A couple days ago, my friend Rosie Wright wrote some beautiful words, paired with an evocative image:
I’m sleepless listening to the winds of change as they sigh and moan outside my window. They would be silent except for the resistance of the branches and trunks of great trees that stand watch, deep-rooted in the earth. I am not alone in the dark. We will all weather this together.
Like so many, I’ve been reflecting a great deal over the last two weeks. And as I’ve been watching and thinking, one theme keeps emerging in my mind: If we’re going to affect lasting change in our nation — change toward equity, health, wholeness, safety, respect, and flourishing on all levels — we need to act locally.
We are deep-rooted right where we live, yet we need to pay greater attention to the injustices that surround us. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that we’ve had 701 hate crimes since the election. That figure is staggering, enraging, and deeply concerning. And when we add economic disadvantage and poverty to our awareness, it is clear that there is a great deal of work to do in our local contexts.
Locally, we can learn, stand watch, and join others as they resist injustices. Like the deep-rooted trees in my friend’s yard, we can create a groundswell of sound. Like those branches and trunks in the wind, we can create grassroots efforts for change.
For this reason, my social media posts are about to become quite local.
I’m not advocating that we ignore work at the national levels. Hardly. We have so much work to do. Instead, I’m advocating that we work intentionally to narrate the ways that national discourse and policies affect the lives of real people on the ground.
I’m still going to post national articles. I imagine most of us will. But I’m wondering if local posting might invite others toward deeper conversations and action.
When we post locally,
- We spotlight the work of activists who are leading change.
- We make connections between national discourse and real, human lives.
- We inspire our neighbors to get involved.
- We provide concrete opportunities to act and donate resources.
- We build alliances with other local areas that are working toward similar concerns.
And perhaps, we will break through the typical Facebook algorithms as well. The national articles we post often split us into red and blue newsfeeds. But when we are telling stories and posting photos, videos, and live experiences, more people will see them.
The Rev. Jan Edmiston, Co-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) often asks, “What breaks God’s heart in your neighborhood?” Her question inspires us to ask, “What breaks our neighbors’ hearts right where we are?”
Let’s answer those questions, moving our own hearts and feet into local neighborhoods for change.
Then, let’s post about it all over the place.