We came together from the entertainment industry, philanthropy, journalism and the tech industry with a common goal: to fight the swell of religious intolerance, racism and cultural isolationism that threatens us, our children, and our society. Our non-profit is nimble, quick to react and all about immediacy - whether we are producing awareness events or in the streets feeding the homeless during the Covid-19 pandemic. Please consider becoming a part of us - either as a volunteer or financial supporter.

Learning the Lessons of the Past

Our mission is to make sure the the lessons of the past are not forgotten.  Every culture, race and religion share a common thread:  oppression.  What divides us is a construct that comes from fear.  What unites us are the things that make us human.  We're all in this together, no matter what our political or social bent.  Let's find the middle, for us and for our children.

The Strength of Empathy

This photo of actor John Schneider helping an elderly resident of the Motion Picture Home select a pair of donated tennis shoes illustrates the sheer power of giving.  There is no shame in caring for each other.  We find strength in the company of 'other'.  We become better people when we reach beyond our own culture and religion to help preserve the rights of 'other'.  We call it 'weaponizing empathy', and we use it to build bridges.

FOUNDER'S STATEMENT

We are so familiar with oppression.  It's a common thread in the collective history of all cultures.  When we demand rights for ourselves, and only ourselves, we usually diminish the rights of others.  We have found that when we work to defend the rights of others, we defend our own rights.  I'm personally inspired by the story of Chiune Sugihara - the Japanese Consul to Lithuania whose office was besieged by desperate Jewish people who were looking into the abyss.  Sugihara had never met a Jew in his life.  He called the home office in Tokyo to ask for their consul, and they told Sugihara to leave it alone.  "Do not engage them", they demanded.

Sugihara did what he knew was human.  Sugihara displayed empathy, and he weaponized it.  Sugihara's only recourse was to give out exit visas that enabled these Jews to escape using Japan as a throughway to their final destination.  Many fell in love with Japan and stayed their.  Brought up children there.  Introduced their culture to the beauty of the Japanese culture.

Sugihara saved thousands of Jews.  At an event that we did in August of 2019, George Takei, himself a recognized and highly respected activist, walked the voluminous stage of the Saban Theatre and told a mixed-culture crowd of Jews and Japanese Americans the story of Sugihara.  George was not a stranger to oppression.

The audience was transfixed by George's passion.  Once again, empathy weaponized.  We changed perceptions that evening.  We built bridges of tolerance and understanding between two great cultures.  

Once we recognize that oppression is a shared symptom of all mankind, then we can build bridges between us that are fortified with the knowledge that we have more in common than we do that parts us.  When you add empathy to that awareness, understanding follows.  We strive for a collective perception that will nurture what is good, and fight against what is bad.  

Please become a part of what we do.  Please support us.  Whether we are feeding the homeless during the Covid-19 pandemic or building bridges of tolerance and understanding.  We want your strength, your resolve and your humanity to make us strong.  There is no more waiting.  It's time.

Today, I want to leave you with three thoughts

If not now, then when? — If not here, then where? — If not you, then ??

Richard Stellar

July 22, 2020

richard@themankindproject.org

Richard Stellar

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