Workers' Compensation

Voice from the Chair

by Jack Goodchild

It hardly seems possible, but what at first seemed like a problem that we could quickly handle and overcome has turned into what appears to be continuing disruption, hardship, tragedy and uncertainty that may well last for another year and possibly more. I am, of course, talking about the Covid-19 Pandemic.

I started isolating and working from home in March of this year. It has now been a half year with no end in sight. While my office has continued to work with a full staff, we have been struggling to stay solvent and productive. I could feel sorry for myself, but from my background and my experience I understand that I am very fortunate. I look around and see too much suffering and untold anxiety and a level of despair that I have not seen in my lifetime. But there is hope!

I am the child of Holocaust survivors. My parents lost everything including too many close relatives to count. However, they did not give up. They rebuilt their lives after barely surviving World War II. I am the result of their determination to rebuild a life in America   I am an example of the American Dream. I am myself an immigrant, having arrived in New York City at the age of three months old. My parents worked hard, went to school, learned English as a second language and taught me to be the person I have become.

The lesson I take from this is simple: We can and we must overcome this crisis and build a more resilient and prepared world, society and nation to strengthen our ability to withstand future stressors and crises.

Today, we are at a crossroads in American History. Our very basic ideals have been challenged and tested by the extreme politics and economic challenges of our present in our history as a nation. The pandemic has added an enormous additional strain to an already stressed society and nation. A lack of racial and ethnic equality and justice has come to dominate our consciousness as the result of recent abuses which highlight a national history of oppression and injustice. We have basic choices to make as a society and as a nation. Times of great stress can be either destructive or informative and provocative of needed change. We are at such a point currently in our nation’s history.

So how does this impact us in terms of our lives as professionals in the California workers compensation system? That is the question we wrestle with in our duties as professionals and citizens in this great state.

Your section’s executive committee is committed to the betterment of our workers’ compensation system and of those involved in it. We are rising to the challenges we face. We are focusing even more than ever on diversity and education to enable our committee and its endeavors to reflect this commitment.

We have expanded the editorial board of both the E-news and the Quarterly to reflect our diversity. We happily welcome Kia Myers Holsey and Viviana Santiago. They will bring their own life experiences and understanding to an already great board which includes Randy Pollak and Saro Kerkonian.

We continue to provide timely and informative webinars and are still facilitating community outreach, although virtually, due to the pandemic. We are committed to diversity in our choice of speakers, topics, and programs. Please periodically check our website for information regarding available programs and opportunities.

Our annual convention in September will be virtual as well and will include an education program and a breakfast chit chat (to be announced) where we will answer any questions regarding our committee and its activities. Our own meetings have, of course, also gone virtual and we are all getting much better at Zoom meetings.  All our subcommittees are active and performing their public service as we confront this crisis.

We have chosen as a committee to rise to the occasion in every way possible.  However, we are only as effective as we are because of the involvement of the community and volunteer efforts by the many speakers, educators, and other community members. As always, I invite everyone to reach out to us to become more involved in bettering our community. We are always open to new ideas, input and offers to participate.

This month, Jesus Mendoza, a member of our committee and liaison to the California Young Lawyers Association will describe their activities and relationship with our committee. His article follows. Until next month, stay safe, be well and count your blessings.

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