This is a creative space updated occassionally with program news as well as short reflection posts by the Fellows. Posts will reflect on current activities and events happening in the Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program.
There were many things my dad cultivated in himself and in others, but two things specifically: kindness and joy.
He said kindness was always an option and a choice in opposition to anything else. Kindness is never fleeting and can be deliberately and intentionally cultivated. Although my dad was unable to speak or move for most of his hospitalization, his generosity brought tears to the staff’s eyes wherever he was. His forms of appreciation are not hard to carry out, but require careful attention.
This semester, our ’22 Fellows partnered with Olive, a healthcare technology company, to collaborate on the Autumn 2020 Leadership Challenge. Olive, which has recently attained unicorn status with a $1.5B valuation, is home to BLF Program Alum, Nick Eifel ’18 and Kylen Bailey ’19 who provided leadership and guidance for the program’s first Alumni led challenge.
COVID-19 has impacted me in many ways. Initially, like most Americans, I did not understand the severity of the virus and downplayed the potential impact it would have. As transmission rates and cases began to increase, I realized that the virus was much more serious than I had imagined. As time passed, my frustration grew; politicians were not listening to expert scientists that have dedicated their lives to understanding and handling national health crises. Instead of empowering experts, we decided to turn this pandemic into a political matter, and unfortunately, Americans have paid the price. In addition to incompetent leadership, our country has failed frontline workers who risk their lives every day as servants to their community. We sent doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals into high-risk situations without providing them with the necessary PPE and safety equipment to stay safe and do their job effectively; this is like sending front line soldiers into battle without guns and ammunition. Unfortunately, fatality is inevitable.
What are your personal reactions/feelings towards the current political climate and how has it impacted you?
A myriad of emotions spring to mind when I reflect upon the political climate I have been shaped by over my past twenty-one years of life, but especially the tumultuous past four years I have experienced since the 2016 election. My sense of self-importance is not inflated to the point of believing that my opinion is the sole correct answer. I do not write with the intent of providing a viable solution to the state of the world or simply because I care about democracy. The country is failing, and I am set to graduate in May into a world of complete disarray. This is personal for me, as it should be for everyone in our nation, regardless of their place in life at the moment.
What is your reaction to COVID-19 and how has it personally impacted you and/or your plans?
I think it’s fair to say that, like the rest of the world, I am hurting because of COVID-19 and its effects. I left my Spring Break trip to close my sorority house for summer break while it was snowing, and I headed home. Over the next four months, I slowly lost hope for a normal return to school in August. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, I did not think I would get a chance to live under one roof with my four younger siblings, parents and dog again. I was able to find light in those moments. I was able to spend quality time with my family and was able to take a step back and appreciate the smaller things in life that are easy to miss in the chaos of daily life. Family dinner is something that always helps me reset and re-ground myself. This has been a staple in my large family for my entire life and since going to college, I have grown to miss this quality time with my parents and siblings.
What are your personal reactions/feelings on the continuous incidents of racial injustice in the country; how has it impacted you?
To make a long answer short, it is sickening. Racial injustice is embedded in every aspect of our lives from city planning and environmental hazards, to education, financial mobility, and beyond. It is so engrained in life that believing racial justice is an issue people can ‘agree to disagree’ on is beyond harmful.
As someone who identifies as a non-Black queer Latinx man, I have a responsibility to personally unlearn any conscious or unconscious biases I may have and use that information to educate my respective communities. In the Latinx community, it is important to understand how issues of racial injustice are perpetuated by non-Black Latinx folk and to hold those individuals accountable. My engagement with activism and advocacy work is personal as I take to the streets to protect and demand the rights of my family, my friends, and my classmates.