Corporate wellness is a challenge in the best of times, and a seeming impossibility in this moment in time; the worst hard time. Wellness itself is hard to imagine, given present circumstances.
Given the reality of COVID-19 and life during a pandemic, given the disproportionate toll on minorities and minority-run businesses, given all we know, given all we do not know, too, we need to do whatever we can to help the sick, protect the vulnerable, and strengthen the recovery of both patients and the body politic.
We must give of ourselves without weakening our bodies or minds, so we may spread wellness rather than disease; we must prevent disease by emulating the leadership of those men and women who refuse to succumb to fear; we must act with all deliberate speed, instead of surrendering to the forces of panic and doubt.
According to Fabrizio Moreira, founder of Secret Music, minorities have an important role to play in advancing wellness. As a Latino leader at home and abroad, as a witness to tragedy in America and the Americas, Moreira knows how precious wellness is. About the pandemic and conditions in New York City, he says:
“Minority communities face a real but invisible threat. If we are not to be among the majority of victims, if we are to avoid contracting, spreading, or losing our lives to COVID-19, we must lead by example. We must set an example for New Yorkers and all peoples to follow.”
Moreira seeks to rally the public through his network of musicians and entertainers, using social media to not only promote individual artists but to influence the cause of public health and global unity.
I applaud his efforts for reasons of necessity and common sense. Put another way, his reasoning is just because his motives are sound; his motive being a reversal of COVID-19; his means being the amplification of voices—a literal increase in the volume of his message—by messengers with the talent to liftevery voice and sing. That his messengers are singers is a benefit to all mankind.
Commonsense dictates the same, that leaders try to capture the public’s attention through messages that inform and inspire. How else to transcend the present than by encouraging people to see a future—a near future—in which quarantine ends and life (as we knew it) resumes again? How else to create the vision of a potential reality than by illustrating it? How else to have people believe what they see than to give them a goal to achieve?
The questions answer themselves, or they should, because we need new leaders to guide us. We need entrepreneurs and private citizens, we need minorities and people of almost every point of view; we need, in the words of Fabrizio Moreira, leaders who set an example. The example we need to set combines education and entertainment.
If we are to educate people about the path to wellness, if we are to educate ourselves in the process, learning how to communicate with greater clarity and urgency, we must start with programs that work. The programs of the present are, for the most part, ineffective, while the policies of the past—policies with a record of success—receive little or no attention from companies and institutions alike. Whatever the reason for this lack of attention, we need to study the past.
Even a quick survey of the past reveals a common theme among the best policies involving the promotion of health and wellness. The theme is entertainment.
The theme is educational, too, because the content is dynamic. The content, like a hit song or album, resonates with an audience. The content, in this case, must appeal to a global audience. The content should, therefore, be the result of creatives—from artists and designers to singers and songwriters to entrepreneurs and executives.
The content should motivate people to insist on wellness as a matter of principle. The content should popularize wellness as a way of life. The content should position the idea of wellness as a high ideal. The content should be the basis for improving quality of life.
Let creatives lead this campaign. Let creatives from minority communities champion this campaign. Let Latino leaders win this campaign, not for themselves alone, but for the good of humanity. Let us begin this campaign, as we have a pandemic to defeat and a promise to keep; the promise being the advancement of wellness among companies large and small.
Resolute in our desire to live well, let us also resolve to bear the burdens of this campaign. The hardships will be several, and sometimes severe, but such is the situation we confront. The situation is a crisis of the state of our existence, testing our will to endure and our commitment to withstand repeated setbacks. The situation is, however, fixable.
With creatives to lead us and leaders to guide us, we have it in our power to do for public health what private companies choose to do for the health of their workers. We have the power to put wellness at the forefront of conversations about healing the sick, treating the aged, and comforting the ailing.
We have a duty to exercise power with the vitality of the young, the vision of the wise, and the valor of the heroic. Accepting this duty is neither a guarantee of success nor a safeguard against the pain of failure. But accept this duty we must, for the world looks to creatives for hope. Let creatives, in turn, look to history for reassurance.
Let assure ourselves that victory is achievable, so long as we have the leaders we deserve and the creatives we need. Let us win a memorable and lasting campaign for wellness.