Awakin Calls » Jackie Ehlers » Transcript
Jackie Ehlers: We're All in this World Together
Kozo Hattori: Today our special guest speaker is none other than Jackie Ehlers. Someone who really embodies today's theme of - we are all in this world together.It reminds me of this Hawaiian saying which basically boils down to “We’re all in the same canoe.” Nobody is outside of the canoe. I think we're reaching a point in our evolutionary history where we have to live that way. We can't kick anybody outside the canoe. We can't exclude anybody from any of our actions, our global politics, or even Mother Earth. So Jackie's going to be talking about that theme. And we are very lucky in the sense that not only do we get Jackie Ehlers but we get her daughter Michelle Ehlers who is going to be our moderator today. And for today's theme, Michelle grew up in this environment that Jackie embodies, so she actually is the complete embodiment of this. She grew up in a multi-racial family. She had three adopted sisters from different cultures or backgrounds, and by the time she was 12 years old she had already lived and landed on 4 continents.She speaks English, French and Mandarin, Chinese. She was involved in the production of M[adame] Butterfly on Broadway, and the film production. She lives and embodies this global perspective. She is part of this global leadership that is generating a seemingly impossible vision for every human being. Michelle, thank you for joining us. What are your thoughts on today's conversation?
Michelle Ehlers: Thank you Kozo! I am so excited to be here and I am going to introduce my mother. While thinking of introducing her I thought - maybe I don't need to read her bio, I will introduce her myself - but I realized that would take me years to do, since I know her so well. So I will actually refer to the bio because that really captures who she is. So my mother Jackie Ehlers is an award winning global educator, a community organizer and a human rights advocate who has lived and worked in Africa, Europe and North America. She taught students in over 100 countries in every age group from pre-school to college. She has taught in public and private schools including Muslim, Jewish and both Catholic and Protestants Christian schools. She has led teacher training programs, seminars, workshops, demonstrations and exhibits around the world. As Kozo mentioned,Jackie's own family is a reflection of her commitment that - "we are all in this world together". She and her late husband Frank have both biological and adopted children, and have created a multi-ethnic family that now represents Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America.
Jackie has inspired and created international organizations, musical and theatrical productions and events, radio and television programs, national laws, corporate training programs, seminars, teacher training activities, and a wide range of curriculum materials for all ages. She co-founded World Awareness, Inc., designed to promote global awareness and global citizenship through activities and products. She also co-founded Global Leadership Network, committed to generating Transformational Global Leadership and support leaders with a global vision.
Jackie is currently engaged in promoting awareness of and commitment to the fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which are centered around social inclusion, inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability. She is living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA and teaches English as a Second Language at Santa Fe Community College. She also celebrated her 80th birthday last October in 2014. So I have spent years living with mom and working with her. One of the things, Jackie,that you are doing right now, is working on book about your life. What do you want that book to convey?
Jackie Ehlers: Well, thank you for that fantastic introduction. The book is really not talking about my life;it’s actually designed to expand people's perspective to include all of humanity and to inspire everybody to see themselves as the co-creators of the world. It’s really an expression of my promise to the world. I have a promise to the world, it is an ongoing promise and that promise is to transform the prevailing conversations of the world from us vs. them - to we earthlings are all in this world together.
Michelle: So I know that promise to the world was articulated in that way in your middle aged years but you have also been driven by this commitment from a very young age. Can you tell us about what inspired you in this way?
Jackie: When I was 9 I lived in Minnesota, which is very cold, and I was making a snow angel and I guess you could call it meditating, and I had been taking astronomy in 4th grade and I was viewing the earth as Martian would see us, and as a Martian would see us, I thought some of our ideas are really, really strange and some them seemed to me to be really stupid for instance the idea that you can draw an imaginary line on the earth and people on one side of the earth are different from the other side or that people living where the sun turns the color of their skin different are different from people who live in cold climate. Or the other one that really got me was because I was reading -The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling and I was really identifying with Mogli. He is a boy in the book. One of the strangest thing that we think is that female earthlings are different from male earthlings and can't understand each other or relate to each other just seemed really, really ludicrous. So I decided at that point, I chose that for the rest of my life I would live in the truth that we are all earthlings together and our similarities and sameness far outweighs any differences that we have. And so then I knew - It’s easy to say intellectually but It’s very hard to experience and so I made my life's quest in that snow that day to take this sort of intellectual (my mind) view of life and to have experiences that will bring it into my life so I can really feel it and not just think it.
Michelle: And as I am listening to you I realize that not only did you intend to that for yourself but you certainly did that for me because I did not grow up in knowing those lines between races and gender and I had quite a shock as I grew up later on and hit that really hard in life. You certainly did a good job for me. Jackie your life and your choices in life has made a huge impact on me as well as your outlook and also on what I choose to be involved in, sometimes with you, sometimes separately. What kind of impact did your family have on what your passion is about?
Jackie: I think my dad had a huge impact on me. He came to United States from Lithuania when he was 12 and went to night school in San Francisco at a time when socialism was a big deal in San Francisco and I just remember that he was very interested in all of humanity and that Paul Robeson was one of his great heroes and that he cared very much about fairness and equality. My younger sister says one day he wanted to go into the Hotel Duluth, which was the biggest hotel in Duluth, to get a soft drink and my father told her that he would never step into that hotel because when Marian Anderson,the famous opera singer who is African American came to give a concert in Duluth, they wouldn't let her stay at that hotel. So I know he was living his ideals and knew that as I was growing up. The other thing is my youngest sister Leslie had Down syndrome and the doctors all advised to send her away and that was being done in Minnesota normally. There were no schools available or anything. And I was devastated. She was born when I was 9. I was 13 and I had a feeling of my father running away. I wound up thinking I can't help Leslie but I can help other kids. So I know that had something to do with my decision to adopt and the other part of my mission and the things I read about Pearl Buck and other people who adopted all over the world helped me say I am going to adopt children from different ethnic backgrounds and pull it all together. The only other thing I can think of is we were very independent when we were young. I was baby-sitting when I was 10. I worked in a hospital when I was 14 and with the help of a small scholarship I worked my way through the college and both my sisters both worked their way through college. So I don't know; life is something that we know that we can handle.
