Little Bits of Good

Tuesday? ACTION!

FOUR Tuesdays ago . . . I sat there, watching my computer bring me election updates, stunned.  

Numb, in fact.  

Sick.

And, really . . . four Tuesdays later, I'm still pretty much there.  (Although I am sleeping through the night now, so that's a plus.)

After giving the whole thing quite a bit of thought (and a lot of angst), I've decided that, really, the only way to deal with post-election madness and the upcoming (gulp) DJT presidency is to take ACTION.

On Tuesdays, I'm going to put together some sort of ACTION-related blog post.  Sometimes, I'll pass on direct actions you might choose to take; sometimes, I'll share information; and sometimes I may even bring you something to laugh about.  My aim is to provide information we can use . . . to stay informed, prepare ourselves, raise our voices, and make a difference.  Because one thing is for sure . . . I can't just sit here.  I need to do something!

So.  Where to start?  (Because there is just So Much.)

I'll begin here. . .

This morning, as I was driving to the gym, I heard this story on NPR.  (I can't find the NPR story I heard, so the link from ABC news will have to do.)  An off-duty police officer, who also happens to be a Muslim woman, was subjected to verbal threats by an angry man in her Brooklyn neighborhood.  (The man has since been charged with menacing as a hate crime.)

This type of news story is becoming increasingly more common.  It certainly seems that hate crimes are on the rise since the election (actually, since the campaign madness).*  

It gets me thinking. . . What can I DO if I encounter someone being harassed?  How would I take action?  How could I help?  I want to be prepared.

Here's a nifty little infographic that offers practical tips for helping diffuse harassment.

Tumblr_ocoysqdLiA1shxz3to1_1280

This short video by Films for Action also provides practical advice for what to do if you are a witness to harassment.

While I'm hoping I don't encounter this kind of situation, at least I'm feeling more prepared and ready to act.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
                                                   ---Margaret Mead

==========

*  Here's an interesting article about hate crimes reporting and the difficulty in obtaining meaningful, consistent data.  While it certainly does seem that hate crimes are on the rise, it is difficult to state with clarity how much.

 

 


Looking for the Good

14/30

It's November . . . a month that we typically associate with thanks and gratitude and abundance.

But, y'know?  Sometimes it's challenging to keep gratitude foremost in our minds.  Sometimes it's just too much.  And sometimes, well . . . let's just say it's been a bit of a rough year around here.

So I'm working hard to find the good.

Yesterday, it was just a small thing.

This.

FullSizeRender 92

Yesterday, I realized how grateful I am that most of the trees in my yard are conifers, or are deciduous trees that drop their leaves right in my garden beds where I use them as mulch.  (I am also a firm believer in mowing fallen leaves into your lawn as fertilizer -- a Master Gardener Smart Gardening practice.)  

So, yeah.  Yesterday, I was grateful that this huge pile of crunchy, fallen leaves . . . isn't mine to deal with!


Little Bits of Good

11/30

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little
bits of good put together that overwhelm the world."

                               --- Desmond Tutu

IMG_4102

Okay.  I'll admit that as I lay in bed, not sleeping, on election night . . . I only felt disappointment, disbelief, and deep, deep despair.  

Then I got angry.

And motivated.

To DO SOMETHING, for crying out loud.

Because I really do care that all people feel safe and secure and protected.  I think that even the very language we use should reflect respect for one another.  I believe in protecting our environment -- and that we should be doing a whole lot more to address climate change.  (Which is real.)  I believe that a rising tide raises all boats.  I believe in hope -- not fear.

I started doing some real soul searching . . . How can I move forward?  What can I do that might actually make things better for someone (or some concept) threatened by this horrifying new political reality?  Are there ways I might be able to make a difference?

I started by making a list of some of my biggest concerns.  And then, I started brainstorming about ways I could address them.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

  • I am concerned about the lack of civility . . . so I plan to be particularly mindful about practicing and modeling kindness, respect, and thinking before speaking.
  • I am concerned about threats to free speech and our constitution . . . so I plan to make significant donations to the ACLU, an organization that will stand on the front line in defending our constitutional rights.
  • I am concerned about the safety and protection of refugees and immigrants . . . so I am going to learn about programs and resources available to this population in my own community.  In fact, I have already been invited to observe an ESL class this Saturday at our local Islamic Center -- and I'm considering becoming involved as an ESL tutor.
  • I am concerned about voter suppression efforts . . . so I am going to learn more about voter rights here in Michigan, including who is doing what to keep voting accessible for everyone.  Perhaps I'll join the League of Women Voters and become a poll worker as a result. 
  • I am concerned about the climate . . . so I am going to start by focusing on my own personal conservation efforts.  I may begin devoting one or two blog posts each month to conservation topics, and I'm reseaching organizations to support through charitable donations and volunteer efforts.
  • I am concerned about racism . . . so I am going to learn more about being an effective ally -- and then I'm going to put that knowledge into practice.
  • I am concerned about freedom of the press and the general disintegration of journalism . . . so I am going to purchase online subscriptions to the New York Times and the New Yorker.  By supporting paid subscriptions, I hope to help strengthen checks and balances through the independent media.
  • I am concerned about women's reproductive rights . . . so I am going to make donations to Planned Parenthood, an organization that will stand on the front line in defending these rights, and will provide essential family planning services to women.
  • I am concerned about hunger and poverty . . . so I am going to shop for and donate at least one bag of groceries for our local food pantry every month.
  • I am concerned about education . . . so I am going to donate to a local, grassroots program funding college tuition for low-income, rural students in Lake County, Michigan (Michigan's poorest county on a per-capita basis -- and the county where my "up north" hideaway is located). A well-educated populace is necessary if we're ever going to think for ourselves.

This is just a start; I'm still brainstorming and thinking.  I want to make sure I'm doing my part to protect threatened people and causes that I care about.

I'm ready to DO SOMETHING -- and these little bits of good will add up.

Join me, won't you?