I’m compelled to publish this last blog entry today before I go online shopping. I offer it as a disclaimer because in the coming days I’m going to report on what I learned at the NAMI-New York State educational conference.

My high school art teacher taught us the concept of “unity with diversity” in composition.

Michelle T. Johnson, the author of The Diversity Code, tells us that the ideal is the goal of “viewing diversity as the highest form of honoring individualism.”

I want to talk about this as I head into talking about what I learned at the educational conference.

Anyone who reads this blog will realize I have strong views. Yet what I believe is not any more valid than what another person thinks. More so, I’m not going to use my belief to justify discrimination.

I strive to treat everyone with dignity in the same open compassionate way. This to me is what’s missing from dialogue that often devolves into flame-throwing.

Johnson talks about the peril of how a person will counter another person’s belief with their own opinion as if their belief is valid and the original comment is not.

The cross of this matter is that no one is willing to work to find common ground, so that attacking your opposition has become the norm.

The beauty of living in America is that each of us can freely express ourselves. Fear of reprisal shouldn’t stop us from speaking out.

I listen to people, and I understand them. We’re all in this together. It’s precisely because I remember the past that I understand where consumers are coming from in what they say.

Yet I’ve always been more hopeful. Still it’s not “my way or the highway.” Not at all. I welcome unity with diversity. Queen Latifah sang a song “U-N-I-T-Y” in the 1990s. Remember that?

Like I said my new focus in this blog will be on right here right now. My contention is that we each of us need to move forward into the future, not remain stuck on crucifying the psychiatry of the past.

Today is right here right now the day to shift the needle.

I respect that leaders in the field and ordinary peers are evolving the dialogue at the NAMI-New York State educational conference.

The love is palpable there because we are all NAMI-New York State family. And family sticks together.

I just wanted to say this before I present my views of what I learned.

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