Usually as Thanksgiving approaches I find myself reflecting on all that I have to be grateful for in my work and in my life. This year, while I am no less thankful, I can’t help but also be a little fearful about the direction of the world, and threats to the freedoms we all cherish.
Just in the last month we witnessed a horrific rise in expressions of antisemitism. Dangerous rhetoric seemed to rise like a tide of hatred from celebrities and politicians alike, evoking fears that we had hoped to leave in the history books but that are all too real once again.
We seem to be at a tipping point where our nation can choose a path of healing and hope, or we can go down a darker tunnel where fear, hatred and oppression define us. I wish I was overstating things. I don’t think I am.
The Power of Your Vote
I became a naturalized United States Citizen in 2006, after moving here from South Africa in 1999. My first in-person vote was 2008, going to the polls for Barack Obama. Every time I vote I am struck by how lucky I am to have a voice in our democracy. I’m also a little perplexed by the vast numbers of people who choose not to participate.
With women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, civil rights, voting rights and countless other issues that directly impact our lives all on the ballot this year, this is not the time to sit on the sidelines.
If you want information about how to vote, the League of Women Voters has developed a website called Vote 411, where you can find all the information you need about how to cast your vote. The site helps you make a voting plan, check your registration, and you can access a sample ballot for wherever you live. Please visit the site. And, please share it with others!
The Importance of “Be Mindful”
For me, voting is an example of empathy in action. It’s a moment when we can look beyond ourselves and make a difference for the common good. Similarly, at TEN7, our promise is to “lead with empathy” in all of our interactions with our clients and our colleagues.
Last month, as part of our “Living Our Values” series, we took a deeper look into the value: Be Mindful, which I believe provides the foundation for empathy. It’s how we stay present, listen, and serve our clients better as we try to make a positive impact in the world.
Our Director of Operations, Dani Adelman, followed up my post with her thoughts about how Be Mindful requires us to communicate better and invite people into conversations. I hope you’ll read more of her thoughts, as well as perspectives from some of our other team members.
Focusing on the Good
In the midst of the disturbing news of the past month, it’s nice to be reminded there is still a lot of good in the world. That’s why it was particularly meaningful to work on the relaunch of the website for Second Harvest Heartland.
Second Harvest Heartland plays a critical role in helping distribute healthy food to those who need it the most. One in 17 people in the U.S. experience food insecurity, and one in 11 kids don’t have regular access to the nutrition they need. We’re proud to work with Second Harvest Heartland and are excited to have helped produce a beautiful new site that will help them continue their valuable work.
Exercising Your Rights
At the end of the day, our best hope to make progress on difficult issues, and to take care of our neighbors, is to vote. This simple step is both our right and our responsibility. Vote. Vote. Vote.
In 2020, I interviewed Open Government Technologist, Waldo Jaquith, for our podcast. We discussed the importance of paper trails for vote recounts, and the possibilities around open source voting machines. It’s an interesting discussion and worth a listen, but improving “how” we vote will only be possible if we elect people who RESPECT the vote. That’s where you come in.
So before we settle in for Thanksgiving Dinner later this month, there’s a critical step we all need to take in the coming days. Please get out and cast your ballot! It’s not hyperbole to say the future of our nation depends on it.
Until next time,