Creative expression and the powerful conversations that come as a result, have been a way through which I have been able to understand myself in a deep and substantive way. Part of that understanding form me, is a knowing that there is an inner connectedness amongst us all and when I remember that, all things seem possible.
In my work as a filmmaker and speaker I get to see the transformative power of that connection. People walk into one of our screenings as strangers and they leave knowing that their life experience is actually a shared experience, which at it's core is a pretty mind blowing realization. Once we are reminded that we are not alone, hope is born.
Many people say we live in dark times. I disagree. I think we are living in a time when more people are waking up to their humanity than ever before. We're remembering that we're part of something bigger and that our intentions and our actions matter.
My biggest dream is to live a life of consequence and to have my work contribute to humanity feeling connected to itself in a meaningful way.
My greatest hope for our country is that we keep talking to one another. That we keep reaching out across this ever widening divide to try and understand one another. When an elementary school in my neighborhood was defaced with hate graffiti a group of us decided to take action and formed the Brave Coalition. We help initiate brave conversations that seek to understand, raise awareness and inspire action around themes of race, culture, acceptance, bias and privilege. By stepping out of our insulated and often privileged experiences and listening to other's perspectives we can make this world a safer and more loving place. As a species, we are wired for story but it's so important to step into the discomfort of our own story, to shine light in our own dark places and unconscious bias. We need to listen and to hold space for other's stories and when the time comes, to share our own, even when our voices shake.
Judaism teaches that every moment we experience is filled with holiness. Our task is to uncover the “ordinariness” of our daily lives and find it. As a rabbi and a musician, I am blessed with opportunities to help others find and nurture the sacred dimensions of everyday living.
The divisions in our nation are largely the result of our inability to see the holiness implanted within others. Dialogue has been replaced by diatribe. Unless and until we can learn to listen to each other – even when we disagree, we are in for a difficult time.
I just hope people begin to love one another more. We are so focused on what divides us that we ignore all the beauty the world has to offer. I grew up with parents who taught me nothing but unconditional love so it's all I know. I don't know I just want people to be better to each other at the end of the day.
2 Chronicles 7:14
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
As a man of faith, I believe wholeheartedly that the future of America rest in healing. Our nation is hurting, fractured, discombobulated, and torn.
I believe that our nation can only move forward by allowing The Father's love and compassion to heal us.
It is my call and passion to use my music along with The Father's words to be a voice to speak healing, hope, and comfort. Let's come together to heal!
My hopes are that my children turn out better than I have. I dream that my kids will know that their father worked hard to provide for them the best way possible, even working three jobs at times.
I pray that our country can become united as one, and all the racism and senseless killings stop. Fredrick Douglass said, "Without struggle, there is no progress." That being said, once this struggle is over, WE will have progression.
My hope for America is to wake up, to engage and not rely on those who do have the information to make decisions for them. It’s one of the biggest problems in a democracy. It's called the paradox of collective action... I think we have seen what ONE vote/voice/person means, especially in a world where media and spin rule what we think and feel, even if it is not true. We need to recognize the collective is not going to have our backs. The collective often times means the masses who are just influenced by what they see and hear, not what they have discovered to be true. My fear is people will just follow the collective. Not follow their heart. Not do what is best for EVERYONE around them.
Perhaps this country needs to experience this time of tumultuousness, despair, fear… Perhaps, this experience will motivate the half of the country who didn’t vote to do so in the future. My hope is just that, as a lobbyist I spend my time representing interests at the state capitol because the collective/masses don’t engage. My hope is one day what I do is not essential, but instead a tool of the well informed (everyone) to help execute what they believe our republic should look like.
I am a gay man, living in a country that is divided drastically by beliefs; beliefs that my "kind" are either entitled to or undeserving of the basic rights of the rest of the population. I fear that under the current administration, all of the hard work that many before me put in, to make our lives better, will be destroyed. I always view life with a glass half full eye. I am confident that this country will overcome the bigotry and hate our administration is preaching. I dream of the day that our society can live harmoniously with inclusion and acceptance rather than misunderstanding, mockery, and hate. I will continue to live in my truth, no matter who disapproves. I will always express myself to my fullest potential of ME. I will always love ME. I will never allow anyone to change ME!
