The gist of the conversation was about our unconscious biases, and how these assumptions, perceptions, and prejudices can lead to unfair treatment towards people, especially in the legal system. Psychiatrist Dr. Seema Sehgal, talked about how critical it is to look deeper within ourselves to address latent biases, while Counselor Raji Nagarkar shared experiences where she had witnessed children growing up in disturbing and abusive environment.
Richard Hobbs, an immigration attorney, read statements from immigrants who felt these discriminative biases first hand from the judicial system and emphasized that we have a long way to go in order to achieve positive changes. Representing our youth generation, Kyle Dacallos, bay area NAACP Youth Council President and a sociology student, effectively drove home the fact that the youth will have to step up and bring about the social changes by pushing those boundaries beyond our comfort zones and by connecting with people at the human level.
Rita quoted a fact that 99.99% of us share the same DNA – only 1/100 th percent is unique and which really differentiates each individual being. We all have a potential to harm and to be criminals, but the values that we learn from life and the goodness that we choose to see in people can make us the better human beings that we thrive to be.
The time constraint left the audience wanting to broach the topic further by discussing in-depth and by sharing their personal experiences. Both, the panel and the audience walked away with a goal to consciously battle the inherent human nature to be biased and prejudiced.
For more information on IBPW and its upcoming 2017 Mentoring Conference, visit www.ibpw.net