Michelle: That independence that you are talking about I am certainly aware of that and something that was instilled in me too and my daughter for that matter. Now part of this independence was that you had made some personal commitments before you met Frank - your husband and my father. How do you think those commitments interacted with your relationship to him?
Jackie: First of all I chose him because when I first met him it was a blind date when I told him all about what I plan to do about adopting and about moving overseas and living in a whole different culture so that I could actually call another place home and really know that the whole world could be home because I know it intellectually but moving to whole different could be very scary. So I knew I was going to live overseas for long enough so that that place whatever place it was could be home. And I told him about it and he loved it. And I told him I was moving to California the next year and he said -Oh! Could I go too?So he was not only one with my commitment but he had the same commitments and we married as partners.
Michelle: Got it! And how do think shared commitments impacted your relationship and your marriage?
Jackie: It made it a partnership. And you know when we were adopting children we had you and when you were two, Frank came home (he was working in a family service agency at that time, he was still getting his education) with a list of - how to place children from Michigan and we found Sheryl who was find months old listed as happy and outgoing but she was hard to place because she was biracial. We said wow! Let’s see if we could get her. She is 2 years younger than our daughter and if we can’t we will just any child who really needs a home and we got her when she was 15 months and during that year we found out about a 12 year old who was never going to find a home. We looked for other families for her and there were none. So we said that - well let's try it and so we adopted Sandy at twelve and a half. And then we saw Rachel taking back Sandy to the orphanage. Sandy had been in 10 foster homes and then an orphanage by the time she was 8. And when we saw Rachel who was in 6th and whose mother was Native American and father was father was African American. We all fell in love with her. And when Sandy said let's adopt her and we did. So that's the story about that. Then we were partners in moving overseas. Frank wrote 130 letters all over to find work and we found one job that would actually get our family of six there and back and would be a viable place to live. The first time moving to a new country that was Zambia was the hardest, took a lot of partnership and then other places also took a lot of partnership but then it gets easier as you do it. And when we did individual projects we supported each other all the way.
Michelle: And I remember lots of the individual projects, lots of family projects, lots of you and dad together with projects. I also remember that among everything I can remember that all you were doing focused somehow inside of this commitment. I am very aware of that. And in fact your commitment to the world has been expressed in lots of different ways and sometimes it involved public policy.Can you tell us about your involvement in the local and national removal of the color matching practices in adoption in the United States?
Jackie: I was teaching foster parenting at that time and I was telling everyone because of our experience that it was so much more important for a child to have a home. It's great for a child to have a matching home but it’s much more important to have a family than it is to have a matching family. There is just no comparison. And one of the foster parents said wow she is fostering all different kinds of children and all of a sudden foster renewal license said white children - what could she do? Well I said talk to my husband; we really want to do something about it. With her and my husband doing most of the work I was just the one yelled about it. We started an organization called the Committee to End Racism in Michigan’s Childcare System to do something about the whole area around Detroit where I was teaching and it grew and grew and we took an adoption convention and it grew to be the national coalition to end racism in America's child care system. My husband wrote a newsletter four times a year for twelve years called - The Children's Voice. And more and more people got involved. Sandy, the daughter that we adopted at 12 became the spokesperson for the organization she and Frank went to senate hearings and over a period of 12 years national law was passed that limits the time a child can stay in the system. While they are looking for a matching home if there is a family whether matches or not that wants to take them, the law allows that. And it’s still in effect. It’s made a huge difference
Michelle: Yes I remember that was quite a big project that happened over a long time. Can you share what you learnt from that project?
Jackie: Probably the most important thing I learnt is that a relatively small group of people can make a big difference because other people will join in as you work on it. And I think the other thing that I learnt and I still realize is the strange thing - that an expert is not necessarily the person most educated about something in an area but it’s someone who cares about and works on something large and ever, long enough to really understand it. And then suddenly whether they are educated or not, they become the expert.
Michelle: Now that was something that you and dad worked together on over the years. Dad passed away two years ago and he was limited in his capacities for quite some time before he passed away. How did his illness and his death impact your work for the world?
Jackie: His illness impacted in a way that I was responsible for the finances for the family so part of the time I was working less in the world and more with the things that we needed in the family. Whatever I was doing I tried to make it. It just came naturally to globalize everything I was doing and I had to spend time and effort taking care of him but right to end no matter how difficult it was, he was also working to make people more aware of the world and working with me and supporting me. And since he's passed on he is with me and everything I do. But all the time before that I had to do work it allowed me to see that I work with whatever people and resources are available, wherever I am.
Michelle: I know you as masterful in doing that and supporting Dad while you were taking care of him Santa Fe and that he was right up to the end working to work on another game for the world. I got a chance to work with him on that, both in the Where in the World game, which was published many years ago, and the Where in the U.S. game that was published more recently.
Jackie: Yes, that way the world game really expressed our commitment to make everybody aware of the world. When we got back from Zambia, Frank said wow! I know countries around Zambia and Africa but I still don't know the countries of the world. And he actually created the game as he was trying to learn about every country in the world. And so now it’s a game with 14 facts about every country in the world. And it really came out of his desire to know and to teach the rest of us and everybody all about the world.
