There is a lot of talk these days about disruptors, disruptors in the market place, disruptors in business, technology, books on how to be a disruptor. 2017 will go down in history I am quite sure as a year of political and social disruptors. It started in 2016 as Donald Trump disrupted the political scene by becoming a front runner and ultimately becoming the leader of the free world, the POTUS. Regardless of whether you love, hate or are indifferent to that fact, there seemed to be an atmosphere that evolved where division was bred and organizations that had been silently growing over the past 30+ years felt that it was time to come out and be bold. (I ask that you read this article in it's entirety and grasp the spirit of my blog) About that time my book Lily's Deliciously Different Day was released and as I would speak in schools about why it is essential that we are different, the children would share how much they hated the way adults were treating each other because they didn't agree and meanwhile the administrators and teachers are telling me bullying has only gotten worse (they watch us more than they listen).
Here are just some of the Disruptors that have shaped our year....
Prior to 2016 there was a ground swell from a group called Black Lives matter growing in response the to the abuse and killings of African Americans at the hands of police. One football player began to silently take a seat to bring attention to this and after speaking to a soldier, decided to kneel in honor of the lives lost. In 2017 this became one of the biggest controversies in NFL history.
A Neo Nazi group decided to march in protest of a confederate leader's statue that was to be removed as it was an affront to those who suffered under the history of slavery. Again another media frenzy as cities all over the south began to consider taking down their statues and changing the names of schools. Come to find out, these groups had been marching and silently growing for decades somewhat unnoticed. The second thing I would like to point out here is most of these statues were erected during the civil rights movement as sort of an F-you, stay in your place, not as a post war salute. A civil rights movement mind you, that ensued because 100 years after the abolition of slavery, they still didn't have the basic rights and freedoms promised to them by our forefathers and freedoms many of them were fighting for on the front lines of our wars.
The next big disruptor of 2017 was the #MeToo campaign in response to the sexual harassment and abuse in the work place starting with Hollywood Celebrities finally saying ENOUGH! to the abuse by leaders and icons in the industry. Women and some men all over the world began posting #metoo. It was another media frenzy as some of the most respected names in Hollywood were exposed for decades of abuse. Side bar here, while this was long over due and I am glad that people are finally standing up, I am still a bit outraged that we have focused more on verbal advances on adults than the children who have been sexually abused and seem to be swept under the rug. Corey Feldman and I believe Drew Barrymore came out years ago and still very little response on this issue.
Another disruptor that is dear to my heart and not as much of a media frenzy, is suicide. My heart breaks every time I hear another story of one who has taken their life or of one who is considering it. It was a small media frenzy because we seemed to have a rash of stars this year that took their lives and a movie called 13 Reasons Why hit the screen with a huge audience. We want to make sense of this, we want to stop this epidemic, but how? How can we help others understand how vital they are.
Some of the other disruptors that weren't as big but definitely significant were *Bullying *Fair Wages *Corporate Excess *Immigration *Welfare *Foster Care Abuse*Homeless Issues *ISIS *Pipelines *Lack of Funding for schools, mental health, CPS etc.
As the year came to an end, I pondered these issues and it hit me, they all came down to one thing.... VALUE! All of these issues came down to value, or the lack thereof for our ourselves and our fellow human beings. If we valued all humans like we claimed in our founding documents "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." If we really did this, then the media would have had very little to talk about last year and love would have reigned. If we loved others as ourselves according to the Bible to which many in our country hold, well all of these things would be non-issues.
I am actually glad these things came into the light and that after decades of injustice people are taking a stand because we can't address what we can't see or refuse to see. For many of my friends of different races, these things were not new news, they had been affected by these issues all along, for the rest of us, it was time to face it. Sooooo VALUE...... How do we get there? How do we get to a place where our values are people, where we stop marginalizing and labeling others and as Brene' Brown says stop dehumanizing them by those labels. (I highly recommend her book Braving the Wilderness.) Princeton has done some incredible studies on the power of collective thought, how do we use that power to change this? How do we move to a society that values those around us, those to whom whether we recognize it or not, we are connected? I have some thoughts and a mission for 2018
1. No labels! Look at all people as an individual to whom you are connected and are of great value 2. Seek to know and understand others different from you 3. Agree to disagree but not dismiss. That other person has beliefs that are as real to them as yours are to you. Value them as a human, we aren't all supposed to agree and believe the same 4. Remember in all cases that we are only as strong as our weakest. 5. There is Enough! We can share! Conquer issues instead of people 6. Assess your values. What we value and whom we value determines everything 7. Become a Disruptor, a Disruptor of Value. Value people over personal bias and profits
I could get down and hopeless and keep spinning these records by focusing on the frenzy or I could change the conversation. My mission this year is to continue to speak to as many organizations, companies and schools about this Great Disruptor; VALUE and how it can make stronger homes, communities, corporations and a better world. I am relaunching my web show with the focus being The Disruptors, I will be interviewing individuals, corporate leaders, humanitarians and educators that are true value disruptors. I want these leaders to show us the way, people like Johnny Holmes an African American man who befriends Neo Nazi's, companies like Virgin and Toyota, a group of activists who are one by one trying to improve the lives of those who have been incarcerated, and many more. If you know these disruptors, send me a message, I want to know them and to bring their light forward, for Martin Luther King's words hold so true, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Will you join me in this movement, will you be a Value Disruptor?