The Monday Morning Mojo was created to highlight many of the positive things happening in this world amid the craziness we see daily on television and read in the news. And, these past two weeks have been unusually troubling in the United States with the Uvalde, Texas school shooting that killed 21 people. This, in the wake of other gun violence events in Buffalo, New York at a supermarket, and a hospital shooting just this past week in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It just mystifies me how “the right to bear arms” has led to an epidemic of violent acts, that certain leaders in this country fail to do anything about. I vowed not to make this blog a soapbox featuring rants about this world’s issues, but rather a platform to find the good we witness in everyday society. However, I want to be clear the challenges need a platform, advocacy and action. I just don’t want the Monday Morning Mojo to serve that purpose.
In Celebration of Our Kids
With that introduction, today’s Monday Morning Mojo follows a similar theme to past posts celebrating “Heroes Among Us”, with a twist. This time the heroes are kids themselves, or people who have been motivated by kids or are providing opportunities for kids, or just parental figures who have had a very strong influence over young people.
Heroes Who Serve as Role Models
While there was a lot of controversy around how the Uvalde school shooting was handled, one such off-duty border patrol officer, who had a wife and daughter in the school, was among the heroes. Jacob Albarado was getting his hair cut when he received a call from his wife, borrowed a gun from the barber and went to the rescue. There are many accounts about his actual role in the event, however he was credited with helping escort people to safety. Thank you, Mr. Albarado, for serving as a fantastic role model! I believe any of the accolades for those that brought this event to an end, pale in comparison to a few of the young students who reportedly were hiding on the floor and repeatedly calling 911. Kudos to these brave kids, who in my book, were performing real acts of heroism. Picture of Jacob Albarado with his wife below.
Beauty 2 the Streetz
For a treasure trove of everyday heroes, the annual CNN Heroes event is a great place to witness people committed to changing the world. In its 15th year, I was looking through the 2021 heroes and was struck by one story in particular, the story of Shirley Raines. For the past six years, Raines, and her organization, “Beauty 2 the Streetz”, have been a mainstay on Skid Row in Los Angeles, providing food, clothing, hair and makeup services — and most recently health and hygiene items — to thousands of people. Only when I looked further into “Beauty 2 the Streetz” did I find out she was the 2021 CNN Hero winner, selected among a shortlist of 10 top candidates and hundreds of other applicants. I have always felt one simple way to help the thousands of homeless people in the US begins with hygiene and greater self-esteem, and Shirley Raines is one person who is making that that happen. Sadly, Raines explains in the video her motivation for finding her purpose was the death of her child. Here’s a video explaining a bit more about what “Beauty 2 the Streetz” is all about.
Half The Sky
The late Richard Bowen is a third hero I believe deserves broader recognition. Dick was my neighbor for a several years in Beijing. He was a former filmmaker, a creative genius, and an incredibly kind and caring human being. Dick came to China along with his wife, the famous Jenny Bowen, to operate Half the Sky Foundation from Beijing. With the mission “to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China,” Jenny and Dick founded and nurtured Half the Sky to one of the most successful charitable organizations I have been affiliated with, entirely focused on the healthy development of, and providing brighter futures for, orphaned children in China. The name refers to the Chinese adage “Women hold up half the sky.”
Today Half the Sky is now operated as the One Sky Foundation, to comply with legalities in China, and the Foundation is thriving. Dick and I served on the Board of Half the Sky for several years, and he was a mentor to me and a very close friend. Beyond everything he did with his creativity, Dick, along with his wife Jenny, changed the lives of thousands of people. Sadly, Dick passed away earlier this year. He is someone many people will miss for sure, and we certainly need more Dick Bowen’s in this world. Picture of Dick Bowen below.
A fourth hero I want to draw attention to is Gertrude Young once again, as she is one of those unsung heroes who has shaped the lives of many, including a young Scott Kronick. Gertrude was one of the most important forces in my life and that of my siblings. She helped my mom raise us, among doing several other things for our family, while also raising two sons who are well known doctors in my hometown. Today, Gertrude is the matriarch of a highly successful family of doctors and more. While in her early 80’s she continues to offer advice and support, and she is one of those people who never seeks attention, yet who serves as a perfect family role model. Here is a picture of Gertrude with my sister Dana.
Finally, in the spirit of nurturing kids to do their best, the final hero of today’s Monday Morning Mojo is the hugely impactful, Villy Wang. Villy is the Founder, President and CEO of the non-profit organization called BAYCAT, and she is also the wife of a very good friend of mine, Luca Penati. BAYCAT, Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts & Technology, addresses racial, gender and economic inequity by creating powerful, authentic media while diversifying the creative industry. Through the education and employment of low-income youth, young people of color, and young women in the Bay Area of the United States, and producing media for socially-minded clients, BAYCAT is changing the stories that get shared with the world.
BAYCAT believes that every person’s story matters. The organization envisions a world where media and technology facilitate the telling of stories from the broadest possible range of experiences, driving people to create inclusive, equitable communities.
I was reminded of Villy’s organization when watching the NBA finals. Villy and Luca are huge Golden State Warriors fans and I know BAYCAT has worked with the Warriors as one of those socially-minded clients referred to earlier. Here is Villy speaking about BAYCAT in a very inspirational Ted Talk, and you can learn more about BAYCAT here: BAYCAT
The late John F. Kennedy said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource, and its best hope for the future.” Let’s all do our part in being the models we want our children to emulate.
Have a great week ahead and thanks for being part of this community.