“We all have bad days, we all have good days, we’ve all been hurt, we all miss someone and we all laugh at videos of cats in boxes,” said slam poet S.C. Says.
Says motivated Clark students heading into finals week during a virtual event on Wednesday. Performing under the stage name S.C. Says, Andre Bradford is a champion slam poet who highlighted the importance of empathy throughout his show.
Says believes that one of the main issues in our world is the lack of empathy. He says that empathy is vital when having conversations about important topics such as racism, mental health and when speaking to those who have opposing views.
Says believes that we need to build bridges between individuals through empathetic connections. A bridge cannot be one-sided, so humans must proactively find a common ground.
One of Says poems, “A Kindness,” explains a situation in his life when empathy changed his view of a stranger. The poem describes a trip to the grocery store that Says had taken on a particularly bad day. At the checkout, an elderly woman was holding up the line by paying with a checkbook and purchasing an abundance of groceries. Frustrated, he left the store, before realizing that the elderly woman had purchased the groceries for a homeless man outside.
He said that he was thankful for the woman’s kindness once he used empathy to step out of his mindset.
“One of the beautiful things about empathy is that we don’t have to go through the exact same experience to understand what someone else is feeling about it,” said Says “It can change the way you see someone.”
He also said that intentional empathy is a developed skill that requires practice. People must reach out to their friends, family, coworkers and loved ones to check in with them regarding their mental health.
Graphic by Mary Guevara
When someone shows empathy to another person, they are healing themselves as well. According to Says, empathy ignites neurons in the brain, making individuals feel good during bad days.
“It doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days, but you become more equipped to handle them,” Says said. “Using empathy gives you armor to protect yourself during rough times.”