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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Luis Antonio Hernandez Affirming Our Actions I want to start with the roots behind the phrase affirm- ing civility. To affirm is to assert or to dedicate oneself to a position deemed important and valued. Civility is a foundation of respect that prevails when one considers the circumstances of others. By linking these terms, we define the behaviors and manners we learned in our young years and strive to enact every day. We’ve also learned social protocols—niceness, silence, passivity—that help us get along and, to a degree, be a civilized and well-adjusted people. Our wonderful colleagues— Janet, Holly, and Debra—have provided great stories and anecdotes from their personal and professional experiences on those learned behaviors, many directly related to our world of ECE. With affirming civility in mind, real-life lessons can come from sources far from our professional experiences. At this point, I want to extend that conversation by sharing the dynamics of tragedy, resiliency, and tension from a recent natural disaster. In the fall of 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated towns and neighbor- hoods along the coast of New Jersey and coastal areas of New York City. People in this region were not used to or prepared for the consequences of such a powerful storm that occurred as evening approached, right as the seas reached high tide during a full moon. Over a hundred people died in the region, seaside towns were destroyed, piers and boardwalks were ripped away, tunnels were flooded, transportation systems were shut down, and homes were destroyed by wind and water. Hundreds of thousands of people were without power for weeks, making life miserable as cold weather set in. A major disaster disrupts and upends society with incredible consequences to the economy, the environment, and most importantly, the lives of people. As it happens with many disasters, people responded with open hearts. People donated money, collected food items and clothing, and volunteered to help with whatever was needed. Right after such disasters there are extraor- dinary acts of support and assistance with neighbors helping neighbors, with promises for a quick recovery, and with the satisfaction that good is being done. Full of the best intentions, a feel-good atmosphere prevails. For a short time, gaps and divisions are put aside for the benefit of all. As the first hours of recovery become days, weeks, and even months, the reality of the situa- tion hits the people on the ground—the residents and volunteers. It is the realization that the conditions in which people lived before the storm have been deplorable for decades, that poverty is a reality to millions, and that it can exist in our own backyard. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL O U R WAY TO SIN CER ITY 13