June 17, 2015 was a sad day in American history, with the slaying of nine members of the Charleston community as a result of a gunman at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. While each family mourns the loss of their loved ones, the rest of the country struggles with the questions that remain from the tragedy, including a question of ongoing racism and segregation in our country.
Members of the black community have mentioned in news articles that other races cannot understand what they endure. I used to think that if I did not make decisions based on socioeconomic issues, then I was not acting in a discriminatory manner. Through others, I have realized that there are so many behavioral and emotional choices that I make each day due to my own socioeconomic status and I cannot duplicate the emotional reaction that those choices evoke in someone else.
As a member of my community, I have struggled with what I can do to help. With the guidance of leaders in my community, I have come to realize that the first, most necessary action we can take to help in the struggle, is show compassion.
Compassion is defined as a response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help. The word is derived from a Latin word with the meaning to love together with.
Compassion is comprised of the word compass. Do you remember using a compass in middle school math class? A compass is a tool that draws circles or arcs by adjusting the radius between two points and is utilized in mathematics and navigation. To use the tool, you place the end of a tool on one point and the other end of the tool on the other point and the compass determines the connection in between the two points. That is what compassion is—a connection between two points that navigates your actions.
While you may not be able to understand how those in your community are suffering, stay emotionally connected to your community and respond with compassion when they hurt. Take the lead and find the connection between two entities in your community, show compassion, and use the connections and your compassion to navigate your actions.
Executive Search Manager