NAC New Year’s Resolutions
Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action
January 6, 2022
Feliz Año Nuevo, mi gente!
Like most of you, I spent this past weekend thinking about my New Year’s resolutions. I know I’m not alone in including “working on my health” as one of them. But my decision this year was to think about health beyond the traditional “working out and eating less processed food.”
I want to think about getting healthier as moving, exploring, and just plain LIVING. I want to go on more hikes, and run and rollerblade by the ocean. I want to swap gym visits for dance parties in my garden. I want to swim more and skip around. A slight change in mindset, as all of you know, can lead to seismic changes in results. Thinking about my health as living and moving makes it much more exciting to me.
I also spent some time thinking about what the National Advocacy Committee’s resolutions might be. The core of NAC’s purpose is power. But power isn’t just about developing relationships with people in power, it’s about leveraging our own power to bring about change. Things can get frustrating when we spend all year advocating for a legislation that, at the end of the day, one person can dissolve. We can become disillusioned if we think of our work as trying to influence others to do what we want. But what’s important to remember is that underneath all of these frustrations is something much more revolutionary: we have the power to change our community and country just by our approach to political and policy conversations. As Ghandi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This is something we can control and act on today.
One of the most devastating things to happen to our democracy is the level of polarization that has only worsened over the past few years. People don’t want to talk about politics anymore because it breaks up families and friendships. It shouldn’t be like that. Discussions are how democracy works! So, in terms of our 2022 NAC resolutions, I suggest the following:
- Reclaim our democracy, one conversation at a time. Let’s learn to have conversations with people we disagree with!
- Learn to be better judges of where information comes from. Misinformation campaigns have targeted Latinos disproportionately. Learn to tell facts from fiction by verifying the source first.
Polarization in this country is driven by a couple of factors. First, we seem to have forgotten what the word fact even means and we base our opinions on different sets of facts. (BTW, a fact is something that used to be indisputable. A fact was a fact, not an opinion!) Second, we have become incapable of having conversations with people that see the world differently from us. The minute we disagree with someone, we are quick to label them as stupid, ignorant, or evil. This isn’t good for our democracy, our communities, or for the world we’re leaving behind to our children. So, let’s start having conversations about politics and policy again.
Here are just a few NAC resolutions I suggest we start the year with:
- DO NOT assume another person is evil or stupid if they don’t agree with you. Learn to have conversations with the objective of understanding where people are coming from as opposed to “labeling someone or being right.” Be respectful.
- ALWAYS challenge your own assumptions and learn to have empathy when you speak to others. Consider the fact that you’re not always right. Always try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Why do they feel that way? Why are they scared? What worries them? If you were in their place, would you also worry about the same thing?
- LEARN TO TELL FACT FROM FICTION: When you see something on social media, always ask: where does this information come from? Is it from a trusted source? Spend some time exploring FACT.Check.org or PolitiFact.com.
- Make it a habit to add one unbiased news source to your regular reading. News channels have become increasingly biased and polarized. Reuters, BBC, National Public Radio (NPR), and Associated Press (AP) have consistently been ranked as some of the least biased news. Add at least one of these to your regular reading and search these news channels for fact checking when you hear a crazy story pop up.
If we were to all adopt these as a goal for the National Advocacy Committee this year, we could probably do more for our democracy than anything else. Change starts with you.
About Noerena Limón
Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.
Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.