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For every cloud there is a silver lining, and we’re finding it in our work for mutual understanding and peace
First, let me wish a Merry Christmas to our Christian brothers and sisters.
Despite the challenges over the last few years, Americans became more resilient and had their and our consciousness raised in so many ways:
1) We became aware that we’re all one people. We’re more alike than different, that our humanity is cut from the same cloth. While the pandemic was devastating for many families, it was also the greatest equalizer. To a certain degree, we were all equally susceptible to the virus, to getting sick and even dying from it. We all had our lives paused, shut in by the need to shelter in place, separated from our families, friends, and loved ones. All of us were struggling in some way, together. In all our various ways, we all became more human by recognizing our shared frailties and vulnerabilities. We saw this at ING in the incredible response we had to our three webinars on spirituality in times of crisis that garnered nearly half a million views in a short time.
2) We grew in appreciation of the value of human connection to our health, well-being, and happiness. If the internet and social media were the mediums that brought us together at one time, Zoom became the essential connector for people across the nation and world. People came together to listen to talks and engage with one other in spaces and on issues that wouldn’t have been possible without virtual conferencing. New relationships were formed and new opportunities were opened. As a result, for ING, we’ve been able to deliver our seminars and presentations across the country, doubling our reach last year from one to two million, and, this year reaching new institutions that we couldn’t have reached without new technology in platforms like Zoom.
3) We committed to addressing the inequities that result from racism. Americans are now recognizing the need for better public education about marginalized groups, and the calls for ethnic studies and DEI training have never been greater! At ING, we released lesson plans for educators on countering individual and systemic racism, delivered DEI panels on creating more inclusive and equitable communities and countering implicit bias, and conducted more workshops and talks than ever before on countering Islamophobia for the California and US Departments of Education, hospital networks, corporations, law enforcement agencies, and other institutions.