By Suzie Price, Third District Councilwoman
At the time of writing this article, the country was weeks away from the November election that features significant decisions for voters at the local, county, state, and federal levels.
Personally, I am an optimist and seek out the best in people, no matter the situation. Since March, when we began responding to COVID-19, I have made a special effort to contribute positively to our community with my “Extraordinary People” series, which highlights community members going above and beyond. As well, I’ve aimed to fill my social media account with beautiful Long Beach images. To help build understanding, I’ve held virtual community meetings on race, and hosted mental health discussions to support those who may be struggling emotionally. Despite my optimism, it is hard to deny that we are all facing challenging issues deserving serious focus, hard work, and sincere attention. All Americans want to see our nation succeed and prosper and live up to the goal of a more perfect union. I am not writing this letter to tell you how you should vote or advocating for any political cause. I have faith in Long Beach voters to make the decisions that will lead our City in the right direction. There may be disagreements about how to achieve this, but we can all agree we want what is best for our city, our state, and our country.
Instead I am writing to advocate for something more important than politics. I am writing to advocate for kindness. I am writing to advocate for understanding. I am writing to encourage us to make a concerted effort to bridge the divides we see throughout our society and community. Political party, race, socio-economics, geography, religion, or any other difference or division we see within our society, is minor in comparison to the things we all agree on. Our differences should not fuel us; our commonalities should serve to bring us together and inspire us to improve the world around us.
In an odd twist, COVID-19 brought people together in creative ways to lend a hand and make our world a little brighter. But now politics threatens to divide our community in the lead up to our election. So much these days seems to focus on the divisions and demonizes those who disagree with us. We need to overcome these challenging times and not fall victim to hate. We must work to find common ground, build the relationships that make our community stronger, and bridge our differences. Being motivated by fear and hate undermines every part of our community and furthers our inability to solve the important problems that we must address.
This is the challenge of our time: A return to community, a return to kindness, a return to relationships, and a desire to grow our circle of community. We must make a focused effort to improve our communication. Addressing social isolation and polarization is essential if we are to break out of the cycle of negativity, violence, aggression, and division. This is not something you or I can solve alone. It will take us all making this a priority. Without each of us striving to be more compassionate and understanding, the problems will only grow more severe. It is through unity and a shared mission of kindness that we can shape the world around us for the better.
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