This is a difficult post to write and I am filled with sadness that it needs to be written but here we are. I wanted to post my prepared post about travel and just “ignore” that the attack in Vegas had happened on here. However, ignoring something awful does not help the situation in anyway and it does not help our future.
The attacks in Vegas were ruthless and cruel. This man (I refuse to use names in these situations because then they put to much focus and attention on the individual) attacked a group of people who had done nothing wrong and were just attempting to enjoy a concert. Unfortunately, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you travel frequently, it is something we are all too familiar with hearing from our fellow travelers whether it is because of a natural disaster, a political act, or an act of terror. This in no way makes the casualties less meaningful but I think more meaningful. There is nothing more sorrowful and personally humbling than innocent people passing away for literally no reason than just the actions of another person or body of people.
After something like this we have to ask ourselves how we can stop this from happening in the future. In no way do I want to talk about this from a political perspective. It is true that our government can change things and affect our country but individual citizens working together can make a much more impactful change. We shape our country far more with our actions, or lack thereof, than the government does. The question is, what actions should we be doing?
I think the most important thing we could be doing is showing that we care and love the people in our community. This could be accomplished in a million different ways but here are a few suggestions and things that I personally do!
- Bake cookies and bring them to random neighbors.
- Leave post it notes on cars when I go grocery shopping that have encouraging messages on them.
- Donate supplies and time at the local food bank or homeless shelter.
- Pick up garbage on the streets.
- Donate to local GoFundMe pages that don’t have very much support on them (even $5 can make all the difference to that person!).
- Bake cookies or cakes for my local police and fire department.
- Volunteer at my local library.
- Support local businesses as often as possible. It can be a bit more expensive than just buying whatever you need at Walmart but it is great to keep the money in the local economy. I would suggest checking out your closest farmer’s market!
- Visit the local senior shelter. Many of the people there do not get visitors very often and it makes their day when they have someone to talk to or play a game with!
- Check out the site Dosomething. They have campaigns that focus on almost anything and you can choose which ones you would like to participate it.
These are just a few suggestions and you could certainly do other things to help your community. I do not do all of these things all the time but I try to always do a couple. They are also good for when you are not able to financially help your community because many of them are just donating your time!
I think another important thing that we all should do is educating ourselves about other cultures, religions, and lifestyles. So much of the hate and prejudice in the world exists because of ignorance. This is one reason that I love to travel, you are able to see that across the world we all have the same fundamental wants and needs. However, this can also be accomplished in your community. For example, let’s say you nothing about Buddhism but you want to educate and inform yourself. You can search in Google, “Buddhist communities in Syracuse, NY (my hometown).” Multiple temples and centers showed in the results and I could easily reach out to any of them for information. You could also go on Facebook and search for a group related to whatever you would like to learn about. Message some members in that group and politely ask them if they would be willing to share about their lifestyle and religion. They do not have to say yes but if you are kind and willing to learn, most people are willing to help because they do not want to be misunderstood and stereotyped. I am not saying that you then have to switch religions or adopt the customs of that culture. When you are educated though and you are not fearing or hating a group people just for their beliefs you become more compassionate and understanding. You are helping to break down the barriers that separate us all and cause hate and fear. When a community is willing to work together and foster compassion, understanding, and respect great things can happen.
I hate that in our world we need to write posts encouraging people to love the people in their community and treat them with respect and love but this is the world we currently live in. We need to take control of this situation and help in anyway that we can through our daily lives and actions.