Hope and California: Two Minority Perspectives

Hope and California: Two Minority Perspectives

Growing up, our family never spoke as if race was a barrier — just another issue to contend with in the pursuit of a goal. My two siblings and I were inculcated with the belief that we could achieve anything that we wanted, if we put our minds to it. The cardinal values of honesty and integrity, and the notion that right wins out over might, were instilled in us. With regard to hope, along with humor, they are the glue that binds our family together.

Our genealogy is rife with religious practitioners and devout observers, antedating at least four generations with roots in the soil of the South. Religion: a quixotic amalgamation of faith and hope. I believe that it was the indelible religious beliefs of our progenitors that endowed my family with its intrepidly optimistic outlook. An attribution that has helped to buoy us through many troubling times. And while I am not an observer of any formalized dogma, I have been unquestionably influenced by this familial trait.

I first moved to California at the age of 18 to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. And though I attended art school for only one year, I stayed in the area and adopted San Francisco as my home. The ensuing 27 years have been enthralling and infuriating; joyful and miserable; and, at times, actualizing achievements beyond my wildest expectations and disappointments that pierced my very core. In other words, a fairly typical existence.

The significant difference, however, is the environs of the aforementioned existentialism: a golden state where the sunset can take your breath away; where the overwhelming might and majesty of the Pacific Ocean can infuse you with a sense of humility that makes the most monumental problem seem trivial; where the diversity of people serves as a constant reminder of the multiplicity and richness of life. This is what compels me to stay — through the ups and downs of drought, earthquakes, El Nino, dot-com and dot-gone — and impels me forward. It is this state of hope (also known as California) that sustains me.

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About the Author

Tom Hill

Tom HillDr. Hill is a corporate communications professional and a respected advisor to senior executives in the areas of employee communications, organizational psychology and employee engagement. He has more than 20 years of experience as a strategic communicator and change manager, with a keen focus on business results. The mission of his consultancy is to provide solutions to organizational challenges through effective communications. Tom has worked with global corporations such as Bank of America, Charles Schwab & Co., and Chevron; as well as regional and national companies, including Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Kaiser Permanente. He is currently engaged by technology behemoth, Cisco Systems, as a communications counselor to executives leading the company’s largest business initiative of the Internet of Everything. Tom resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has a bachelors degree in Business Management; a masters degree in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco; and a doctoral degree in Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology in Sacramento, Calif.

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