Social Good

Growing Up White in America

Read Time: 3 min.

“This teenager was arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama…” The emcee at the Dr. Martin Luther King workshop paused his cadence to let the audience think of an answer. I missed the teenager clue and mentally filled in the blank with Rosa Parks, when he continued into the microphone, “…nine months before Rosa Parks.” My smug smile washed away. In my mind, Rosa Parks was...

The Palpable Tension of Race Between Us

Read Time: 3 min.

It’s a rainy day in San Francisco. The kind of rainy day when grey clouds blanket the world and her emotions. Umbrellas, rain jackets, and storefront awnings hide faces. The fog tangibly separates us. And we are connected only by our collective reflections on our individuality. I step out of the SF Museum of Modern Art, where I hadn’t made it past the top floor and it’s dramatic, diverse depiction...

How Art Has Changed My Life

Read Time: 4 min.

I was recently asked what experiencing a creative art taught me, if I could quantify its effect on my life, and what “good” came from it. As a self-proclaimed “arty farty” person, my first reaction is to soap box the importance of art in our culture.  How it shapes us and our reality.  How it’s used in marketing, film, politics, and is statistically proven as valuable for test scores and SAT’s. I ...

Nice vs Kind

Read Time: 2 min.

One of the many unintended side effects of becoming a parent is that you’re forced to develop a completely new relationship with the English language. I don’t mean that you’ll instantly gain an understanding of homophones, homonyms, and homographs – no such luck. What I mean is that you’ll learn that “sit on the couch” can mean a multitude of different things – ranging from the traditi...

Virtues

Read Time: 3 min.

Honesty. Truthfulness. Purity. Kindness. Forgiveness. Courage. Humility. Obedience. Integrity. Faithfulness. Trustworthiness. Peace. Mercy. Compassion. Perseverance. Love. Hope. Moderation. Generosity. Wisdom. Patience. Common Sense. Diligence. Forgiveness. Endurance. Cheerfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. Serenity. Loyalty. Contentment. Strength. Joy. Purity. Unity. Faith. Respect. Dignity. Hono...

My Actions & My Intent

Read Time: 3 min.

In recent years, I have noticed a trend: my friends and acquaintances have been justifying their not-so-great actions with the phrase, “but I’m not a bad person.” To me, that is a particularly nondescript way of defining one’s self. Because at any given time, the sum of the things that do define you will be far smaller than the sum of the things that don’t. I am a 27-year-old man. I am not a 26-ye...

The First and Only Rule of Being Good

Read Time: 3 min.

Being a good person is simple. Like most things, people tend to overcomplicate it. They scour the internet or ask the smartest people they know (i.e. parents), hoping for the missing piece to the puzzle. But like I said, it’s pretty simple – all you have to do is pay attention to religion. I’ll admit, coming from someone who isn’t religious, this might seem like shaky advice. Now, I’m not sa...

Being a Good Person?

Read Time: 5 min.

“I’m a good person.” “I try to live a good life.” “Everybody’s got their issues, but X is one of the good guys.” We hear these kinds of statements constantly. We might even say them ourselves. But what does it mean to be a good person? What does our culture have to say about it? I checked Twitter to see what came up the most commonly. People were saying things like “being a friend,” “having good m...

Call Me Old-Fashioned

Read Time: 3 min.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think technology is a little overrated. Yes, we can have pretty much anything we want delivered to us without even putting on pants. Yes, we don’t have to go through the hassle of making real friends when we can easily connect with people online. Yes, we don’t even need to know where we’re going before we get in the car. But just because we have unlimited power at our ...

Combatting Hate with Simple Relationships

Read Time: 3 min.

For Dawud and the Muslim American Society’s mosque in Katy, Texas, it all started with pig races. Soon after the group purchased land in the Houston suburb in 2006, their neighbor, Craig Baker, began hosting pig races and selling tickets to his friends and members of the public. In time, some 300 spectators showed up every Friday evening corresponding precisely with the jummah prayers—the holiest ...

Looking Back at Islam & the West

Read Time: 4 min.

In our post-9/11 world, the relationship between the “West” and “Islam” is often misunderstood. Perceived contrasts and persistent stereotypes often have nothing to do with reality, and tensions continue to increase in our polarized world. As these biases against, and fear of, others becomes deeper ingrained, it is more important than ever to take a look at our shared past to consider how we might...

Knowing Our History Without Repeating It

Read Time: 3 min.

The release of the video of the tasing and arrest of NBA player Sterling Brown –over a parking violation. The Black Lives Matter movement. A decision by National Football League owners to mandate that their players on the field stand for the singing of the national anthem. We’d like to believe we have left slavery and its legacy behind. But I wonder, as I read these stories, how far behind we have...