About Esther Vivian Kay

Esther Vivian Kay is a social justice journalist and trauma recovery coach

“Humans‘ superpower among the primates is our ability to collaborate”

There is a lot of new science that shows that collaboration is at the root of all life on earth, much more than competition. Sea plants, for example, could never have lived on land without collaborating with fungi. The eukaryotic cells that compose all complex life are the product of a weird collaboration between two different kinds of cells. It´s so fundamental. And humans' superpower among the primates is our ability to collaborate. Capitalism harnesses our urge to kill and dominate one another. If we can learn to harness our basic urge to collaborate instead, we'll be fine.

While I have always been a transparent woman, my book is the next level of honesty

My hope for my readers is an increase in their ability to emphasize with experiencing like situations. For them to have guided healing and renewed perspective on forgiveness. My desire is for readers to grow more self aware and able to cope even better with a restored sense of hope and encouragement to always be selfless and patient in their healing journey.

I want to work with people who are connected to the future and can help to create a paradigm shift

The change I am hoping for is that we can create new structures, new systems that support people’s well-being and development so that we don´t live in a world anymore that is based on using and abusing humans, animals, and the earth. The abusive pattern is coming from deep suffering. I´m not saying there are good or wrong people, because we all are both the victim and the abuser. There are so many ways we are feeding those things. We need to acknowledge and accept both aspects in ourselves so that we can stop judging, blaming, shaming, and rejecting others for its people and resolve the polarisation.

„The whole world has to come together to solve this climate change catastrophe,“

The whole world has to come together to solve this climate change catastrophe, however, developed countries must take the lead as agreed in the Paris Agreement. I believe we have to address the problem – we have now, that is coming and that we foresee. Our inaction may lead to reach to a disastrous situation. The Covid19 Pandemic is a sign that alerting us to act urgently on such an issue. Remember, Nature can take its revenge on us if it thinks it is overly drained. We have to be very conscious.

“We demystify the negative association of caring for someone”

We have a relationship of shared care in which he does most of the physical labour and I do more of the administrative or emotional labour. That´s where our strengths lie, if he struggles with how to handle a specific situation I will help him. People assume that he cares for me and I am his burden. But we care for each other. So people see him as this great guy, which he is, but not for being with a disabled woman. The work we do together often advocates for care–for yourself, within society and in a relationship. We highlight the importance of care and demystify the negative association of caring for someone.

As journalists it is our responsibility to monitor the power of the government

There is a moment during the Hong Kong protests that I will never forget. Last October I was going to photograph and do interviews during the protests. Suddenly, the police advanced and shot tear gas at the protestors. So the protestors ran away but one of them stopped in the chaos and asked, “Do you need help?” I told him, “I am fine and I can take care of myself. It is very dangerous, you have to run.” The situation was becoming messier, so the protestor pushed my wheelchair and helped me to leave the death trap.

It is our responsibility as human beings to bring healing through our lives and our art

I don´t think artists necessarily need to state their purpose, but I like to think that it is our responsibility as human beings to bring healing through our lives and our art. We don´t need to be a doctor in order to heal. I hope that my music can bring healing to people. My music addresses a lot of different topics. Everything from illness to depression to suicide to love and love lost. You as an artist feel that if you have something to say, then you treat it as a deep privilege and do everything you can to put out the best work and say it.

„I don´t think there has been a more critical time in American history as far as an election goes.”

We went from Barack Obama, who was an amazing President, to Donald Trump, who always took the easy way with everything. By the time Barack Obama spent his last year in office you couldn’t walk around saying some of the things that Donald Trump says in press conferences. That kind of racism wasn´t allowed anymore. We were making progress as a country. Trump emboldened those racists. I´m not going to lie, it´s hard right now, but America will prevail in the end.

“Whatever happens around the world, it is all us”

I try to make the Asian community feel less alone and tell them they need to stay strong when they´re in a classroom with people who are judgmental, have prejudices and go to coronavirus-themed parties at the weekends. Everywhere people could have the mentality to make a coronavirus-themed party and think it would be fun. People die in Asia because of this. Why is this funny? How can you celebrate? It is a tragedy. Thousands of people get infected. Thousands of families get destroyed by this.

You know when someone is being honest

It´s interesting because I talk very openly about the fact that forgiveness has nothing to do with healing trauma. Forgiving someone does nothing to the trauma that is inside of your brain. I think there is a misconception, especially in the Christian community, that says, as a Christian you have to do this and that. Those things have nothing to do with becoming a healthier person. I believe forgiveness is a beautiful, powerful thing, but I think it is a very individual and a very private, sacred thing. I don´t think it´s a tool that helps you relieve trauma inside your brain. It´s not trauma work.

“This degree of unity is unparalleled in the modern history of Lebanon”

I’d even go as far as saying this degree of unity is unparalleled in the modern history of Lebanon. There was chanting, singing, dabke (folk dancing). Patriotic ballads filled the air. Food and coffee were available for all. Strangers greeted and came to the assistance of strangers. While the exasperations and frustrations are very much real the energy on the ground is positive and inspiring through and through. Women, in particular, have played a substantial role in this revolution, at the levels of organizing and mobilizing and sustaining that positive energy.

“They key is to combine affect and effect. ”

A lot of political art is about criticizing the world we live in today and that´s necessary but what is also necessary is to envision the world we want to inhabit. Activists have a hard time doing this and often artistic activists have a hard time doing this but we think it´s essential. Unless people can imagine the world they want to be a part of in the future they never will join with you in the present.