Michelle: Yes,Dad was known to be very self-driven and a great self-learner and you are known to be an incredible inspirer. You have actually won awards for your educating ability. Why do you think that is?
Jackie: I think listening. Listening for the value in the people who that you are working with because I don't believe that mentoring is just mentoring. I like to turn mentor-ship into partnerships because whoever I am teaching has something of equal value to what I am teaching to teach me. And I may have gotten that from being in bands and orchestras from the time I was young. I think teaching is like conducting orchestra. You've got to recognize the importance of hard work and expertise of every player in that orchestra and every section of that orchestra which would be like the class that I am teaching because there what they do is crucial to the well-being of the group and the beauty of the music and yet the music that the whole orchestra can make is something that not possible for the conductor alone or for any part of it alone. So it’s a joint effort and it’s a partnership and I think that's the thing.
Michelle: Yes, I have seen you weave classes and groups, and orchestras for that matter, into an incredible whole with creating music that it’s just mind-boggling that it’s being created by individuals so much bigger. And in fact music has been a very big part of your life. When you were pregnant with me you were playing French horn in the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, and I grew up inside of that. I am wondering how you see music interacting with your promise with the world? And specifically how have you seen music bring people together?
Jackie: When we lived in Zambia we got Malcolm Williamson -he was Master of the Queen’s Music - to come to Zambia and put on an opera called the - Red Sea. It was a full length opera and he came and stayed with us and directed the performance in Lusaka’s, the Anglican Cathedral, I think it was called. And doing it we brought together the Lusaka Choral Society. They played The Israelites, the Novices of the Jesuit Novitiate of Africa, which were young African men from all of English speaking Africa. They played the Egyptians. And then we got children from several middle schools and that included you and your sisters who played the Waves of the Red Sea and that was along with the Lusaka Orchestra which I was conducting at that time and the Lusaka Orchestra was expatriates from all over the world and together we all put on this opera. The orchestra playing and all the people singing the different parts.
Michelle:Yes I remember that very, very well. It’s one of the firmest memories in my brain. And while we were living in Zambia you also published a book of Zambian songs. Would you tell us more about how that came about?
Jackie: In a way that was even more about bringing people together. Zambia had only been independent 6 years since we got there and the high school I taught in had girls all over the country. Now that country meant 8 different major languages because the British just drew a circle which included a lot of actual nations and a made a country out of it. So I was teaching students from 8 major cultures and 81 different languages and I was teaching singing to 12 different classes once a week. So I sent them home to their villages all over the country to bring back songs and the classes were the songs and chose the songs that they liked the best from their class and we decided we'd put all together and put on a big program. So we put on a big program and the people from the Baptist Publishing House who had a really good recording studio. They came out and recorded all the songs and so we had this wonderful tape of all these songs. And another teacher from the American School in Lusaka said I have an orchestra and I'd love to have played Zambian songs. So we started writing the songs down. And it became a book of songs that was published by Longman’s of Zambia. I was adamant that it not be brought back here and published here. This was a book of songs for Zambian teachers to be able to teach songs to their kids, their students from all over the country in all those languages. And then it led to other things. It was just amazing that someone asked me to a radio series called - Great wide music, when they found out I had Zambian music and so I put together musical instructions for grade 5 which started being listened to by grade 3, 4, 5 and 6. So the teachers from all over the country could teach music through Zambian songs. So that really is an example of how a lot of people, a lot of different people come together to make something happen.
Michelle: Yes and just listening to it is a great example about how you have an incredible capacity to carry a very profound commitment and be ready to act on it at a moment’s notice in the circumstances that you are in and just see these opportunities and step forward or when somebody asks you about something take it and run with it, when it is in alignment with your commitment. You have a great capacity for that. That story is also a great story about the kind of community building that I know you did so well, weaving individuals into the community and then even more in their communities into communities of communities of communities. That is interesting and a natural way in creating a great global community.
Now your commitment to bring awareness of the world to the people that you are working with right now has taken many different forms over the years. Can you tell us a little bit more about your experience teaching adult education in Ypsilanti and what came out of that?
Jackie: Ypsilanti. That is a community about 35 miles from Detroit. I started by teaching a chorus class in the adult group and it grew to be teaching a whole number of classes. In senior centers I taught in Washtenaw County Jail, I taught students from an inner-city type of community. There are number of what people called Ypsitucky people, people who came from the hills of Kentucky. So there was a big mixture of students and it had a lot of ESL classes too.
Michelle: “English as a Second Language” classes.
Jackie: Yes, English is the second language, so people were from all over the world and I saw that the students who were from African-American community didn't really mingle except in classes with the students who came from the hills and none of them ever met the English is a Second Language (ESL) students. So I invited the ESL students to join us and together we sand songs from all over the world and it was extremely inspiring to the students. One of students was a very fine singer and song writer. His name is Lee Osler, and he was so inspired that he wrote the song “One God, One World,” I helped to get recorded. In fact you are on that record, children are on that record and It’s become quite well-known and sung in many schools and it was sung all over this country and it was sung in other countries. In fact the recording was put out on the national radio station of Japan, all over the country of Japan. So when you bring people together who normally wouldn't get together to create something, really beautiful things happen! Really amazing things happen
Michelle: Yes isn't it one those stories where what came out of - what seemed to be just taking the little next step and reaching out the people, each person that you meet in a very small way and how that can snowball.
Jackie: Yes and I had no idea when things like this. It was just, I immediately go to, “Let’s bring these people together.” And then these wonderful things happen that I couldn't even imagine.
