Yesterday, I wrote a piece about a particular recognition: These days, we are exposed to an unprecedented amount of news highlighting pain around the globe. At times, some of the news gets left out, like the massive floods that have taken place in South Asia or the massive famine taking place in East Africa. (White supremacy at work, friends).
But during this era, for the first time in human history, we are aware of a huge amount pain and suffering around the entire globe. Our connections to news outlets and social media enable us to organize massive actions of support, but we are also more aware of violence, oppression, and inequality.
For most of human history, we have only known what is local, so this larger scale of information can be overwhelming. But we do know it, and it is changing us. In fact, it may be changing our biology, as massive changes in our world are prone to do.
In the midst of it all, we naturally want to fix all of this brokenness. And along with the challenge of knowing such large scale pain, we also grapple with the recognition that we cannot fix all of it.
But here’s the thing I want to lift up in response to this moment we are living.
We can change how the global themes of violence, oppression, and inequality function in our local neighborhoods.
You and I also have the ability to know more fully how injustices function in our neighborhoods, our City Halls, our police departments, our schools, our workplaces, our streets, and certainly, the parts of our towns that tend to get ignored or dismissed.
You and I can know these things. And we can we can act.
We can learn relationally how these injustices are affecting people’s lives. We can learn about the policies and rhetoric that drive such harm. We can get behind the leadership of people directly affected. We can use social media to report local stories of people working together to solve problems.
So when we hear national and global stories about immigration, we can ask, who are the undocumented immigrants or refugees are in our towns? Who is organizing? We can get involved and act.
So when we hear about Islamophobia growing nationally, we can reach out to Muslims directly and ask how we can support them. Who is organizing? We can get involved and act.
So when we hear about police brutality and violence, we can research what sort of policies our local police departments have. Who is organizing? We can get involved and act.
So when we hear about violent acts and policies against trans people, we can connect with LGBTQI+ advocacy groups. Who is organizing? We can get involved and act.
So when we hear about natural disasters wreaking havoc around the world, we can learn who is fundraising in our local area. Who is organizing? We can get involved and act.
We can do something. We must.
So what concern has yet to leave you alone? What breaks your heart? What keeps you up at night?
Look locally to discover how to be present to the pain. Look locally to learn how to act in solidarity. Organize. We can do this.