Leap on Finding Meaning in Loss

Adjunct Professor of Social Welfare Jorja Leap was featured in an episode of the UCLA “10 Questions” series exploring the question, “What is loss?” Leap explained that for the past 20 years, gang members have been her teachers about loss. “Loss is unavoidable,” said Leap, who shared the stories of four individuals and the different types of loss they experienced: death, loss of freedom, loss of childhood and redemption. After the death of one former gang member, Leap struggled to grapple with the suddenness of death and the terror that “this could happen to any one of us at any time.” She has found that authentic empathy and humility are the keys to establishing connections that bridge gender, age, race and ethnic divides. “We know we’re going to lose, and yet we attach so deeply, especially to the ones we love,” she said. For Leap, experiencing loss has made the love and the attachment all the more profound.


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