Michelle: And speaking of “One God, One World,” you were actually raised in a reformed Jewish family. You married somebody brought up inCalvinist Protestantism, you both converted to what I call the radical edge of Catholicism,and you have taught in a Muslim school, you have practiced meditation in a variety of traditions and you have joined many people in their various spiritual practices. Can you say a little bit more about how internally or how spirituality has played a part in your life?
Jackie: I think you can tell that I was spiritual inside from the time I was young. The 9 year old experience was an inner spiritual experience. And my quest has always been to actually move that out into my life, not to separate my inner spiritual experience and my dealings with the people around me in the world. I feel like the center of all spiritual systems as the same. The differences between them come about in the language. I have taught in Catholic and Muslim public schools and I was teaching the very same values to the Catholic children and to the Muslim children. And I have no problem calling myself a Christian, calling myself a Jew, calling myself a Muslim,calling myself a Hindu,calling myself any one of the religions. I know that people from the religions would not necessarily call me that but I feel at home with the central teaching of all the different religions. Does that make sense to you? It does to me.
Michelle: Absolutely! Absolutely! Now when you actually developed the language that you articulated of your global promise - that transforming the conversations of the world from us vs. them to we earthlings are all in this world together. That particular language came out of a course that you took. That was not a religious base course. You want to say a little bit about that?
Jackie: Yes, the expression and language came out of courses I took in landmark education which was a wonderful way of looking back at my life and seeing clearly in language what it was that was motivating me and what I was trying to do. It had a real impact on me finding what I didn't know that I did know about myself and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is really interested in that area but for me it just clarified who I am and what my goals are.
Michelle: Now you have taught students of many different cultures. Can you tell us what you have learnt people from that?
Jackie: Right away I found out that there are many different kinds of personalities but in a class in Zambia you can find a personality that is identical with someone in a class in Chicago or identical with one of your cousins. The different personalities show up in every different culture. Different people are squashed in different cultures but personalities are really not related to the cultures. They show up everywhere. The other thing I learnt was that different cultures have really the same values. Just that they are prioritized differently. They have different first values, different second values, different third values but they are all the same values. They place them differently depending on what the situation is in their country
Michelle: Great! And you are known for your teaching ability but you are also a life time learner. You are 80 years old and you are currently taking online classes. In fact you are learning Spanish now. Can you tell us little bit about that? Why are you choosing to do that?
Jackie: Well, every language sort of presents a different map of the universe, a map of the world and the words that they use and the ones they are related to. So it helps me in growing my perspective about the world. But the other part of it is that it makes my mentorship with my students into a partnership because they know that I am struggling to learn new language. These are adult students and they are all working really hard and their children learn faster than they do and they know that 80 year old Jackie is still able to learn Spanish, so they certainly can learn English. And they are helping me.
Michelle: And you are also taking a course on sustainable development. Why that course?
Jackie: Because the world is changing really, really fast and I can't keep up. I haven't really kept up with where the world is now. And I really wanted to learn what the state of the world is now. And I got interested in the sustainable development goals, the global goals. I wanted to know - What is the state of the world now? What is it that the world needs and what can I do?
Michelle: Can you tell us what do see as the most important aspect of fulfilling your life's work?
Jackie: The most important aspect of my life's work is to help expand each of our world's to include all of humanity. I want everyone to be able to see humanity as an entirety - we are all earthlings here on this earth together. And to realize that what we do affects all of us for the betterment of the world or not for the betterment of the world. It’s almost like the human body if the little finger has a problem the whole body has a problem. If the ear has a problem the whole body has a problem. We are on this earth together and my life's work is to just spread the word.
Michelle: Great! Fabulous! And you have done a very good job of it and continue to do that. Now when I started exploring the area of transformational global leadership, you and dad moved out to California to work with me on that. Why did you see that was important? Leadership in particular and transformational global leadership. And more importantly what did you learn during that time?
Jackie: I think you made me notice that we really need inspired leaders who are globally aware and leaders that are committed to the well-being of all earthlings and to the planet. It was your doing Michelle. It is really important to realize that local and global is not here and there conversation. The global is really local on this earth and when we say local or some smaller group, it’s just a matter of focus. It starts with me here and it expands outward. Global is just an expanded focus of me. Because working in our immediate environment is really central but it’s not enough for the circumstances of the world now. And engaging globally doesn't mean that we don't engage personally or locally. I think what's really important is to keep your awareness and engagement at multiple levels so you can think personally, locally, nationally and globally. And switch easily from one to the other. We've all got our favorite level of engagement, mine is wherever I am and that's fine. But it’s just a matter of getting caught, people actually get stuck, they get caught in a particular level of focus and they lose awareness of all the other level or they even never get to the global level or they get into the global level intellectually but they don't experience it
Michelle: Yes and focus is a really great metaphor for what we are talking about and points to one of the challenges of engaging globally. It’s easy to see and to respond to something I can actually see with my eyes but engaging globally requires us to stretch beyond our immediate physical senses. So how can weperceivethe totality of humanity - all human beings? If we can't see them visually, because our vision is limited to our immediate local environment, or intellectually, which can disconnect us from actually being present. How do we perceive humanity?
Jackie: That's a big challenge. It is a worthy challenge but it’s a big one. We can get data about the world but it doesn't bring us the capacity to be present to the world. It takes practice. And it is a different kind of practice. I am wondering if we could do a short practice right now, I am glad you brought it up. Kozo, can we do it?
Kozo: Sure let’s do it.
