February 1, 2017
Since January 20, 2017, we’ve been receiving jarring news about President Trump’s actions and executive orders. These include: seeking confirmation of a head of the Department of Education who would allow guns in schools, rolling back the “burden” of the Affordable Care Act, building “the wall” along the Mexico border, expediting deportation and cutting funds to sanctuary cities, speeding approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines as well as environmental reviews, and halting funds to agencies that provide abortion services. On January 21, in a historic response to what was expected from the new administration, millions of people around the world peacefully took to the streets to express their outrage.
Then, on January 27, 2017, the news brought us the signing of an executive order on border security and immigration that restricts entry into the United States for 90 days for individuals from seven countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Given these recent events, I am cancelling the regular edition of Expresso this month. Instead, I ask that you take some time to stay updated on the news, read the poem and my brief tip below, and consider attending or tuning in to the Town Hall Meeting on President’s Executive Order on Immigration this Friday, February 3, from 12:10 p.m. – 1 p.m. on Parnassus in Cole Hall (and video stream). I’ll be there with others to provide an update about the impact the executive order will have on UCSF as well as subsequent actions and what they mean for our community. We’ll also review the campus resources available to support those directly affected or who are feeling distress.
It is times like these that I am reminded of the importance of kindness as a means of countering fear and disillusionment, and the following poem by Naomi Shihab Nye says it all…
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
As always, please let me know what’s on your mind by sending an email to [email protected].
Dan’s Tip of the Month
ADVOCACY: one phone call at a time! Phoning our legislators, as the New York Times recently reported, is an extremely effective way to make your voice heard regardless on which side of the political fence you live. Activists of all political stripes recommend calling your elected officials, not just emailing or venting on social media. Several lawmakers, along with those who work for them, have stated that a phone call from a constituent holds more weight than an email, and far outweighs a Facebook post or a tweet. Depending on where you stand, useful scripts can be found on the internet but making your phone calls as personal as possible is most effective. And here’s a tip within a tip: put these phone numbers in your contact list on your phone for easy access…