Little Bits of Good
"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?
That is an amazing list and doing is so much better than worrying or complaining. My mother in law is teaching ESL to a Syrian family her community is sponsoring and finds it inspiring. They are so motivated to learn and succeed.
One individual can make a difference.
Posted by: Viki | 11/11/2016 at 08:01 AM
Wonderful ideas and suggestions. You've got me thinking about the League of Women voters and NOW.
Posted by: Carole | 11/11/2016 at 08:07 AM
You are such an inspiration. I too have planned on being a poll worker once my work life is reduced. You've inspired me to pull the trigger on the NYT subscription I've been considering, I've been trying to watch my words for a while...thank-you Kym for this thoughtful and motivating post! xoxo
Posted by: Patty | 11/11/2016 at 08:07 AM
I agree that action is the answer. Your ideas are great! I also think that thank you notes to Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and the Obamas are in order.
I have increased my donation to Planned Parenthood and will be donating to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project.
Posted by: Inkyknitter | 11/11/2016 at 08:15 AM
While still processing it all, one thing has definitely become clear: We all must DO. Something. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and for this terrific list!!
Posted by: Vicki | 11/11/2016 at 08:49 AM
My sister & I discussed some of the same actions that we plan to take in our community. Thank you for posting this, I think it is the best way to respond to the threats we all face.
Posted by: Debbie | 11/11/2016 at 09:11 AM
Posted by: Bridget | 11/11/2016 at 09:37 AM
These are not just little bits of good; this is a whole lot of good! I had to quit being stuck in my own despair and anger, so I also decided it was time to do something. I made my donation to Planned Parenthood, and my Christmas gift list for others includes NYT, New Yorker, and The Atlantic subscriptions. You've motivated me to look into ESL tutoring at our library. I applaud and thank you!
Posted by: Bonny | 11/11/2016 at 09:47 AM
I love this list! So much. I wrote a long letter to Hillary and put it in the mail on Tuesday. I think the suggestion of sending one to President Obama is also a good idea, so that will move onto my "to do list" to thank him for the past eight years. In addition to your list, I am going to make it a regular practice to support minority/LGBTQ businesses. Even if it costs more, or I have to drive a bit further - this is important I think. There are so many great suggestions here - and yes, we all need to do something. May this grow into something powerful and amazing! (And, I am going to go and get a box of safety pins today. I will wear one every time I am out and I will have a stash to give away - this was something started after Brexit to show people that you were "safe")
Posted by: AsKatKnits | 11/11/2016 at 10:47 AM
If I still blogged, I would say what you said here. But not as well.
Posted by: claudia | 11/11/2016 at 11:17 AM
Thank you so much for your list & for caring! I, too, am considering how I can make some differences in the way I live & interact with people around me. It's simply not enough to sit in despair, appalled at what happened & could happen. We need to take some positive steps in a better direction!
Posted by: Kathleen Nystrom | 11/11/2016 at 11:53 AM
Action is the best way to work though our feelings. This is a wonderful call to action! When working at our local food pantry they told us a donation of $1 could be turned into $7. I now give a check regularly, especially during the summer months when food drives are rare.
Posted by: margene | 11/11/2016 at 12:34 PM
What a wonderful list! You are an inspiration. I second the League of Women Voters idea; last year I helped start a chapter here ( helped finalize the bylaws, did the grunt work to get our chapter officially recognized). It is a wonderful organization, and you can be as involved as your want. I took their poll observer webinar on the Saturday before the election day, not because I had volunteered to be an observer, but because our town clerk (like nearly all town (rural) clerk) provides almost no training, and I am a poll worker.
And thank you letters to Hillary and Tim Kaine and especially the Obamas -- YES!
Posted by: kmkat | 11/11/2016 at 01:40 PM
The outcome of this election has motivated to get my skin back in the game politically and to deepen my support of worthwhile causes. Thank you for your inspirational post (almost wrote "past" lol).
Posted by: Jo | 11/11/2016 at 05:46 PM
Brava! My work is with refugee families, so I can tell you that any help with ESL classes will be very welcome. And you will ENJOY it! It's a great opportunity to meet people you might never know, learn about their culture, and make a real difference in the life of someone else.
My work has been a consolation this week. But last night I had my first hard questions, from a 14 year old girl. Will we have to leave? (Almost certainly not, you have a green card [and I didn't add, aren't Muslim or from Syria.]) Will we have to pay for school? (A great opportunity to talk about how schools are mostly state funded.) Will we still have medical [coverage]? (Harder - what will happen to this family without the Affordable Care Act? I was reduced to "it'll work out." Which I hope is true.)
Posted by: Pam | 11/11/2016 at 07:21 PM
You are an inspiration. Thank you!
Posted by: Sylvia | 11/11/2016 at 09:20 PM
What an excellent action plan for us all around the world...if we all do that, what a impact we will have ...
Posted by: Julia in KW | 11/12/2016 at 08:14 AM
Taking action and DOING something feels good - what a great list - thank you!
Posted by: Mary | 11/12/2016 at 04:56 PM
As the days have gone by since the election, I find that several bloggers I read and several FB friends have the same resolve that you have described so well here. It is time to begin to do, to contribute in some way to our community, and especially to help those whose lives may be most threatened by the new administration and/or its supporters. Already there has been a noticeable uptick in hate crimes! You have created a great list of "doable" items. I'm likely to use a few of your ideas.
Posted by: Susan | 11/14/2016 at 03:14 PM