Jackie: So let’s close our eyes and focus our awareness on our physical body. What is happening to my body? Right now! Now gradually expand the focus of your awareness to include the room you are in and any people who are in the room with us. Now expand to the whole building specially the people in the building with us. Continue to expand and include the neighborhood and all of those people. Expand to the city and all the people in it. Keep expanding. You can use the other people on this call as a point of reference and expand to them and then expand to state, to the whole country, to the whole continent you are in, remember all the people in it, include oceans, land masses and finally get to the whole planet earth. Include all the living beings on it. With a particular focus on all of the human earthlings. Now let’s pop our awareness out to where I started my journey as a child imagining earth from the perspective of space. Since we have all seen pictures of the earth, I didn't then but we have all seen pictures of the earth from an astronaut’s perspective. Let’s look back at the earth and see the planet with all the earthlings on it and become aware of humanity as an entirety. All look back at the earth and say the word - humanity 3 times. If English is your first language say it in English; if it’s not, please say it in your first language. It is wonderful how there are many ways on Earth to point to the same thing. OK are you ready? At the count of 3 we will all say - humanity at the same time 3 times.
Kozo:1... 2... 3...
Everybody:Humanity! Humanity! Humanity!
Michelle: Thank you Kozo. And thank you mom. What a wonderful way to practice awareness of the presence of all humanity, the entirety humanity as well as our home planet earth. Now let’s keep our focus on this global level of awareness for a bit and lets pop back into our bodies. So in our bodies but aware of the totality of the humanity in the planet. From here Jackie could you tell us a little about your current interest in the sustainable development goals which will be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September? Why is this so related to your promise and what makes these global goals for humanity so interesting to you?
Jackie:To me the sustainable development goals are a wonderful way of engaging globally together with all of humanity. To work on climate change and to work towards inclusive economics and social inclusion. The global goals are generating a unified commitment. It is like a common plan and a global consensus. It is really a conversation for we are all in this world together and that is my conversation. I know it is easy for people feel alone and thinking about global issues. I feel alone sometime but we are not alone in our commitment to the future of humanity. The kind of technology we have now gives us access to people everywhere who are engaging in the same areas of commitment and it gives us access to communities that can support us and we that we can support if we find out about them. Service Space is one of example of this and so is this conversation.
Kozo: I would like to plugin there and say you know we have experienced that wonderful experiential exercise. Everybody has already spoken on this call. which is beautiful. I don't think that has ever happened on an Awakin call.
Michelle:So Jackie, these global sustainable goals that we were talking about, they are a great structure to engage globally but how do you see these global goals helping us to maintain awareness and engagement at multiple levels as you were talking about - personally, locally, nationally and globally
Jackie: The goals give us a coordinating framework and then we can choose our engagements at what level we want. National governments are going to be looking at how they choose appropriate goals based on national circumstances, local communities will be developing plans coordinated to their local circumstances, personally we can become educated about our global goals and our global situation. And from there we can make personal choices that work in all those areas towards fulfilling the goals.
Michelle: Yes, that possible engagement can actually look quite daunting when we start looking at the global goals and they represent. There are actually 17 proposed goals and they address issues that seem very overwhelming, things like ending poverty; ending hunger; addressing inequalities in and among countries; universal healthcare and universal education (and remember we are talking globally now); social inclusion including gender equality; sustainable and available water; sanitation and energy for everyone; safe and sustainable cities and infrastructure; sustainable production and consumption and of course the biggie right now - climate change. So how do you see individual like us participating in these goals? How can we participate without being totally overwhelmed?
Jackie: Well first we need to become educated about the goal. Each of the goals has specific targets and they have got measures and those things break the goals down into smaller chunks. Also lot of us are already involved in working on some of them but we just don't know that we are a part of a global endeavor and there are a lot of other people all over the world working on various parts and they don't know that they are a part of this. And that they can connect and we can connect with wide communities all over the world. Part of my goal is to create that awareness so that everyone who is working on water or food or whatever area they are working on they really find out that they are part of a global endeavor. The entirety humanity working to make this world a better place, not just what we are doing here in Santa Fe orwherever it is. So some of us are used to working with large systems, some of us used to working with nonprofit organizations and nonprofit organizations are crucial in fulfilling the sustainable development goal. Some of them have small children and the children need to be the primary focus but we can educate them, involve them in particular activities. Michelle, do you remember when you were picketing for open housing?
Michelle: Oh! That is one of my first memories. Yes that sometimes how we went to church aspicketing outside the churches.
Jackie: Yes we picketed outside the churches and then went to church. But you all got involved in what we were doing. So we can all look for ways to contribute at multiple levels of engagement. One example, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has recognized that local communities especially cities are really the key in implementing the SDGs. So the work you are doing Michelle with the Mayor's office in San Jose has inspired me to turn my attention to Santa Fe’s participation in the sustainable development goals. That's one place I am going to focus my attention. Tell us a little bit about San Jose.
Michelle: It was very exciting a week and a half ago. I was sitting in front of my computer listening to the mayor speak at the Vatican at a meeting with 40 other mayors from around the world actually creating an urban SDG alliance. This is an alliance created to be a holder for the commitment of the cities to create their cities in alignment with the SDGs and to work together to provide supporting guidance for each other and for other cities that wish to align their development with these global goals. And it is very exciting to listen to him and know that he was there because of the work that I had been doing to connect San Jose with the SDSN. And that is exciting for me. I have a physical disability, there are many things that I can't do anymore but that's one thing that I can't do and being able to engage in that way at the local level along with my personal engagement with the choices I make, as well as working globally and connecting people globally which I do as much as I can. So, that is very wonderful to see that happening
Jackie:Yes and it is very excited to know that your local work so quickly became global.
Michelle:That's my commitment too i.e. whatever I am doing even if it's local it is held in a global commitment so that I am making those connections for people also so thanks for that acknowledgement.
So SDG are a great structure for engaging at multiple levels and I am wondering how do you see these global goals relating to what we have worked for many years what we are calling - transformational global leadership?
