It’s interesting that after having been in New York for about 3 months now, it seems I have literally met everyone from everywhere. Just recently, I met a couple randomly at a show who were from Spain who were huge fans of Whitney Houston and shared with me the political climate in their country and what it means for them. Prior to which, I met an interesting individual from Holland, who took it upon himself to show me the city and I enjoyed listening to him about his context of work as their culture encourages a work life balance and how he travels the world meeting different people. I have also met a native born American, who is of South Korean descent and chooses not to identify as Asian American but just as Asian as she is still rooted deeply in the culture of her heritage. I met an interesting bi-racial couple who both are native New Yorkers but their parents immigrated from Italy and Trinidad and Tobago respectively.
These are just some of the interesting people I have come across. I can only imagine the stories that people have and how far back they go. How they were raised, what the world looks like for them and how they interact with it. It seems to me, that there is a huge space of interaction that can exist in a city as busy and rush as New York, and yet we miss it.
In our day to day routine, we miss the fact that the people we casually bump into are history. They are stories. This especially became real for me, when I lost a friend recently. I can imagine that in the lives we lead today, he might be just someone, a statistic and not having a story or life. But for those of us that knew him, we know his heart, his potential and how different he was. We interacted with his story. In himself he was a person of significance. How different would we view and interact with people if we saw them that way? As channels of stories and history that ought to be recognized and appreciated. I’m learning now to be open to the experiences and opportunities to interact with people. I’m open to knowing the stories of different people and allowing for that by being open myself and sharing my story. It’s important to have this awareness of others. In that place of awareness, can we be cognizant of the human struggle. This would be inclusive of but not limited to human rights, intersectionality, privilege, gender gaps and classicism. These stories feed into what as leaders, practitioners and advocates are fighting for. It starts from that place of awareness. The meeting point of stories and of people.