The deluge of negative news that comes our way can make us feel helpless and hopeless about our humanity and collective future. As an activist both locally and nationally for over 40 years, I know that there are many good people engaged around the country in combatting our societal problems. Here are three examples:
Forgiveness reduces violence in LA & Watts: The LA Police Chief, the civil rights lawyer, who, for years, sued that department, the Mayor, a Federal District Court judge, and an army of reformers joined together to significantly reduce violence in East Los Angeles and Watts. (How Community Policing Can Work; Charlie Beck & Connie Rice NYT) http://nyti.ms/2bFOnfT The Police Department’s Community Partnership Unit struggled through pain that included asking residents for forgiveness, building mutual trust and acting together in small and large ways. Nearly two years after the start of the program, three housing projects that had once suffered several killings a year did not have a single murder. And in Watts, there have been no shootings by the partnership officers in over five years.
Non-Muslims walk Muslims to Mosque: You may remember the killing of the imam and his assistant, who were gunned down on a street in Queens in New York minutes after finishing afternoon prayers, two blocks from their mosque. (Editorial Board New York Times) http://nyti.ms/2ble4S0 As the news of the Queens killings spread, many non-Muslims worldwide started sharing the social-media hashtag #Illwalkwithyou, promising to accompany Muslims to prayers, a spontaneous outpouring of solidarity in the face of violence and fear.
Chef feeds homeless with Olympic waste: Rio had its Olympic winning athletes, but did you hear about the winner, who cooks? many Olympic athletic winners, but did you hear about the winner, who cooks? (Celebrity Chefs Turn Olympic Food Waste Into Meals for the Homeless; Rio de Janeiro Journal; Andrew Jacobs) http://nyti.ms/2b7w9zq The award winning Italian Chef Massimo Bottura, turned the colossal food waste of the Olympics into a dining hall that is nourishing the hunger and human dignity of the homeless. This culinary philanthropic venture will continue to operate after he leaves just as the one he did at the World Expo in Milan last year.
Drawing on my long time experience as a psychotherapist, a nonprofit executive and social change agent I have listed three actions you should take to generate hope for yourself while encouraging others.
- Focus on Positive: Research the web and share with your network at least one story/video/podcast of hopeful action that you find.
- Support & Empower: Post, tweet, Instagram a “Job well done” or a word of encouragement to an organization, group or individual that is taking action for a better future.
- Challenge Your Negativity: Note each day three things you are grateful for no matter how small they seem. You may be surprised to find your spirits lift.
There are countless stories of people demonstrating care for people and our planet through their behaviors and deeds. Starting today find these stories and share them to give hope to yourself and others.