Turn your helplessness into action and hope

Wednesday , October 04, 2017 - 4:00 AM1 comment

ADRIENNE ANDREWS, special to the Standard-Examiner

Right about now, I sense a communal helplessness coming on. As fires, floods, hurricanes and mass shootings happen all around us, we find ourselves overwhelmed and underinspired. In my little corner of the world it almost seems safer to point, click and make a donation online — everything else just feels too exhausting. Except it isn’t.

Too exhausting is when you wake up to no home, no electricity and missing family members, but you still have to go on.

Too exhausting is when you think your friends are going to a fun concert in Las Vegas and you wake up to the news of nearly 60 dead and more than 500 injured, and you need to make sure people are OK.

Too exhausting is when you are at work and you get the phone call that your neighborhood is being evacuated and that your kids are at the Dee Events Center and need to be picked up.

Too exhausted is when your family is in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Florida or any other weather-ravaged region and there is not telephone service or electricity, and you don’t know where people are — or even if they are alive.

So in this moment of helplessness, we have to do better. We can allow the sense of overwhelming anxiety and confusion to hit us for a minute or two. Then we must act.

For example, everything feels far away from me, even though the fires were in my front yard. I made phone calls, volunteered to give people rides and offered my home as a safe place to stay for those in need. But there is more that can be done, more for me and you to do: give blood, create hygiene kits with socks, and donate calling cards. We can offer to help out in our local shelters, feed those in need and visit a senior center to provide comfort and engagement.

What if you have done these things and aren’t sure what to do next? Maybe you are not sure how to organize? Then attend this year’s 19th Annual Diversity Conference at Weber State University on Oct. 5 and 6, where our theme is “The Activism is in the Action,” and learn how to move from theory to practice in making your community, state, nation and world one in which we can all thrive.

Or join a local nonprofit organization like Youth Impact, Your Community Connection or the Ogden Diversity Commission where your time, talents and voices are in desperate need. You can also volunteer with Roads to Independence, OUTreach Resource Center, League of Women Voters along with so many other groups that need people power — that means you and me too.

Instead of a season of helplessness, let’s make it a season of hopefulness, one where you show your activism by your actions. In the midst of chaos and confusion, we can do something that makes a difference. Will you join me? For more ideas on all you can do, please visit weber.edu/diversity.

Adrienne Andrews is Weber State University’s Chief Diversity Officer. Twitter: @AdieAndrewsCDO

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