2020 has certainly been a year, and we’re only halfway into it. It’s a year filled with chaos, injustices, and unease. But it’s made us stop in our tracks and reflect, come together, listen, and learn. I’m not usually at a loss for words, but lately, I have been. I’ve been sickened, saddened, and unsure of what I could possibly say or do to help.
I will be the first to admit that everything right now seems so BIG—bigger than me, and I don’t know how to equalize inequality. I do know that this is a moment for me to dig in, to read, and to learn. It’s also been a time for me to remember that despite all the seemingly bad in the world, there is also good. And again, I know these small things will not equalize inequality, I’m not suggesting that. But I do know that right now, the world could use a little more compassion, understanding, listening, and lifting each other up.
But how do we do that? Where do we even start? Can this even be done when all around the world we are simultaneously fighting a virus that is forcing us to be socially distant from those we love? You guys, every day, we can do random acts of kindness to spread love, compassion, and understanding.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”
The time is always right to do what is right.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
By turning our focus AWAY from ourselves and onto others, we can be an ally (click here to read 10 steps of non-optical allyship). In doing so, we will also be better able to notice others’ needs, be more empathetic, and feel more compassion for others and what they are going through.
Here are some RAOK ideas to get you started
- Check-in with your friends and family. Send a thoughtful text or email…to anyone. Better yet, FaceTime or call someone. We are in a moment of time filled with anxiety and unease. Just check-in. Have conversations. Open up communication.
- Shop small + thoughtfully. Our small businesses and business owners are going through a lot right now, and there’s a lot we can do to help if we spend wisely. For instance, right now, Etsy is donating $500,000 to Equal Justice Initiative and $500,000 to Borealis Philanthropy’s Black-Led Movement Fund as well as matching employee donations. I know shopping small doesn’t sound like a random act of kindness, but this relates to checking-in because you can gift someone a surprise big or small at any time as another way to spread some joy and let people know you are thinking about them. I’m loving this jewelry dish and this adorable sunflower dress for Ruby (both items are from black-owned small businesses).
- Donate to local grassroots organizations. Yes, you can donate to the major players, but according to Pilar Weiss, the director of Community Justice Exchange, larger organizations tend to get more attention and, therefore, more donations. Many times, smaller, localized groups don’t have fancy websites or ways to get attention. Talk to your local community leaders, friends, and families, and start a conversation about where you can donate locally. Click here for some other donation ideas and click here for food donation locations.
- Be kind. Hold the door for someone, help someone cross the street, or make dinner for a neighbor/family member in need. Small gestures can go a long way.
- Read a book with your kids + educate yourself. Choose books and articles to read together as a family. Here’s an interesting read for how to talk to your kids about racism. This may unearth some uneasy conversations, but if we understand each other and take the time to listen, that certainly sounds like a random act of kindness and some quality time with the family that will pay dividends.
- Lend a book/movie to a neighbor, friend, and/or family member.
- Write a positive message for a stranger to find. With so many people getting outside, get your kids together and paint positive messages on rocks for local hikers or people around your neighborhood to find. If you’re taking this time to educate yourself, putting quotes from some of your favorite pieces of literature is a great way to find inspiration and inspire even more conversations within your community.
- Say the 3 powerful words, “I love you,” more often. You really never know when this just might be your last opportunity.
You guys, from the bottom of my breaking heart, I really do wish I could wrap my arms around each and every one of you. Like I said, I’m no expert in equalizing inequality, but I do know a thing or two about transformation. We’re in a moment of transformation…of our world and of our communities.
And just like the transformations that Chris and I talk about, the REAL meat and potatoes of it all are the parts you can’t see. True transformation, in our world, has nothing to do with the number on the scale, the size of your pants, or how much weight you can lift. TRUE transformation comes from within and has everything to do with working from the inside out. Here’s to learning, loving, and uplifting one another.