CalNonprofits Articles

Fall 2018 Buzz Cover

The Fall 2018 Buzz is now available online, and the beautiful hard copy will be appearing in members' mailboxes soon. Below is an excerpt from CEO Jan Masaoka's letter:

Should we be optimistic or pessimistic right now? Consider:

  • Half empty: Terrifying fires raged across California, leaving devastated families and ecosystems.
  • Half full: An election where “California voters kicked ass” (to quote Mother Jones) with high voter turnout of 50% of eligible voters, a smidgen above national rate.
  • Half empty: To be officially poor, a family of four can’t have income more than $24,300. And yet, one in every four California children lives in a family that poor.
  • Half empty: California has had more mass shootings than any other state (since 1984) even though we have strict gun control laws.

In sunny California, pessimism is often seen as a character flaw, or perhaps an indicator of depression that needs to be treated. We often fail to recognize that a poor person in a marginalized community may have more reason to be pessimistic than a well-off white person.

Here is a different way to look at it: Pessimism is about an analysis of the facts; optimism is an orientation of the spirit.

Or put another way, after the Italian writer Antonio Gramsci: Our intellect tells us to be pessimistic, but we must will ourselves to be optimistic. Let’s stop believing that we must be either optimistic or pessimistic. We must be both.

Click here to read the Fall 2018 issue of the Buzz newsletter. Interested in becoming a Member? Click here to find out more!

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