I think to be truly progressive is to be innovative. You can’t have one without the other. And innovation must be rooted in love. Love for everything in this world and beyond. Contemporary history has been about power, not love. Colonization has told that story. Maybe integration tells the story of our future.
To be progressive, to progress, involves uplifting the downtrodden, and ensuring that they have food, clothing, shelter, and access to healthcare and education. Then, they must be empowered with the information, resources, and freedom to engage with the world. This means to engage with the natural, human, and digital environments. To make this happen we must think outside of the box and access the infinite potential of our imagination. The goal: to enhance the quality of life of all human beings while leveraging and cultivating the natural and digital environments. This is progress and this is innovation.
I picture a depressed mother, beaten down by the systematic disenfranchisement rooted in our country’s history. She receives public assistance and can barely get her child ready for school. She may even drink a little too much, and is so ashamed of her reality she doesn’t like to engage with people; especially those that “think they’re better than her.”
Maybe this mom begins to get calls from a social worker, once a week just to check in. The social worker wants to see how the mom is doing and what’s new with the child in school. The mom, slowly at first begins to warm up, open up, and after a month or two, begins to trust the social worker.
The social worker then might begin to visit the home once or twice a month instead of a call. As more trust is built the social worker brings the mom to social gatherings to meet other moms and dads and members of the community. In addition to food and beverages, these gatherings serve as information sessions for GED courses, TESOL services, job and computer training. Parents also engage in short activities designed to build self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth.
The gatherings take place in the community and are collaboratively organized by teachers, doctors, businesses, elected officials and colleges. College students, as part of their curriculum, help facilitate this process. Everything from the initial phone calls to the gatherings are warm, nurturing, and engaging. The mom along with other parents, begin to attend more frequently to share their life experiences and their hopes for the future.
Online networks and groups are created. Parents connect more frequently and continue to learn skills via phone apps or computers at the local library, community center, or school. Parents become energized, more helpful with homework, and are now driven to get off of welfare and use their new skills and confidence to get a job with benefits. These parents then begin to work and support other parents — each one teach one.
Whether via telephone, text message, apps, computers or online programs, technology, working as human centered tools, can support a process like this which is so desperately needed in a country where 50% of children live in poverty. We need higher Ed, and everyone that serves the community to work together. And we need to push the politicians, who work for us, to ensure this gets done. But this needs to get done now. The progressives must lead the technological revolution by placing their hearts at the center of the microchip, and using their creative minds to design the next hardware and software solutions of tomorrow.