Hospice Care and Prenatal Care: Collective Care

Alicia Garza (Black Lives Matter): Treat our work as if it is in fact hospice care for that which is dying and prenatal care for that which is being born.

Having been a caretaker for my dad in the last few years of his life made me realized how precious life is. Human beings have 100 years more or less alive on this planet; every day, we are moving closer towards death. In that sense, isn’t Earth our “hospice”? We are far behind connecting with each other towards care, not exploit, abuse, suppress, use, disguise, etc., but real care for one another, our community and society, and Mother Earth. We always remind each other taking care, however “what is self-care without the care of the community” (“The Purpose of Power”)?

This profound question reminded me of my mom, who was always there caring for her family, community, and colleagues because she understood well that our happiness depends on each other.

After my dad passed away, I ran my life with a sense of urgency — social entrepreneurship and impact investing, ecosystem building, personal interests, networking events, professional and personal training, and made connections more than the previous 30 years, etc. I kept learning, exploring, and experimenting with the meaning of life, and I was racing on this hospice of Earth. However, I need a more systemic foundation to build a more sustainable practice that connects dots in my work and life. By the referral from PGS alumni, I joined this program, and it became the prenatal care for my career and life, so I could take care of myself, my work, and my fellow humans better in my remaining time on Earth.

In society at large, the above-mentioned selfish individual actions turned into slavery, colonization, capitalism, discrimination, wars, economic crisis, extinction, now climate change/ global warming, and many more. They made this “hospice” experience even worse. Social innovation was born to improve the conditions under those issues, connect people, resources, and other sectors collectively, and is a new sector that needs a lot of prenatal care. Many organizations in this sector try to accomplish those overwhelmingly large-scale goals by themselves and end up solving one problem and created another, stretching the resources very thin, and not supporting the sustainability of the sector. Again, we do not know how to prenatal care for this new-born.

An example is that when “Toms shoes” was founded, it donated shoes to people in developing markets who could not afford to buy them, and that caused high competition to local shoe factories that employed locals and took away their customers. It then adjusted its strategy and moved factories to those markets to hire local employees and donate to the ones needed.

Once a caretaker, I deeply understand that “care” is a holistic and complex system and it has many components — physical, mental, financial, spiritual — with the cared, with the related parties and stakeholders, with myself; and they are all interconnected with own benefits and costs.

Both hospice care and prenatal care rely on system thinking to do it well, reach the mission and realize our common dreams. They are collective care beyond self-care.


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