Come In, Sit With Us

Oct 25, 2023
Kate Walton

Ever since October 7th, when Hamas killed and kidnapped Israeli civilians, and Israel began retaliatory strikes on Gaza, I’ve watched countless conversations, many between friends, go completely off the rails.

I understand why: in the face of so much raw grief, connecting across divides—a difficult feat in the best of times—becomes almost impossible.


“First, do no harm” is about as far as I’ve gotten over the last seventeen days. For me, this has meant immersing myself in the coverage—resisting the urge to look away from atrocities and working hard to sort verified news from misinformation. It has also meant reaching out to close friends who have been directly impacted, just to say: I see your pain, I can only imagine your fear.

Long, one-on-one conversations—not in writing but with halting voices—have been difficult but good. Large group discussions on the other hand, whether on social media or in crowded text threads, have been disastrous. After a few days of trying to learn in these forums, I opted out of big group chats in favor of going straight to news sites and podcasts.

I left my usual group settings with regret though: especially when the world is burning, there’s a lot to be said for sitting together with a bunch of other people. And so I was glad yesterday to see a Slack reminder about an open meetup we’re hosting at Steyer today, Wednesday, October 25th at 1pm PT. (There’s still time to get the link—RSVP here.)

We won’t be discussing the Middle East; this gathering was planned months ago and will feature Steyer consultant Niem Tran sharing the tale of his remarkable comeback from late-stage kidney failure. I don’t work directly with Niem, so I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting him—but I do know the value of exchanging the stories that have shaped us, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing his.

If you, too, are craving some quiet, thoughtful company, but you need more notice to join one of our gatherings, consider adding to your calendar our next open meetup after today’s. On November 15th, guest speaker Deacon Turner, a member of the Cherokee Nation, will be joining us to discuss (among other things) the TV show that some on the Steyer team consider to be the “most perfect series ever created.”

Thanks for reading,

Photo by Rabie Madaci on Unsplash