Last week was ugly. Between the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, and five on-duty officers in Dallas, the air was heavy with a sense of hopelessness. Thursday and Friday I felt like I was choking on the lump in my throat as I scrolled through Facebook seeing footage of the shootings, press conferences of the deceased’s crying family members, and hateful status updates.
When did things get so broken?
Have you ever heard of the term “slacktivism?” Slacktivism is when we half-heatedly get involved in causes. We retweet a link to a charity but never actually donate, or we a join a group on Facebook to support a cause, but never actually volunteer for the cause. It’s basically getting involved in a social issue online because it’s the cool thing to do, not because it’s actually important to us.
The word slacktivism kept running through my head last week. I knew posting a rant on Facebook and retweeting a GoFundMe link weren’t enough. I don’t want to be a slacktavist, not with the issue of police brutality or any other issue. Besides offering support to the families of those killed and the NAACP, I felt like I needed to do something close to home to add some positive vibes to my community.
If you’ve been working on the Wellness, Darling Summer To-Do List, you know that #9 is to pass out bottles of water and sunscreen to the homeless. I couldn’t think of a better time to do that than this weekend.
With backpacks stocked with water bottles, sunscreen, granola bars and wet wipes, a friend and I headed down to Pioneer Park in downtown Salt Lake City. Pioneer Park is a hub for homeless individuals in Salt Lake. It’s close to the soup kitchen, free health clinic, and shelter, so many homeless people set up camp there during the day.
Some people where laying on tattered blankets clustered in groups of three or four, sleeping in the burning July sun. Others were sitting by trees next to shopping carts loaded down with what little possessions they had, keeping a watchful eye out as passersby stared them down. We handed out the supplies until our backpacks were empty. The stuff went much too fast. As we walked back to the car, though, I felt something I hadn’t felt all week: hope.
You see, when things are really ugly and broken, and your hope has dwindled to a small flicker of light in an endless sea of darkness, serving others reignites your faith in humanity. While I may have been the one giving the time and supplies, I received much more in return than what I gave. I felt humbled, inspired, and motivated to make a difference.
There’s too much slacktivism going on. We need more selfless giving; we need more action. Words aren’t enough, we MUST go out into our communities and get involved.
When we serve others, we feel empowered to be a solution to the world’s woes. You are the good. You can restore hope and love.
While I didn’t solve any major social or political issues, I did realize that as one individual I can still do something to make life easier for a few people around me, but it adds up, you know?
So what are you waiting for, darling? Get out there.
Have you crossed #9 off the Wellness, Darling Summer To-Do List? If so, post your experience in the comments section below. <3