In his book, The Prophet, Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran wrote, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” African-American rapper Jay-Z rapped, “Sure, I ponied up a mill, but I didn’t give my time. So in reality I didn’t give a dime,” in the track “Minority Report,” which is about the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.
If you are passionate about making a difference, about affecting real change, it is time to take the activism offline and do some work. It is not as simple as clicking the Like, Share, and Donate Now buttons.
So how do you start? By thinking locally.
There are so many organizations that need physical support, not just monetary support. Every community has groups and organizations that improve lives and spaces. Get involved with literacy programs, mentorship programs, life skills programs, physical fitness, mindfulness, food deserts, urban gardening. The list of ways you can support your own community and nurture equality is endless.
Everyone is quick to point fingers at Washington but guess what? The people in Washington are not the ones who are electing or appointing your mayors, judges, and police chiefs. They are not the ones who vote for your township supervisor or city clerk. Do you know who your state representatives and U.S. congresspeople are? Do you attend their coffee hours? Did you know that they have coffee hours?
Perform an examination of conscience. Are you really doing all you can to combat racism? The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light shared a link on their social media that helped me perform one. Click here to read it (along with other prayer resources for healing racism.)
It can feel like we will never do enough to fix what is wrong with the world. That’s okay. We can start with fixing what is wrong with our little corner of the world. In moments like this, remember what Michelle Obama said to Leslie Knope: change happens one person at a time.