Reaching out into our community to help and support others has a true healing benefit for us.
It allows us to get out of our head and into our heart.
In times when things are feeling hard and when we just simply feel out of control and unable to make a difference, it can be hard to know where to get started and how to help in an effective way.
Here are a few tips and ways to get started in thinking about how to support your neighbors and community.
Understanding Your Greater Community
So much of knowing HOW to help is to know who your community is and what they may be struggling with. I urge anyone who is ready to reach out and who wants to do good, to first begin with taking time to just listen.
Be a passive member of new groups and segments of your community. Just observe and listen.
Often, we tend to act quickly because we want to fulfill our own need for being useful and feeling good about our deeds. I urge you to hold pause and just listen for quite some time.
From there, you will begin to learn appropriate and effective ways to support your community.
You may feel like you're not “doing” anything or enough. Much of being a supportive community member is listening to others and supporting THEIR actions.
In this case - be a follower.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
This continues the idea of being a follower.
Often, BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) are left most vulnerable and at risk in our society. Tap into the work of community leaders of color. Support the causes that BIPOC are already working on and share their work widely. This is the simplest way to begin to be part of any solution for all.
Here are some community leaders that I follow currently:
Rachel Cargle: writer and founder of The Loveland foundation, an organization committed to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. You can follow them on Instagram @thelovelandfoundation.
Melissa Carter: Thought leader and Head of Mindfulness Education & Programming at NYU. Follow on Instagram @IgnitewithMelissa
Adrienne Maree Brown: author of Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activism. Follow on Instagram @adriennemareebrown
The following are organizations that support immigrant communities in NY and across the country.
Small Actions Have Big Impact
Starting small may feel like a waste of time, but I assure you that it is not. The actions that we take in our own lives and communities on a small scale are what grow outward into a national impact.
Remember that not everyone in your city or town will have access to the same things you will.
There are millions of people who are now out of work due to COVID19 who do not and will not receive unemployment aid or stimulus aid from the government. These communities and families are left with no safety net and no one to help them., They are the most vulnerable right now.
Consider donating to an organization that provides relief specifically for these families.
When you receive a stimulus check or unemployment check in the coming weeks, consider donating a portion of it to those who will not.
I am fortunate to know people in my local community who are offering their whole stimulus check to others in need.
Do what you can.
Stay in the mindset that there is enough to go around in the world.
Remember what my parents always taught me…"The more you give, the more you will receive.”
Have you heard that my husband Omar and I have started a Community Initiative of our own?
We are seeing many in our restaurant community and beyond be out of work and with no safety net right now. This is how we are trying to help.
You can find out more about it here...