If I Could Change the World, It Would Start With This

| January 12, 2016 | 1 Comment

This is a sponsored blog; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me to produce this post. #BFF2016 If I Could Change the World, It Would Start With This

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The Bentonville Film Festival asked me, ““If you could change the world for your kids in 2016, what would you change?” This year, I got a scare about my health. I cried for days and I’m still trying to digest the news. Don’t worry, I wasn’t diagnosed with a fatal disease, or given an expiration date on life.

I missed noticing something important about my health that may have consequences, later. It could even cause my life to end earlier than it otherwise would. According to statistics, it’s likely, but I’ve never let statistics define me, and I’m not about to start.

I want my life to be full of joy and not terrifying what-ifs. Being a mother is the biggest joy I’ve ever known. My children have always been curious. They want to know more than the obvious. They challenge the norm. They are different. They are definitively representative of the change the world needs. They were taught and nurtured to have two distinct qualities. If I could change the world, I’d teach the world these two qualities of my children.

Expression.

Empathy.

These things changed them and they CAN change the world, too. They are NOT defined by statistics.

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These triplets are going to change the world

My almost six-year-old triplets have worked very hard to synchronize who they are with what they have. They have Autism. The ability to express themselves and empathize with others are two of the biggest challenges people with Autism face. I cannot allow you to laugh at Autism, but you are more than welcome to laugh at the irony here. Lack of expression and empathy are a world problem, and not everyone has a medical explanation for the absence of these qualities in themselves.

Whether someone is a talented speaker, writer, painter, musician, illustrator, singer, actress, director, producer, or holder of any role that focuses on expression, and they use that talent of expression for good, the result is beautiful.

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It’s healing and inspiring. When a strong ability of expression is combined with empathy, there is no limit of how that can change the world. I saw the power of empathy best described by Jack Elphinstone on Quora:

While sympathy might be a measure of what makes two people different, empathy is a measure of what makes two people more alike.

If we can teach and nurture people into having empathy for others and using their power of expression for good, the whole world would spiral up into the greatest accumulative respect for humanity ever seen.

We could fight for every cause with these two things. Hunger. Abuse. Racism. Equality. Everything. I know this all sounds so idealistic, but think about how powerful these things are. Before my triplets were born, I never thought of these things as qualities that must be taught through intentional and repetitive step-by-step teaching and relentless nurturing. I thought of them as intuitive. That’s not entirely true.

Empowering with the skill and outlet for expression along with the teaching of empathy is a main focus in my parenting approach. It’s also my approach to changing the world.

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The Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) asked me how I would change the world, because they are changing it, too! BFF is research based and commercially focused. BFF is not shame and blame. They use research to raise awareness as they believe if they expose unconscious bias it will change. They are focused on supporting diverse storytellers. They strive to inspire young minds because if they can see it, they can be it.  

The second annual Bentonville Film Festival will be held May 3-8, 2016 in partnership with founding Sponsor Walmart, presenting Sponsor Coca-Cola and distribution partners AMC Theatres and Lifetime. BFF accepts films into its competition having two or more of the following characteristics:  Female or Minority Lead, Female or Minority Director, Female or Minority Writer, Female or Minority Production Company, Gender and Diversity Balanced cast, and/or Gender and Diversity Balanced crew. BFF guarantees full distribution to its winning films in the Best Narrative Jury Award, Best Family Film Award, and Audience Award categories.

About Bentonville Film Festival (BFF):  Founded by Academy Award Winner® Geena Davis and festival co-founder Trevor Drinkwater in 2015, BFF’s mission is to encourage content creation in film and other forms of media that reflects the diverse — and half female — world we live in.  BFF proactively supports content creation by minorities and women with a platform to showcase their work and, with the help of our partners, is the only film competition in the world to guarantee theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners.

BFF’s mission both honors and empowers everyone. If you’d like to join their mission, find out about Getting Involved!

With work like this, my only daughter, Kaitlyn might be able to grow up without ever worrying about doing less, earning less, or feeling less, because she is a minority. She is a Latina. She is female. She has Autism. I want a world like that for her. I want that for my sons. I want that for all of us!
By: Alicia Gonzalez

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Category: iamAliciaG

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  1. Change the world Kaitlyn! I hope for her sake that it does change. I’ve worked my tush off to get where I have in my career. I have never discussed salary with my male counterparts, as I don’t know them well enough. I’ve been given the salary discussion talk many times. I read an article that companies are not supposed to create a “non-discussion” atmosphere. The only way for women to know and stand up is for a complete culture shift around topics like this. If I am afraid to talk about my pay then how do I know if HE is making more.

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