Jackie:Transformational global leadership is about generating fulfillment of a seemingly impossible vision for every human being and the global goals are a great expression of transformational global leadership because each of the goals is designed to be radically inclusive at the global level including people we'd never thought of before and the goals like ending poverty and dealing with climate change can really seem impossible if they are looked as individual i.e. if I say - what can I do? So it is generating fulfillment of seemingly impossible for every human being.
Mindy (Caller): Hello this is Mindy from Illinois and I am want to extend my sincere thank you to everyone connected with this call and it is so nice to see a mother-daughter team here to see the generations of kindness and of change evolving in this world is such a wonderful way and I want to take a moment here to thank you especially for the world peace meditation that we all did together. I am doing this for a couple of years now. I found a really nice YouTube link and I do this every Tuesday and it has been a wonderful practice. It goes through the same steps of visualization beginning with me in the space around till we get to the entire world and then bring ourselves back in. You envision your heart as a rose opening with peace, love and hope and I also want to say that I am a member of the KindSpring community, a very active member. It is a global effort. We reach out to one another inspiring and encouraging each other in small kind acts. Sometimes they develop into more. We don't see the ripples but we are very grateful that ServiceSpace provides us with that transformative place and I want to say again what an inspiration is our guest's Jackie's life is and it's wonderful to envision the world that she sees and I see it happening as well. And I thank you very much and blessing to all.
Jackie:Thank you, Mindy!
Bruce (Caller):This is Bruce from California. Thank you Jackie and Michelle for bringing us into this huge world that we’re all part of. It seems to me that if we see that having humanity, that having everyone in the world have this experience in their gut, not just in their brain, that they are connected, this experience of connection to everyone in the world that in itself would enable humanity to move into action together to create miraculous transformations and that transformational global leadership may consist of ability to generate that experience in people widely. I am wondering what you can say about how we can go about bringing that about in the world?
Jackie: Wow! That’s a really good question. I think the things that we can do are to educate ourselves. Educating ourselves about the global goals, about the state of the world now. I am taking a course on sustainable development. There are free courses online that really can educate you in this area. And then spread the word to everybody and then look to see where do you fit in fulfilling these goals in this world because we are all a part of it and make a personal effort. It is because I have made such a personal effort all the way through to always be viewing everything globally. To bring together people who are different. Look in your life where you see people who would never meet, who would never understand each other and find a way to bring them together. We have a celebration of my husband's life here in Santa Fe. For us it was quite normal, we brought in our multi-ethnic family, we brought all our friends from civil rights and there are friends from all of the other things that we have done. We had lots of people from out of state, we had lots of people from here, and we had my students who came. It brought together people who otherwise wouldn't be brought together and that was just for one thing but we can create something that will build unity in the world and we can really look at on what level can I be part of this global endeavor. That's going to make a difference in the world because we got to do something. Thank you for your questions Bruce.
Kozo: I have a question on this Jackie. You know when we bring together all these different types of people, cultures, languages... all these different things. I can just feel that you really embody this spirit of - we are all in this world together but what do you do when you come across somebody who doesn't have that worldview? Or who is resistant? I know you and Michelle are like - I don't see race. Race doesn't function in how I view the world. What do you do when you come across somebody who is perhaps racist and how do you embrace them and include them into humanity and the circle?
Jackie: Well, that is a tough one. In some ways racist people sort of avoid us because they are not going to change who we are with our family. We never got much flak because people knew that we were really committed to what we were doing and we would hear things like. Oh! Look at those kids -white kids, black kids, I wonder if the parents were striped! Or something like that. But when I was teaching the adult ed classes and I'd bring people together, some of them were very different from each other and very mistrustful and part of it is creating a safe space really valuing every person. Sometimes these people just wouldn't get together but if they do get together and you can bring them into a situation where they do like my chorus and other places I got them encourage to come together, set up a safe space. Everyone respect everyone else because you deserve respect and I expect everyone to respect you and I expect you to respect everyone else. This is a safe space where people can share who they are and what happened to them and what they can contribute and when people start contributing then people hear the value of each one of them and it changes their point of view. You can't change people completely very quickly but they can grow to see the value about their people and the commonality of people and just giving them those experiences is going to make the difference. Does that make sense?
Kozo: Yes beautiful! Love that - safe space with respect.
Jackie: And when people say all these people have to respect me, then they view other people with respect because they want the respect. And then they feel safe and so then they feel like they can share. And you know in my classes and in any group that I am in and I do workshops called “A Tale of a Second Rainbow,”so that people can see that they don't have to view life as one rainbow with their career being up and down and all the rest of the life going down from 25 to 60 is 35 years and 60 to 95 is another 35 years. So there can be a second rainbow and my second rainbow, you my first 80 years is just the preparation of my life's work. My life's work is now involved with these marvelous global goals. It's going to make a difference in the world. Wherever you are in life, you can start your life's work where you are.
Kozo: Wow! That's a beautiful analogy or imagery to live life by multiple rainbows. And you are a living proof of it. You can create literally a multi-cultural, a multicolored rainbow wherever you are in your life. You don't have to do it when you are 25 or when you are 30 or when you are 50. You can start anywhere. Beautiful!
Jackie: You are right! The other kind of is a huge waste of resources. You arrive at 60 or 70 or 80 with wonderful experiences and lots of knowledge and we don't want to waste all of that. That's the kind of knowledge and experience that is going to transform the world.
Kozo: I talk to a lot of ingenious people, either Native Americans or Hawaiians, and they all say that it is odd in Western culture, in America, how we pretty much write-off the tribal elders. We throw them in old people’s homes. We don't listen to them. We don't talk to them. We don't involve them in our politics; we don't involve them in our decisions. They are the elders and they have so much experience and wisdom and in our culture we are very youth oriented and so we tend to disregard them so thank you for being an example of what that second rainbow can give to us.