It’s hard to accept reality sometimes, especially when it’s ugly. We can avoid, we can hide, we can stay in denial, but eventually the time comes when reality grabs you by the cheeks, stares you in the face and says, “I’m not going anywhere. Deal with me.” I’d say that moment has happened for me. Although the current state of our country right now still seems surreal, I have accepted the madness, the circus, the disappointment, the insanity of it all, as best I can at least.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity and get angry and feel silenced, and slowly we start to become that which we are fighting against. We become close-minded and judgmental and suspicious and hardheaded. That’s how hate works sometimes. It can be sneaky. It creeps in when our hearts are hurting, posing as an ointment for the wound, when really it’s just preying on us, waiting to infect us and turn us into rotten versions of ourselves.
It’s always been my belief that love is, and always will be, so much stronger than hate and I have a responsibility to live as an example of that belief. My hope is that together, we can focus on the bigger picture, harness this energy and use it to speak up, to create and contribute, always keeping in mind that the most beautiful works of art can be born out of the darkest times. Now is the time to get busy. Work hard. Love harder.
I dream of an America where citizens of all kinds live in constant gratitude and humility. ...where citizens realize how good life is in America and that it's power lies within its unity. I dream that all people have the courage to be who they want to be and to follow any direction that life may take them, without resistance or objection from others based on fixed beliefs, fear, or selfishness. I hope people remember to take long walks in the forest or mountains so that we all remain grounded in nature. It's so important to realize how dependent we are on what we create and how helpless we'll be if we ignore the future of our creations. America is not its economy and dominance, it is its peoples moral and their ability to stretch and to reach and to learn and to wonder and to envision what we are to become. Our strength lies within our ability to support each other and to learn from each other's mistakes. ...and to listen with an open heart and to act humbly and boldly for the advancement and preservation of our world.
It is so easy when you occupy a position of privilege to say that you care about systemic racism, sexism, and xenophobia without actually doing anything about it. We can only improve ourselves, but our goal is to fight indifference, and to make ourselves better people every day. A completely egalitarian society can't happen overnight, but every day we can make ourselves, and hopefully by proxy, the people we come into contact with, just a little bit better.
I view America’s hopes and dreams as many have… Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. And “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. For generations immigrants integrated and prospered in the great melting pot of America. Civil war very nearly destroyed America but in the end it was progress.
Each generation should be better off than their parents. It used to work that way but today, indeed, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. I fear as large corporations grow omnipotence income equality will never be reversed and personal liberty will erode. I dream of an America progressing, certainly suffering great battles, so racial and economic inequality is just a blip in a long and unbelievable story of the greatest country ever. The greatest dream has been realized; a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Let us make it work.
I think that Americans have lost hope. Hope in each other and hope in our democracy. I would like to see the American people find that again.
America is great! Regardless of who the president elect is, we must continue to believe in our country's greatness and splendor. I believe that hope will help us achieve that. Hope is the fire that will ignite people to take action. To be kinder, to stop judging, to encourage one another, to stop being prejudiced against others, to put an end to senseless violence, and to accept people's differences.
America. My thoughts on America. A question I've never been asked and I must admit was taken aback when confronted with answering. My nature is optimism. I want to believe even after a lifetime of expectations and disappointment that America has so much potential. With the recent election and the division in our country it would seem difficult to subscribe to the idea. Yet even with the tumultuous landscape of our political topography I am still a believer in what is possible.
Because in my lifetime I've seen what I thought was impossible unfold. A black president (no matter how hated by the right) who maintained a dignity that in recent history has not been matched. Gay marriage and a freedom for LGBT that never ceases to astonish me. And although things are far, far from right (I can't stand to think what the next four years will hold) I know I must continue to believe in people and America and what it is we might be capable of accomplishing. And although we do seem to get so much wrong somehow, someway we made this "progress" in the span of my lifetime that I never believed was possible.
And I thought my answer would be much more complicated and interesting but I'm afraid it is simple and uncomplicated.
We can not be complacent. We must be diligent and persistent. We must not waver in our belief that we can make this place better. Every day, voting, marching participating with a loud voice. It won't just happen without a great deal of hard work but we must first start with believing it is even possible.
My hope is that my daughter will be valued for whoever she is and whatever she wants to be.
My name is Jarrod. My hopes and dreams have a lot to do with my kids and being successful in their lives. Personally, the things I fear are for others in America. I have concerns about people not working together to create a better America. We must all take care of each other at home, work, and in our cities. If that does not happen we will be living a meaningless life, and that's what I fear.