7 March 2022

Dear Everyone:

When my older child was wee, he was allergic to peanuts. He started school and his teachers dutifully and helpfully circulated to his classmates’ parents a request that things with peanuts in them not be sent to school with their kids. A few of them grumbled about the inconvenience of having PB&J taken away as a lunch option. I remember thinking, but my kid could die…it seemed such a strange thing, to think about inconvenience against what felt to me like acute danger.

I read the message the CUNY Chancellor sent Friday evening (copied below) about the lifting of the mask mandate as of today (!) and thought of peanuts and allergies and differential danger….

Thank you for mindfulness of those who don’t have a choice but to be in the building, who live with so many different pressures on well-being, simply, for whom the idea that masks are inconvenient will be such a strange thing against acute danger. Thank you for your regard for others, for your practice of mutuality.

This week marks the two year anniversary of shifting to remote mode. I looked back at one of the first pandemic messages I sent, which included this:

“I worry about the unintended impact of social segregation as a strategy of virus containment, and especially for those who are far from home and/or family, bio- or chosen.  I don’t doubt the reasons for distance, but do worry about its correlation with isolation.  I wrote to students about this before and will repeat it again, which is simply, please check in with each other, and try to reach out even/especially when you don’t really want to.  Please let someone know if you’re ill so we can get some help for you.  We can act in ways mindful of both the pandemic and the need to be people in the world.”

Maybe this is a good use of the anniversary — check in with each other anew (and regularly). Immense gratitude for and to all for your company on this journey.

Also, a note to remember, and related to time, too, on Saturday evening, the clock “springs ahead” — as if we need to be hurtled forward any faster!

I’ll end this missive with a warm note of thanks to Professor Richard Perez for a most engaging talk on Friday, and to all who were able to join us for creating time to attend. This Friday, we’ll be hosting applicants who are likely to be a part of our entering cohort — always quite wonderful to borrow the energies of open possibility and horizons they bring! Keep an eye out for info about our next Friday Forum, 18 March, featuring Professor Talia Schaffer’s work!

abundant well wishes,

Kandice

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