Jackie: Well, you are welcome! I think that we elders can actually get out there and make ourselves part of what's going on. By the way, what you said reminded me of something I never did mention. My husband and I went to Rwanda and gave a workshop on 50 years of search and service. And it was very interesting because it relates to my thing about - you listen to what people have to say. In Zambia we found a tractor that was sitting on a hill because the tractor in the area that it was, was counterproductive and the people who brought it in did not ask the people what they needed. They brought in something that didn't work and the people in that area really knew what they needed. So again you are talking older people. If we listen to the elders, we would get a huge, huge value. If we listen to each other. I don't live in an old people's situation. I live with my son and grandchildren and I love the inter-generational because it's part of my commitment to the universal and it's wonderful the way we can interact. My grandchildren really teach me a lot about technology by the way.
Kozo: That is such an important point that I didn't think about before. It is not just humanity as in different races, different cultures, different aspects of humanity, but there is an age humanity. It's including from very new born baby to the eldest people in our community. That's also all part of what we need to embrace as humanity and I think we often forget that. We are often in race, in gender, in class and we forget generational.
Jackie: Yes, It’s all part of the entity humanity that we have to think about. I have one daughter Marine who is teaching 1st and 2nd grade and she develops those students as responsible for the whole class. When she teaches something new, the goal is that every student in the class will know it and those who learn it quickly help the other ones learn it and the rules and regulations are created with her help by the students. They're responsible for their class and it creates marvelous, marvelous children who feel like they can do something. So works with small children as well as with elders, with every age group, with the gender thing, with this whole thing about people being different from each other and any of those basis is just very strange and from the point of view of the Martian outside of the Earth - ridiculous ideas.
Kozo: Beautiful! We have another caller in queue.
Mish (Caller): Hi this Mish from the New York City and I'd just like to tell you how inspiring I find you. The conversation between yourself and your daughter Michelle has been so encouraging. I just turned 68 and you have given me great inspiration for where I am at in my life and being an active part of KindSpring, where everyday - we are all different ages, we are all over the world -we are all encouraging one another and it's getting me a deeper appreciation of the small part that I play that even if all I am doing is encouraging people in KindSpring, that's something because that is something because then we are all going out into the world. This is just a wonderful call. Thank you so much!
Jackie: Oh! You are so welcome. Thank you! I have a sister who supports me. I think her job in life is to support people who make a difference in the world. If it weren't for people like that, people like us couldn't do anything.
Mish: You made me feel much better about myself because I often feel I don't do enough and you have changed that for me. So, thank you so much.
Jackie: Great and don't be afraid to expand what you do. It's wonderful what you do.
Kozo: Jackie, we have a live comment from Jane in Long Beach, California and she says, "Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. Regarding global goals, is there any focus on food waste? What are your thoughts on food waste?"
Jackie: My thoughts on food waste are really affected by the 3 years I spent in Zambia. I have a hard time leaving any food on my plate and what looks like waste to a lot of people is not waste to me. Not just the waste from restaurants and plates but the waste from the way our agricultural system is setup’ I think this is the area that we really need to find out more about and find out what we can do about it because the waste includes the kind of pollution that we are creating in all that we do - polluting the land, polluting the air. The course I’m taking has made me very aware of the huge amount of waste that we create and I understand in Europe they reuse their nuclear waste and here we just bury it. So if you are working in the area of waste, you are working in an extremely important area.
Michelle: Yes, especially as our population is growing and growing very fast. We are expected to enter 2 billion people in the next years and for many years we didn't have the focus on waste, but we definitely come to the end of that and our waste is coming back to us from many directions. Specific to the food waste there is a lot that can be done to really get under and start looking at what are our agricultural processes and for us - the consumers, to really start learning on what's going on behind the packaging that we pick up in the stores. The process that we’re using is really not designed to minimize waste. They are designed to maximize other things including profits. So getting to understand what it is, taking courses, looking into it and then being able to choose how we participate in our purchases as well as what we do individually at home is really important.
Jackie:And then we can encourage locally to switch from plastic bags to reusable bags that people bring from home. For a long time I was forgetting to take my bags to the store and now here in St. Jose if you want a bag you pay for every bag and you are then aware that you are getting a bag that's taking resources and supplying waste so now I am starting to remember to take in my reusable bags and they don't use plastic bags. We can really encourage localities to change in our areas.
Kozo: You what's amazing about that? It is 10 cents right! 10 cents for a bag. It's a dime. It's not much but it is shifting people's behavior. Those 10 cents I see people like trying to hold on to, hold back groceries. It is really shifting people's behavior because it is like - Oh! next time I gotta remember. It is such a small monetary, I wouldn't say penalty but small monetary change which is shifting behavior. So it doesn't have to be these big penalties and stuff. It is just changing perspectives.
Jackie:I am glad you said that, because I became really aware that having a chart with stars on it will actually encourage my students to practice at home on the telephone calling each other. You know it doesn't take a huge thing to get people to become involved in something. When I was trying to lose weight, I went to Curves and at Curves they have little paper crowns and then we would put a little glittery thing on the crown if we went 3 times a week. I would go 3 times a week for this little tiny glitter and so when you are working in a community, know that very little incentive can make a huge change in the world.
Kozo: Beautiful! We have got more callers in the queue.
Bob Jackson (Caller): Hello! I know Jackie and Michelle because we participate together in Global Abundance Alliance. And I want to ask this question - how can we all the listeners on this call can support you both in practical and economic ways not just by what we do but how can we support you literally by money or other resources that can help you to do the things that you are up to? This is so inspiring, but inspiration is wonderful and then the practical part of it often requires real world resources. So I am just asking how we can support you as a family in everything that you are up to in every dimension. It is so incredible what you are standing for.
