After the recent tragic events in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva issued a statement that literally gave me the chills, as it was exactly the tone and message needed. Florida has certainly seen its share of violent acts, but what truly is at their root, especially as many of the incidences are perpetrated by our youth and young adults?
Speaker Oliva denounced racism, including white nationalism, writing in part, “I’ve lived my life, as an Hispanic American, and seen a thousand times more generosity, kindness, inclusiveness, and love throughout this great country than I’ve seen discrimination and hatred. What we know is; evil exists, all of us play a part in either expanding hatred or loving our neighbor, and despite what we see on the news, America is a great place, filled with kind people, always willing to help a neighbor in need. We must ask ourselves more than ‘what to do’ we must figure out, as leaders and as a society, ‘who we are’.”
I am a Floridian first and a lobbyist second. As such I asked my 27 year old nephew what his generation is saying about all this. He replied, “Aunt Lisa, we have to find out why so many of my peers are sad, or are taking anti-depressants, or worse, committing suicide. I wonder if our state leaders might like to convene a group of my peers for us to meet with them and just talk?”
What a simple yet powerful idea. So I have passed this along to the Speaker’s chief aide with an offer to help coordinate a meeting with a few in the 20-something generation. As they would say, the meeting would be to “hang out and try to understand who we are.” In the meantime, we all can be conveners to reach out to the youth and young adults in our lives and let them know we’re listening and that we care. They are the future!
We have a story on a new mental health initiative in this newsletter, as well as updates on other important issues we’re following, plus a few surprises! Enjoy!
LMA Newsletter of 8-12-19