1) Tell us about New York as YOU see it.*
Born and raised here in New York I’ve experienced the communities and connections that are also found in small town America. It is fast-paced, determined, and sometimes relentless, but beneath the commotion is a caring people who are considerate enough to live amongst each other in peace.
New Yorkers are ambitious and solution-oriented, but are also compromising and diplomatic. But the pace of the city often drowns out the compassion of the people, the outcry of our children, and the care and concerns of the communities. This city, in all of its diversity, wants to grow and accommodate, but suffers from the lack of innovative ways to create safe spaces.
This city is resilient, because its people are so, and they are also willing and determined to evolve into a city of the future.
2) Tell us about New York as YOU see it.*
I want to make healthy dialogue normal and accessible in New York. For four years my company I Am Perspective has held hundreds of conversations on dozens of topics all around the City, bridging countless gaps, and learning people the importance of empathy and perspective. I want to have these dialogues in schools, churches, community centers, and homes of New Yorkers. I want to expand our training of facilitators to have more of these conversations than our 2-man team can handle.
I want there to be safe spaces in schools for open dialogue between students, staff, and parents, as well as at home in their communities. There is a compassion that runs in the hearts of New Yorkers, that surfaces only for mishaps and tragedies, and I want to see spaces for that compassion to be fostered and articulated. As our demographics continue to change I want to see us not only expand and grow, but do so with care and respect for each other.
I want to see families and communities of this great city begin to talk and heal, recognizing that we are more alike than ever before.
What about this idea is needed in New York right now?*
In a city of roughly 9 million people we need more consistent spaces for empathetic conversations to be held. We are having national and global conversations like we’ve never had before, and New York needs to be a city pioneering this progression. Black Lives Matter and other movements have moved us into a conversational space, and we’ve just elected the president of empathy. Our city must be at the forefront of what it looks like to navigate these massive shifts in culture.
In this global pandemic, many of us are shifting perspectives with virtual learning, now is the time to capitalize on our collective attention and offer New Yorkers a way to truly connect in empathy.
What have you done to move your idea forward?*
Since 2017 we’ve hosted hundreds of conversations around New York City covering topics from Black Mental Health, to NYC Educator perspectives. We’ve serviced the community out of our own pockets, and have created safe spaces for dialogue in homes, communities, and local business. We’ve facilitated panel discussions, and orchestrated several performance shows for the people.
We’ve found our way into several schools in different boroughs, teaching the art and importance of conversation to students. When the pandemic hit, we pivoted our business to hold empathetic spaces for New Yorkers coping with a new reality.
We partnered with a local seamstress and began creating masks for essential workers. We gave out hand sanitizers, cards and other PPE to the needy around New York, while reestablishing our conversational skills into DEI workshop training. We also continued to work virtually with underprivileged children supplying them with art supplies for several different projects. And in the last year we have been cultivating a community of writers to create an anthology book titled “We Are Perspective,” which aims to collect the many stories of people’s existences through these unprecedented times, because everyone’s perspective matters!