One of the first speakers who started off the Social Good Summit was Chelsea Handler. Chelsea has a Netflix documentary series called “Chelsea Does” and a TV series called “Chelsea” -an online late-night talk show that streams 3 times a week all over the world. She has talked about many topics including marijuana legalization, HIV, and the 2016 presidential election, but today she spoke to us about her experiences in filming these episodes.
One of the questions she was asked was to tell us about something that really stuck with her while traveling around the world and immersing herself into cultures she had never encountered before. She answered, “the biggest take away is how similar we all are. Everyone’s got a family they all love.” Despite the differences, there is a sameness in these cultures. Handler spoke humorously of how she delved into the cultures in a real way and promoted traveling to places outside of one’s comfort zone. It made me think about my own experiences traveling – though I am generally not comfortable leaving my neighborhood and going to a totally new place, I ended up trying to force myself to go out and learn about different communities. Traveling can be described as something that refreshes your perspective and gives you the push you need to take a step into understanding yourself better, not just other people. When we see others do things vastly different from us, we tend to compare our actions. By questioning our own actions – asking things like “why does this culture not have a stigma in this that we do?” and “how is their community able to support each other personally in a way we have not?”, I believe we can have self-growth as a community.
Handler also expressed the importance of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Talking about her travels while recording her show, she said it is better to ask the question rather than pretend you understand something you don’t. It was a powerful way to say don’t turn away from issues you’re not familiar with, and rather attempt to educate yourself because then you can contribute to the world.
Her show acts as a tool for her to contribute to the world, and teach others how to get involved in issues they feel passionately about. “If you have a soap box, stand on it, and scream,” she encouraged. As I was given a soap box - thanks to the advancements in technology, the blogosphere, and UNA-USA’s Social Good Summit - I intend to stand on it and scream my own messages for social good.