It can appear to be a staggering task to get involved with your community, but what will happen to your community if you do not get involved?
Commonly, people use their limitations as excuses to validate why they are incapable of engaging in their ‘community’. The greatest leaders and inventors in history embarked on change by using the limited resources they had at their disposal.
It is anger, frustration, and being fed up that typically incites people to take action. There is also something to say to those who do not act out of these emotions but rather provide maintenance and sustenance even in terrific times. They are the ones to keep the movement going when everyone else looses interest.
Though we live in a reactive society, human beings have a great ability to harness powerful emotions toward common interests.
Some will say: “But how can I do anything? I have no money or I have little time.”
Let's take a look at Susan B Anthony. She was a leader in the woman's suffrage movement in the mid to late 1800's. She fought for teacher’s equal pay, coed education, and college education for girls. Prevailing by use of her skills to lecture, she educated, facilitated, and congregated women together. When organizations refused to let women participate, she harnessed her leadership powers to initiate her own groups including the first women's Temperance Association, Woman's Loyal League, and The National Women Suffrage Association. One of the ultimate resources she had was her ability to teach. She used it to help enact the first laws in New York that granted women rights over their children and property. Remaining driven and focused she initiated a group of women to the polls, though she was arrested and sentenced to a fine that she refused to pay, the other woman replicated her integrity and united until the case was heard in front of the Supreme Court. She used the potential of education, focus, and leadership as tools to govern change.
Next let’s look at Rosa Parks; she harnessed the ability to remain stead fast and unmoved from her seat on the bus. This sparked Martin Luther King JR. to launch the Montgomery bus boycott movement where over 17,000 black Montgomery residents boycotted the buses for almost a year. Because of Rosa Parks’ refusal to compromise her dignity, worth, and virtue, her bravery drove a pivotal stage in the civil rights movement. Eventually, the Supreme Court declared segregation on buses unconstitutional. Unity, perseverance, and remaining stead fast were tools used to engage community involvement. This event not only proved to be a victory in the legislation but it also showed the power of community unification.
In North Africa and in the Middle East groups of women formed an organization called MENA. This organization is a business women's network designed to launch social progress and economic development.
In New York, Vivian Gonzalez works as an Employment Counselor, with the NYS Department of Labor in downtown Brooklyn. Mrs. Gonzalez previously served as an activist and advocate for incarcerated women at the Women’s Prison Association, where she advocated for their release and reunification with their families. She volunteers her time holding recreational events for geriatric patients in hospice and also helps to connect people in her Bronx home town to job opportunities. She wakes up at 5:00 am every morning to begin her day. She is a professional, a wife, a mother, an entertainer, and a vital connection to jobs that provide people with independence in her community.
In Pennsylvania, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Tara Simmons has helped to start an organization in her community called Building Bridges. Building Bridges helps children that have issues interacting inappropriately with others. She uses her willpower, motivation, and dedication to support her community, even when there is resistance. It is her act of kindness that keeps the vision alive.
Earl Lucas of Reading Pennsylvania created the Afro/Latino Magazine over 7 years ago. The bi-weekly magazine is distributed to thousands of places throughout Berks, Dauphin, and Montgomery County. His magazine provides affordable advertising to many of the local businesses. He has also been able to use his brand to launch a yearly parade in which the community comes together to enjoy each other’s culture, food, and activities.
These individuals are only a few of the numerous amounts of people who have and are becoming involved in their communities.
In almost all cases these individuals pulled together the resources they had accessible to them to ignite change. Providing vital services to their communities and using action to inspire others.
It is not what can I do but rather how can I use the resources I have accessible to me to begin serving my community.
We all have the ability the harness the power that is within us.