Good American Manifesto: How Can I Be A Good American?

The COVID pandemic didn’t just casually bump into the human population in early March of 2020; it came at us like a raging, category 5 hurricane. People were helpless in havoc all around me. Radical change had become the new norm. Overnight, our school switched entirely online. We were not going to see our friends for an unknown length of time. We were not going to the temple to pray together. We were not leaving home.


But the way we responded showed America’s true colors. We lived the words of former Senator John McCain – we did not quit, we did not surrender. We didn’t hide more than the invisible virus required us to, in the interest of survival. We got up, we (doctors, nurses, and supporting staff) helped the sick, the National Guard vaccinated us, we minimized suffering, we made history. I saw regular people share food with those in need, I saw neighbors giving out masks to those who didn’t have them.


Instantly, I knew it was my turn to help America. I jumped in with both feet, with my aunt, into an open source oxygen concentrator project (OxiKit) to help our neighborhood in case someone got sick. When in doubt, (Google it and) build. Then take it apart, (watch a YouTube video) and build again. And do it again. Do it over and over until it works – this is how I learned engineering. From shopping for parts to assembling them, to testing the output gasses for purity and safety, and through the frustration of several iterations, we finally built a working prototype. More importantly, we improved and documented the design along with Americans in CA, TX, GA, and a few other states (gratitude for Zoom). As our work spread across the entire world, I prayed as patients in Namibia, Afghanistan, and India were put on our machines, and rejoiced when they stabilized enough to step down care from the ICU.


That’s what being American means. It means finding the spirit to step up for the country, the wider world, and fellow humans before oneself. It means holding on to optimism through those hardships and emotions. I continue to serve as the communications & public relations chair facilitating technical, business, and other information exchange across teams in 20+ countries. Because being a world leader, being an American leader, means noticing a marginalized group, an unmet need, a disadvantaged cohort – doing this irrespective of what we share or not in ideology because we share humanity in common. It means not just taking care of ourselves, but joining forces with others around the world to collaborate, build and advocate for change.


I am continually inspired to reach for that state of better by those around me. I am truly proud to be an American citizen today. So, to our founding fathers who made this possible, all the brave soldiers who stand up and fight for us to this day, and to each one of you who wakes up, dreams, shares and inspires; I am grateful for you.