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Celebrate The Goodness In Humans.

Posted on | June 11, 2020 | 1 Comment

Dylan’s New Album

Mike Magee

Good news in today’s world is like a fugitive, treated like a hoodlum and put on the run. Castigated. All we see is good-for-nothing news. And we have to thank the media industry for that. It stirs people up. Gossip and dirty laundry. Dark news that depresses and horrifies you. On the other hand, gospel news is exemplary. It can give you courage. You can pace your life accordingly, or try to, anyway. And you can do it with honor and principles. ” Bob Dylan/2020

When our world was in turmoil 50 years ago, a guiding voice back to sanity was that of Robert Allen Zimmerman of Duluth, Minnesota. A year away from age 80, he has mercifully appeared again in a nation’s moment of need. With our nation plagued by the same chronic issues – greed, avarice, hatred, racism, depression – Bob Dylan releases his new album, Rough and Rowdy, and granted a timely interview to Douglas Brinkley, including the excerpt above from the New York Times.

Failed leadership, an unprecedented pandemic, and breaking-point racial injustice are challenging Americans’ resilience and undermining mental health. Behavioral scientists are busy measuring the psychological toll and offering tips on how best to cope.

One suggestion that honors Dylan’s quest for “honor and principles” is to search your recent past for a concrete story or two that spotlights the best of humanity, and retell these stories to others. Here are two that surfaced for me this week.

1. Bernell Grier:

In viewing “The Biggest Psychological Experiment In History Is Running Now” in this week’s Scientific American, the banner photograph above of a masked woman looked familiar. Sure enough, I did know her. I hadn’t seen Bernell Grier for twenty years. She and I were part of the 2000 class of the David Rockefeller Fellowship, a leadership training program supported by the New York City Partnership. Two qualities stood out back then about Bernell – commitment and joyfulness. At the time, she headed a community banking initiative focused on assisting at-risk communities. A perpetual smile and laugh-tinged hopefulness was the leading edge of this enlightened realist and pragmatist. I admired her greatly.

Twenty years later Bernell serves as executive director of IMPACCT Brooklyn which serves historically black neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Covid has made her job harder. As she says, “Seniors are fearful of going out, fearful of anyone coming to their front door. They also are not tech-savvy…they need someone to hold their hand and help them through the process…This is a spotlight on what has existed for too long. When you’re looking at [solutions], make sure that income equality and a racial-equity lens is a filter for everything that’s put in place.”

2020 Road Scholars, Havana, Cuba

2. Cuban Dominoes:

In January, 2020, we spent 11 days in Cuba with the Road Scholars. During the trip, Trump announced new restrictions on travel to the island, adding to the prior year’s elimination of cruise ships and flights to all cities except Havana which shaved nearly 10% off tourism. The day of this latest offensive, a Cuban professor, Javier Dominguez, gave us a lecture on the Cuban American relationship over the past century. In closing, he mentioned that Martin Luther King was his hero and cited the “I Have A Dream” speech. His version that day:

“I dream of the day my grandsons and your grandsons can travel to Cuba freely and play baseball together in a peace and love environment. I dream of the day when there is no blockade on the Cuban people, and Americans and Cubans can travel to Cuba and to USA without restrictions. I dream of the day when there will be a big bridge of  love  between our two peoples. I dream of the day when the light of love and friendship illuminates the sky that covers our two peoples. I dream of the day when violence disappears in the lives of our beloved sisters and brothers of the USA. I dream of the day when my people don’t suffer from shortages because of injustice and blockades. Yes, today I have a dream. God bless you.”

One other lasting memory was the opportunity to be taught Double Nine Cuban Dominoes by two aging Cubans, committed to the game and members of a community based club. We were so taken by the game that we ordered this professional set and taught the game to our grandchildren. In addition to introducing them to the rules, and the terms (tiles, pips, graveyard), I searched for a picture of “Cubans playing dominoes” to print to show them.

The first image that popped up was one of President Obama in Cuba engaging in the national pastime the month he green lighted flights to the island. Hopefully, following the November election, they will resume.

These are difficult times. They demand resilience, strength, determination, and hopefulness. Celebrating decent human beings in your own life can help. Have a listen to Dylan’s new work HERE. And consider sharing your “good news” here. Comments welcomed.

Comments

One Response to “Celebrate The Goodness In Humans.”

  1. Celebrate The Goodness In Humans. – Health Article – Health & Wellness Blog
    June 30th, 2020 @ 9:50 pm

    […] This is only a snippet of a Health Article written by Mike Magee Read Full Article […]

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