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