I’d like to dedicate this post to those who have been affected by tragedy in the last few weeks—whether it’s natural, accidental, or hate-inflicted.
It’s apparent today that the world is full of problems. War. Disease. Starvation. Loss. But right now, let’s not think about the world as a whole (although we definitely need to think about it often). Let’s think about the United States, because right now, America needs us.
There are so many people who are currently hurting in this country.
Las Vegas just encountered the worst mass shooting in American history, a record only previously broken a few short months ago in Orlando. Over 50 dead. Over 500 wounded. People have lost their homes, their entire livelihoods, their friends, and their family members due to hurricanes throughout the nation and its territories. Puerto Rico is still completely powerless. Unfairness is so rampant that there has been a dramatic increase in hate groups such as Neo-Nazism. There are riots all over the nation. People are protesting—some of them for good reasons and some of them for not-so-good reasons. Regardless, people are getting hurt.
These instances just crack the surface of what is hitting the United States right now, and I didn’t have to remind you. You were well-aware of them all.
But what were you doing about them? That’s the issue.
Many people are giving their thoughts and prayers. If you are, I am most-definitely not saying you should stop. In fact, I think that’s the most important thing we can do—letting people know we are thinking about them and having faith that life will get better for those people.
But we can do even more than that. We can all contribute something besides adding a temporary profile filter on Facebook or tweeting a trending hashtag. We can do more than thinking about it for a day and then moving on.
We can give. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but if everyone gives a little something, it can make a big difference. Rachel Joy Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, said that a little random act of kindness can start a chain reaction. That’s what I want you to give: kindness. The following are some ways to do so. Don’t just read them. In fact, don’t just share this post and like the idea of doing one of them. Pick at least one—if not, all—and give.
If you have a little to spare, give money. There are GoFundMe’s and American Red Cross donation efforts for hurricane relief and those injured in the Vegas attack. If you have any extra cash, even if it’s $5, give it to a good cause and help someone who needs it. Money is the big one that people think about donating, but if you cannot afford to give monetarily, there are several other things that are important too.
If you have a little to spare, give time. If you’re anywhere near places that are central to devastation, you can help efforts by volunteering. But even if you’re nowhere near those places, you can still help them. Work in a soup kitchen. Hold a clothing drive. Host a fundraiser. Visit a hospital. Just use your time to do some good to counteract all the bad.
If you have a little to spare, give blood. There is a constant blood shortage in the United States. Now, as so many are injured, blood banks need donors more than ever. If you’re eligible to donate blood, find a drive. You could save up to three lives. Not just change. Not just help. Save.
If you have a little to spare, give publicity. Don’t just share a lone tweet with a hashtag about tragedy. Show your support on social media. Show victims that you care. Aside from giving support, don’t just share the terrible things that happen. Spread some positivity through your posts. If you hear of something like a little boy raising money for hurricane relief by running a lemonade stand, share it. Shoutout to Jett Arellano in New York for showing his kindness.
If you have a little to spare, give recognition. First responders are so underappreciated in this country. If you see someone like an ambulance nurse or a firefighter, especially if they have worked in recent national crises, give them thanks. If you’re a first responder who worked with hurricane relief or the Vegas shooting and you’re reading this right now, I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving lives.
If you have a little to spare, give consideration. Our country has not been this divided since the Civil War. We now only think in terms of absolutely right and absolutely wrong. There’s no room for the shades of gray. For the first time in a while, stop arguing about who is right and who is wrong or who is the best and who is the worst. White, black, or brown. Male or female. Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or Atheist. Democrat or Republican. Anyone who falls into a category, out of a category, or in between categories. Be considerate of people who are like you and people who are not like you. If everyone did that, this country would change.
If you have a little to spare, give love. That’s the most important one, and it covers all of the above. You can do little things every single day to show love. Call your family members and ask them how their day is going. Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru. Compliment someone who is mean to you. Smile, unapologetically. Because while tragedy has swept across our nation, the only thing that stamps it out is love.
So, putting a simple post on social media is not enough. You have to do more to help this great country of ours. You don’t have to donate a million dollars. You just have to love.