We need to increase diverse social connections during this season of social distancing. This interview with pastor, musician and writer Jimi Calhoun and diversity consultant and author Steve Hanamura increase our awareness on the need for showing care for those often shut-out and shut-in during this season of social distancing due to Covid-19. Pastor Calhoun, who is African American, and Mr. Hanamura, who is Japanese American and blind from birth, have a passion to foster diverse unity in the body of Christ and society at large. Such diverse unity includes a passion for ethnic diversity and people of alternative abilities, extending to those with disabilities and the elderly. Considering how African Americans have experienced a double dose of pain and suffering due to the Coronavirus and how Asian Americans face threats due to language of the “Chinese Virus,” and given their work as minority leaders in the disability community, Steve Hanamura and Jimi Calhoun are ideal thought leaders to address this subject. I encourage readers to check out Steve Hanamura’s website for Hanamura Consulting, whose tagline is “Celebrating Oneness,” and Jimi Calhoun’s website, which features the intersection of diversity, music, and beauty. You can find their answers to my prompts below in the attached video interview at the close of this blog post.
Jimi and Steve, one of the qualities most needed today as we deal with this global pandemic is to remain socially connected in the face of required physical distancing. Just like face masks and ventilators, empathy is in short supply in various quarters. It is very easy for me to focus on my sense of isolation and anxieties and lose track of others. Beyond care for one’s own well-being and that of one’s loved ones, I need to guard against “shutting down” the empathy generator in my soul and concern myself for the well-being of others across the cultural spectrum. Christian Scripture calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and the category of “neighbors” is not reserved for those I like or those like me. With these points in mind, we at New Wine Tastings reached out to you to discuss some groups that are often “shut out” and “shut in” today, including or especially in the face of this pandemic. You are Christian leaders of diverse ethnic backgrounds and who are advocates in the disability community. People of diverse ethnic backgrounds are often “shut out” and people with disabilities are often “shut in,” along with the elderly.
This content was originally published here.