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Tension is running high right now on more major issues than ever before: voting rights, abortion care, disaster recovery, police brutality, coping with the pandemic, and politicization of the judiciary, all tied together by the urgent need for filibuster reform.
Everyone committed to justice work and activism is stretched to the limit, regardless of the state of their personal lives, and a good many folks are facing distressing personal challenges that would be enough to derail them completely, even without the overlay of political events.
A lot of concern and a lot of desire to be of help is expressed by people who are standing on the sidelines because they aren’t sure what to do, or where to direct their energy. What is the best first step?
Fortunately there is an area of activism anyone can do, that is always helpful and always important. You can start doing it today.
Find someone who needs a little support and encouragement, and give it to them.
Did a name pop into your mind just now, reading that sentence? There’s always someone close at hand who fits the bill. Look around and it won’t take long to see a person plugging away behind the scenes who is not expecting any recognition, but who would receive it as gratefully as a tree in a drought welcomes a surprise summer shower.
Has someone been doing good work and not getting much credit? It only takes a few moments to say “I noticed.” Or, “Your work matters. Thanks for taking it on.” You don’t have to know someone well, or at all, to send a word of thanks. A moment of appreciation at the right time can be just the thing that gives a temporarily exhausted activist a second wind.
When opposition is fierce and it takes a lot of running on a treadmill just to stay in the same place, the lack of obvious measurable progress is hard to deal with as days and months pass. But if anyone notices how hard you’re running on the treadmill, or how much effort it takes to tread water, it means the work is not invisible.
Appreciation makes invisible work visible.
Read about the great change agents of the past, some of whom worked for years or decades without seeing many results, and without anybody outside their immediate circle knowing who they were. Somehow they persevered, usually with far fewer resources than we have today, and managed to lay a solid foundation for progressive advances we currently enjoy. Quotes and short excerpts from biographies and autobiographies are a great source of support messages. If you find a particularly inspirational story, you can offer to share/lend your whole e-book, or give the gift of a physical book, as a source of encouragement for a person who likes to read.
Inspirational gifs and memes are an easy way to get started. They exist for every possible situation, some are pre-programmed into your phone, and it’s easy to learn how to create your own. While some of them are cheesy, it’s also true that they can be very touching when the recipient is carefully matched to the message. Forwarding memes and gifs are a perfect quick “thinking of you” message you can send via text or on Twitter.
Last but not least, there’s always music. For folks who love music, the right song at the right time can lift even the most despairing mood. Curated playlists are available on YouTube, Spotify, and other streaming services if you need help thinking of something appropriate. Discovering shared taste in music and exchanging an uplifting anthem or two is a tried and true way to create friendship bonds and build community among people who are working toward a common goal. Maybe one of the songs at the end of this story will light a spark that you want to pay forward.
It doesn’t matter which approach you take. It doesn’t matter whether you send support to a stranger, a family member, a co-worker, or to yourself. You may think of an outside-the-box gesture not listed here. The internet is full of “ways to show appreciation” lists. Go for it!
It is better to do something than nothing.
While you’re waiting to launch your next big thing, or even flailing about trying to determine what your very next small step might be, consider starting a side project of intentional support to activists around you. You could even direct this powerful energy to yourself, by creating inspirational moments to start your own day.
Even a small offering of encouragement can bring refreshment and revitalizing energy to folks who have been shouting into the wind and fighting the good fight for a very long time. Almost everyone could use encouragement, someone near you may desperately need it, and giving this kind of gift often enhances the mood of the giver as well.
Who would benefit most by receiving
a message of encouragement from you today?
Our Connect! Unite! Act! team is here to provide support and guidance to new and existing volunteer leaders of each regional and state group, helping them with recruiting, organizing, and executing social and action events. We invite you to join in this effort to build our community. There are many ways to pitch in. If there isn’t a group to join near you, WE WILL HELP YOU START ONE.
No retreat, baby–no surrender!
I’ll give you so many good reasons to capture a dream
we’ll never find the way to where we’re going all alone
everyone jump up on the peace train!
can’t stop until we are one with the power of love
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.