I went through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, well, minus the acceptance final stage, during the recent election results. I found my community, both physical and social, helpful in dealing with these stages. Yes, I needed to vent, I needed to grieve, but then I needed to do something. I can't live in a four-year world of denial or anger. I am one many-millionth part of the United States and I want to contribute, I want to do something. But that something needs to be something that I believe in.
And so, it came down to two very simple things: 1-Do nothing. 2-Do something. And so, in the spirit of me not sitting around and hoping all will turn out okay, and knowing that the democratic process is one of participation, I propose doing something. I am inspired by those doing small and great things already in their communities. And, although this should be painfully obvious; small things can lead to great change.
So, what if we could bundle all these small, intensely personal efforts together? Or at least virtually do so. Well, isn't that what a hashtag does so well? Maybe a hashtag can combine a volunteer oriented community in the way that #vanity has with 1,292,474 posts.
I sent some thoughts out to my creative agency, and was overwhelmed with the group effort of putting together a movement where we can all be inspired to do something. As Bo said, "what if we did one more thing than just vote every four years." Just one thing. I like the action-oriented simplicity of that phrase.
So we send out an invitation to the world to share their moments. When I sent out an initial request to friends to seed the movement, on the first take I was filled with emotion and cried as I felt both the frustration and disbelief that the election went the way it did, with, at the same time, the realization that this country is made up of 324,118,787 (and counting) individuals. Those individuals are what make these the United States.
The currency of volunteerism and giving is a powerful undercurrent to our economy. It is the barter system of conscientiousness and goodwill. It goes beyond caring, it is harnessing the good. One person's actions inspires another. When I hear of simple efforts, like "I am going to replace all of the nets on the basketball rims in my community because I remember the joy of a basketball net versus bare rims," I am filled with joy and appreciation at the power of simple acts. We hear that simple acts can lead to big things. But, we sometimes forget that simple equals a person, one person.
I have had powerful examples and mentors in my life, from my mother, who never turned anyone away, to Craig Kielberger, who started the global WE Movement as a 12-year old boy, to the history books I've read that describe our founding father's dreams and struggles to move beyond dreaming to reality with considerable sacrifice.
And so, join me in inspiring each other to do something by adding that virtual hashtag gatherer, #ThisIsHowIHelp, to your social posts that describe what you are doing, what you care about. Let's see how we can build our communities with the cumulative effect of one dollar, one phone call, one volunteer hour, one kindness and one small act at a time.