Jackie: Wow! And Michelle, can you help me answer that questions?
Michelle: I was hoping you would handle it. (laughs)
Jackie: We are not good at asking for help.
Michelle: Well you know right now for the two of us, I am on disability and so I get a small disability stipend and I don't have a lot of expenses. If there were resources available to do things like travel to New York I would love to be in New York for September provided I can find a way where I can contribute to bring people together. That would be fabulous. Mom what are you thinking?
Jackie: Well,I was thinking about that too. Travel expenses is probably the most difficult when something comes up and we want to be part of something, it is difficult to raise money for travel. I love to raise money so that people like Charles Uwiragiye can come and inspire people. He was a leader of the Batwapeople in Rwanda. So when I have any resources there is so much more that I can do. Global Abundance Alliances (by the way it is a wonderful organization created by Bob Jackson who was just on the phone) worked for the millennium goals and now working for the Global Goals. So Bob you can help us figure out by learning more about the Global Abundance Alliance, you can also learn more about what you can do. But I think anything to further what Michelle is doing to further anything on my book, anything to encourage us. I can't think of anything specific other than those things. It's hard because I would love to have money for a better car but if I'd money I probably would use it for something in the world.
Bob Jackson: Thanks for at least engaging in this conversation. I am glad to have at least engaged in, in this wonderful venue. Appreciate that.
Michelle: The one other thing is telecommunications. So much of what mom does and I do is dependent on telecommunications and there is certainly better systems than what we have particularly in terms of connecting with people globally. So that would be one area that would certainly be interesting.
Kozo: I think that is such a beautiful summary of who you are Jackie that"I would probably like to have a better car but if I got the money I would probably give it to the world". That sums you up really well.
Betty (Caller): My name is Betty Brown. I am 72 years old and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. When you were particularly talking about elders and elders doing things and people listening to people that were older. That particularly went into an area that I am kind of focused on at the moment and as I face my own aging and I am here, many woman particularly around me but I feel men saw this way too. A lot of people say that they feel invisible for that they feel the lack of engagement or respect. So I am really interested in what are the elements that I need to do as I age to keep engaged and keep vital keep out there and to contribute and to be energized and live my life with passion. I particularly reacted to the comment made that - Jackie said that you gotta get out there and you gotta engage and I just thought that, that was so invaluable because I feel as an elder that you can only be invincible if people want to be invincible, and that it is up to you to create this ability. So I wanted to check if you had any other comments Jackie? I tuned in today because I saw you were 80 years old and all that you were doing and I was just curious. Do you have any other comments?
Jackie: I really do. You know I am inspired by the fisherman who started to learn to read and write at 92 years. And now I don't know, he might not be here, but at 98 he was out promoting his book(laughs).You know we are young compared to what some people are doing and the kind of courage you need to make people look at you and listen to you as an elder is the same kind of courage you need to bring people together and to reach out to people who may not speak English well or have different backgrounds. You just need the courage to feel uncomfortable to try new things and pretty soon you get used to being uncomfortable and so you are comfortable being uncomfortable and bringing new things together. At the moment I have an incredible black eye. I was pulling a dog and I fell flat on my face. I am kind of glad we don't see this but I don't think I am going to let that keep me from (laughs) doing what I do. You know I am not going to stay home until this eye heels.I look a little bit like raccoon. Because it really doesn't matter. We are who we are and we can reach out and get beyond anything that holds us back including our age.
Betty: Thank you so much! And you are really wonderful example of that.
Jackie: You are welcome. Thank you!
Kozo: Jackie, we have one more question. It is from Arlis Grossman from Minneapolis, Minn. Here she says I am so proud to have grown up with Jackie and to appreciate the contribution she has made in fostering global understanding. She taught me to make angels in the snow and was a wonderful friend and mentor growing up in Duluth.
Jackie: Wow! Thank you, Arlis. I love you!
Kozo: We also have a question that says, "So is Jackie by any chance teaching any classes online? Something like ‘All the Things I Taught My Kids.’ let’s start with a Martian’s view of the world. I would love to sign up for that one.”
Jackie: What a wonderful idea. That is something that someone could encourage me in. I would love to teach a class like that online. So anything you could do to encourage it. I know that someone is has asked Michelle to teach a course on global leadership online. So any encouragement we can get in that area. We would love. Don't you think so Michelle?
Jackie: Thank you for that idea. I would take into serious consideration.
Kozo: Yes, we could fill a class with just the listeners from this call right now because everybody wants to know more. Unfortunately we are almost out of time. Jackie, we usually have one final question which is - What can ServiceSpace do for you and help you out in your work? And I know Robert asked, “What can listeners do for you?” But what specifically can ServiceSpace do to help you out? I am not sure if you have thought about that?
Jackie: Wow! ServiceSpace does such wonderful work. To explore joining ServiceSpace with the global view and see how they can further the global work. Encourage the people involved in ServiceSpace to view things globally and see where they can fit in with the global goals of the world. ServiceSpace is so great on the personal perspective and the “getting together on the community level”perspective. And I would love to see them just exploring the global perspective and how communities of communities can make a difference in that area.
Kozo: Beautiful! Thank you so much Jackie. I mean. Wow! That was a glimpse into what it was like for Michelle to grow up with you and it just is so much wisdom and so much insight, and so much love and care and it was beautiful. Everything you said embodied the spirit of that world and this world together. I just felt it. Not just experiential exercise but just the things you say, the way you say them. The way you view perspectives and your experience. Thank you; just to experience that for this hour and a half was beautiful.
Jackie: Well! Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate that.
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