Here’s a thought that’s so loud in our heads, we can’t turn it off: for so long, we’ve been working against inertia as we work toward change—to undo and rebuild. We worked against habit and “how we do things.” But now everything’s been undone and we have the opportunity to lead how it will be remade. What role can each of us play in bringing good and beauty from the chaos?
The coming weeks and months will expose what’s fragile and strong. Habits and systems will be disrupted. What’s happening will expose greater inequity, vulnerabilities and pain. It will accelerate changes in how we communicate, and force us to re-evaluate every plan we’ve made. This creates opportunities for those working in their own interest to strengthen their hand.
That means it’s on those who work in the public’s interest—for the greater good—to step up. We have an opportunity to replace the old systems and habits to build the world we wish existed. The things we have tried to change and make better may not exist at all when this is over. We have to be willing and ready to lead and to continue to make room for those whose voices we don’t hear often enough.
These aren’t happy times. But they can be meaningful.
At this year’s frank gathering, we focused on how specific emotions lead us to different actions. We ended with hope—that last emotion to escape Pandora’s box after she had released all of the evils into the world. Today, scholars have found accuracy in that myth—hope gives us agency and inspires us to act to overcome all of those other evils.We opened the block on hope with Regina Spektor’s “Birdsong.” Stephanie Gutierrez-Diaz’s performance captures what’s most powerful about hope. We hope you’ll take a minute to watch the performance and spend a moment in the adjustment to this reality to reflect on what brings you hope.
Hope is not naive. It is constructive, brave and focused. Like you. It’s a verb, not a noun. Hope in an uncertain and frightening world offers us a path forward, an intention to act and meaning when that feels scarce.
Yours in the fight.
The Center for Public Interest Communications team
Ann Christiano, Ellen Nodine, Matt Sheehan, Brendan Martin and Annie Neimand