Boss Lady

Proximity+Presence: Social capital and polarization


In this current climate that emphasizes social distancing, we can’t stop being social.  Yes, we need to physically distance ourselves, but we need community.  I’m so concerned that as dangerous as COVID-19 is, I’m worried that our cocoons that we are making in our homes will hatch another threat.  That threat is anxiety, depression, fear, isolation and loneliness.  We are wired to be in community with others.  We need relationships.  We need one another.

WATCH Dr Froswa Booker-Drew’s Ted talk on Proximity+Presence: Social Capital and Polarization

My staff and I were talking about in this season, we miss hugs.  I did not realize the impact of being in proximity with others would be something that I would miss.  One of my friends sent a text with the same message:  Hugs were important.  Our presence and proximity are important.  I believe that we are in a defining moment in history that will change the way we see others and how we show up in spaces.

A week before we went into sheltering in place in Texas, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to talk about a topic that I love, social capital.  I shared my lived experiences and research encapsulated in this TEDxSMU talk.  Who would have known that what I was sharing just a few weeks prior to the spread of COVID-19 would be so important and evident right now?  We can’t afford to be further polarized.  This illness doesn’t care what color you are, where you live or what you do for a living.  It doesn’t care if you are male or female.  It simply needs a host, particularly one that is human where it can wreak havoc.  We’ve had enough havoc and destruction in our world.  It’s time that we come together now more than ever and put our differences aside.  Our very existence depends on it.

So What can you do?

  1. Make it a point to connect with others. In social capital, there is bonding and bridging social capital.  Bonding is connecting to individuals that are just like you.  There is nothing wrong with that but make sure you are challenging yourself in this season to build relationships with individuals that are different than you.  If your social network is homogeneous, now is a good time to explore building your network to gain new and different perspectives.
  2. More often than not, it is both/and and not either/or. We are conditioned to believe that there is only one correct answer.  We have to become comfortable with knowing that what is true for you might not be the same for others.  Multiple realities can exist at the same time.  Be okay with that.
  3. You have a story.  So do others.  Our lived experiences shape who we are.  For years, I hated pretzels because as a kid, I ate more than I was supposed to and as a result, I got really sick.  That experience impacted me for years.  It took decades for me to get over it strangely enough.  Once I realized that and owned it, I could do something about it.  Understanding your own narrative is important–why do you believe the way you do?  What are your triggers?  What matters to you?   Know that is also necessary to know that others also have experiences that are good, bad, and ugly that show up in the way they live in the world.  Just as you want grace to be who you are fully, allow others that same grace.  Take the time to listen to the stories of others before making judgments.  Quite often, there is more in common than we realize. Don’t minimize their differences, learn from them.

About Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew is a Partnership Broker. Relational Leadership Junkie. Connector. Author/Speaker/Trainer. Co-Founder, HERitage Giving Circle. She been quoted and profiled in Forbes, Ozy, Bustle, Huffington Post and other media outlets around the world. In addition, she has been asked to speak on a variety of topics such as social capital and networking, leadership, diversity, and community development to national and international audiences. This included serving as a workshop presenter at the United Nations in 2013 on the Access to Power. One of the most impactful life events for her was being a part of the documentary, Friendly Captivity, a film that followed a cast of 7 women from Dallas to India. Honors for her work include: Semi-finalist for the SMU TEDx in 2012, 2012 Outstanding African American Alumni Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, 2009 Woman of the Year Award by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Diversity Ambassador for the American Red Cross. Graduating with a PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change, she also attended the Jean Baker Miller Institute at Wellesley for training in Relational Cultural Theory and completed facilitator training on Immunity to Change. She has also completed training through UNICEF on Equity Based Evaluations, and is the author of 2 workbooks for women, Ready for a Revolution: 30 Days to Jolt Your Life and Rules of Engagement: Making Connections Last as well as a writer for several publications around the globe. WFAA Attention Series: Froswa Booker Drew on Vimeo

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