There are heroes among us….
Browsing through the social media, I came upon a video about Sir Nicholas George Winton.
I watched the video over and over again and it became a sort of tonic for me in these troubling times.
Here’s the background story to the video. Nicholas Winton was a British humanitarian who organized the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport (German for “children transportation”). Winton found homes for the children and arranged for their safe passage to Britain. The world found out about his work over 50 years later, in 1988. The British press dubbed him the “British Schindler“.
His rescue achievements went unnoticed for half a century until in 1988 his wife found a detailed scrapbook in their attic, containing lists of the children, including their parents’ names and the names and addresses of the families that took them in. She gave the scrapbook to Elisabeth Maxwell, a Holocaust researcher and wife of media magnate Robert Maxwell. Winton himself could not remember the reason why this was done. Letters were sent to each of these known addresses and 80 of “Winton’s children” were found in Britain. The world found out about his work in February 1988 during an episode of the BBC television program “That’s Life!” when Winton was invited as a member of the audience. At one point, Winton’s scrapbook was shown and his achievements were explained. The host of the program, Esther Rantzen, asked whether anybody in the audience owed their lives to Winton, and if so, to stand – more than two dozen people surrounding Winton rose and applauded.
This led me to think long and hard about what makes one person fearless in the face of retribution for another’s sake? What makes some people empathetic and others not? Empathy is the ability to perceive and share another person’s emotional state.
According to a study published in the September 2012 issue of the journal Brain, an international team led by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York has for the first time shown that one area of the brain, called the anterior insular cortex, is the activity center of human empathy…….see here.
Is that what it takes, an overdeveloped anterior insular cortex? Something we are born with? Or is it learned behavior? Our CEO, Elisabete Miranda, believes it’s the soul having learned the lessons of humanity. Whatever your belief, we know for sure, there are heroes among us.
Heroism comes in the grandest of gestures to the smallest of kindnesses. From Sir Nicholas George Winton, to Kenneth Frazier CEO of Merck, to the shop owners in Charlottesville who posted signs in their windows defending diversity, to the everyday people who defend human rights, the people who do not have to specify race, creed or preference because the word human is key and to our very own Lady of the Harbor.
As a native New Yorker, Lady Liberty stood among us and I felt proud. Our symbol of refuge made me feel safe, not threatened, SAFE.
France gave the people of the United States this magnificent copper statue as a symbol of friendship. In 1883, in an effort to raise the money to construct the pedestal, Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet called “The New Colossus” and the statue became the symbol of liberty.
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
What makes us a great country is not forcing conformity of an ideology of what an American is but rather allowing our immigrants to retain their culture and mix it all up to become who we are.
That is why translating ideas and improving lives will always be at the heart of CQ’s culture;
Why diversity and inclusion will always be a core element of CQ fluency;
Why CQ fluency will always build relationships with certified small and minority owned businesses as well as enterprises owned by minorities, women, veterans, LGBT, and disabled people.
This brings me to the final song in my head – Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”.
“And the sun pours down like honey on our lady of the harbor
And she shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed, there are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love and they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds her mirror.”
If we cannot be the hero among us, let us at least hold the mirror.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Denise Bueti is the Accounting Manager at CQ fluency. She has numerous years of experience from an entrepreneurial background in the Entertainment and Education industry.