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Progressive Values Stories: Jeremy Rothe-Kushel on Caring

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"Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community." Anthony J. D'Angelo

In this interview, Jeremy Rothe-Kushel talks about the progressive value of caring. He recounts learning to care more deeply by being with his family at his great-grandmother's death bed. It's a learning process to expand your sense of care beyond just thinking of yourself - to caring for your family, community, nation and the world.


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Progressive Values Stories: Jeremy Rothe-Kushel on Caring

My name is Jeremy Rothe-Kushel, and I was born and raised in L.A., and I’ve been a Peace and Social Justice activist for about a decade of my life. I’m a teacher of young people. I do hip-hop, word props, after school programs, and I’m a hip-hop artist myself.

To me progressive values would be – first, I would start that in order to make progress as a human species, we have always had to remember from the past. Meaning that the only way that we are here is because our ancestors made it through, through all kinds of trials and tribulations.

And, so I would say, progress would be taking on the best, the highest values that have come through our thousands of years of human history, and parsing through them, because some things have to be left and composted, and other things need to be taken up.

And also allowing for the fact that the human condition and human beings in general are just like the universe, that we are unfinished beings.

Edwin: So what are those values from the past that you want to bring forward?

Jeremy: So values from the past that I would like to see brought forward is the value of family, of a tribe, of loyalty, of care – ever-widening circles of care that we can include more and more beings into in terms of our hearts and our mind, and thus breathe it into our action. Meaning when you start as an infant, you can’t care for yourself. And then you begin to learn how to care for yourself. And then you begin to learn how to care for your immediate family. And then if you have a healthy family, you can learn how to care for the larger community, your nation and your world.

What immediately comes to my mind is when I was about maybe less than ten – six, or something like that -- and there was the night that my great-grandmother died. And my whole family was there. And she has a very big family – she gave birth to 12 children. And a lot of us were there, and in that moment of her being there with us and her sort of making eye contact with us and showing her care for us, and the fact that we were there with her at her last moment.

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Founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. http://cultureofempathy.com The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, (more...)
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