I know this is a weird time. I live in Dallas. As in #wearedallas #onedallas and #prayfordallas. That Dallas.
For the last three days, I’ve ghosted on FB, IG, Snap. I needed time to process the violence from last Thursday night. What I did instead, was talk. I talked to friends, neighbors, acquaintances. I asked “what needs to be done to make a real difference?” Then I listened. Some people feel lost. And some have strong ideas. Great ideas for real change. Here’s what I’ve learned in 3 days.
First and foremost, action is called for. Some I heard from said “yeah, but nothing works.” To that I respond, did you try EVERYTHING? Sure, not each action will get the response you want. But for me, I can’t stomach living a life where I sit on the sidelines because I might fail. I would rather work the rest of my days for any small amount of change to say I tried. To say “I gave my hours and my passion and my life in the name of all that is good in the world.” Don’t give in to fear and hate and disillusionment. You’re better than that. I know you are.
So what action is best? What can one person do?
The truth is, I have no idea what YOU should do. Just do the thing that calls out to you…that thing that makes your gut rumble. If you need a place to get started, here are 5 heavy hitters that could make for real change in the US.
Policy: If to you, these attacks seem like an issue with guns and you want direct impact, start here: http://momsdemandaction.org/ or here: http://www.hrc.org/ Two strong forces for real change in the gun laws of America.
Education: You see this as a class issue…how about equal education for all. Get moving with Head Start in your area, or Girls Inc, or one of the hundreds of other educational non-profits that are out there, doing good. EVERY DAY.www.hsgd.org or www.gimd.org
Parks: Wha?!? you ask. Yes…parks. There is so little that is free in our city (and yours too, most likely). Parks are a great equalizer. All people can enjoy them. They also give us a place to gather in times of joy and grief. In Dallas, we have a giant expanse which holds the Trinity River, that may become a well-used park one day. http://www.nrpa.org for a national non-profit or help on starting your park.
Prisons: Our prison system is becoming privately-operated. And if you didn’t know that, this is your announcement. Incarceration is a big, profitable business. Like any other business, prisons require “customers” and “growth models”. Guess where the customers come from. Our nation’s poorest and least-educated.
And the number one way to take action: try ignoring your phone/computer/tablet/gizmo for just 30 minutes a day. That alone is over 100 hours a year. You can make a difference with that! Sure, if you’re a blogger, blog on. If you’re a social media star, be that, do that. But if you’re like me, a normal put-your-shoes-on-and-go-to-work Joe, get in action.