unfairness and injustice, and I hope for a world where everyone sees that people are people, as diverse as we may be.

Despite my own experience of unfairness, I have been as focused and productive this past month as I have ever been. Besides my full-time role as a graduate student, I managed to stay on track with my Spanish lessons and meditation practice, not to mention bringing the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Talk Saves Lives: An Introduction to Suicide Prevention presentations to over 100 community members. This was particularly fitting, given that May is the Mental Health Awareness Month, and my sincere gratitude goes to all the community partners who helped make it possible. All in all, I’m hopeful and excited for June, and wish the same for everyone.  

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