12 weeks. That is how many weeks until the newest addition to our family is welcomed into this world. And as a first-time parent, I should be asking myself questions like:
“When do I select a pediatrician?”
“What the heck is a DockaTot?”
“How many chicken nuggets is too many to have in a week?”
But 2020 has my mind racing with questions like:
“How long should we quarantine up to my due date?”
“Should I not consider Vietnamese names for fear she will be teased?”
“Do I want family members or friends, who support a presidential candidate whose moral character I do not standby, in my daughter’s life?”
As we all anticipate the results of tomorrow’s Presidential election, we also fear the aftermath. There hasn’t been an election with such suspense since 1932 at the backdrop of the Great Depression, when one-fourth of our population was out of work, people were starving in the streets and banks were collapsing.
And right now, we have a country divided. We have become polarized by our party affiliation.
Judgement is being placed on neighbors based on the sign in their yard. Families who at the onset of the pandemic hosted video calls to play virtual board games, now host combative text threads on the presidential race. We are living in a world where hate, bigotry, and ugliness has been given the green light to surface and be elevated.
And I will admit, I have taken the backseat the past few months as I digest everything. When protests took to the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and people rallied together to help out-of-work parents feed their hungry families, I wanted to jump in alongside my fellow Americans but I stayed home. Being pregnant, I hesitated jumping into the in-person actions.
Instead, I’ve chosen a route to educate myself, my husband, my family, my friends and my social networks. Pushing aside the fake news and amplified media in search of the truths, which in our digitally dependent world is a job in itself.
I am not a social influencer. I do not have thousands of followers. But I do feel we each have a responsibility to educate, share our voice and speak up for others. And as I attempt to prepare for parenthood, this is the route I am taking. This effort will start small, but has big dreams.
Digest accredited content on topics like racial injustice, federal and local government infrastructure, early childhood education, immigration laws and mental health
Proactively have conversations with friends and colleagues from different backgrounds and beliefs to shed light into each other’s world
Buy children’s books that address and promote differences (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender) and baby gear that is gender neutral
Collaborate with my husband to determine core values for our family (i.e. “have compassion for others,” “have strong work ethic”)
By no means do I know what I am doing, we are all handling this world’s chaos in different ways, taking it day-by-day with no right or wrong guidance. But as we anticipate tomorrow’s election, and who knows how long it will take and what the results will be, it's upon each of us to determine how we will respond.
Though the media mostly highlights the negative in the world, there are many positives too, which give me hope for greater change. Change that we all can be a part of or create for future generations. As a to-be parent, I have understood more than ever, the importance of learning and taking actions that will create a better world for our children.
So I challenge each of you to determine your action as we await tomorrow’s outcome, whether it’s through the lens of a parent, college student, minority, immigrant, unemployed worker, etc. What commitment can you make to yourself to help improve the world we live in?
Ashlee’s father came to America as a refugee from Vietnam in 1980. Her mother is of American-decent. She is a seasoned start-up vet, with 9+ years of experience in lead generation, customer cultivation, value proposition, negotiation and account management. She is also a volunteer team member with VBP leading community partnerships.