Making kindness a habit
The future of activism in this country, I believe, will be rooted in simplicity yet driven by technology.
We all have our phones, those ubiquitous devices that have become practically glued to our hands. Social media – often blamed for dividing us as we angrily voice our opinions with the world – can also be one heck of a force for good.
As I outlined in an op/ed in this publication Jan. 15, through the Durham nonprofit where I work, Inspire Media Network, I recently created a Facebook event page: “Kindness Blitz.” I invited people to “take an oath of kindness” on Inauguration Day. The goal? To unify people during a time of epic political polarization.
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Everything snowballed from there. Interest quickly grew as people shared their intentions online and invited their friends to join in. Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger even responded by proclaiming Jan. 20 “A Day of Kindness and Respect” in Chapel Hill.
So what, exactly, did people go out and do? Thanks to social media, much of it is traceable.
Amy Whitfield left flowers on a stranger’s windshield. Elizabeth Martin donated blood. The Duke Chronicle staff gave out candy to thank campus bus drivers and workers at West Union. On a very rainy day in California, Julie Watson helped a handicapped co-worker get from her car to the office. Astrid Huber bought some books and toys for a family of Syrian refugees who will be coming to Raleigh soon. Mary Chapman placed notes on strangers’ cars that said, in part: “You are a lovely, shining child of the universe. Don’t you forget it!” Tami Frenduto had lunch with a friend whose son is in hospice care. She reported: “I went in with hopes of offering some comfort. Seeing this woman’s strength and unselfish love for her child was a gift to me.”
Ben Haven, age 6, and his grandmother delivered cakes to their local fire station. Juliellen Simpson-Vos volunteered in a Durham Public Schools classroom. Sandra Lytle helped a driver whose car was stuck in a muddy ditch. Pat Radack drove his neighbor’s kids to school.
I could go on and on. Folks made donations to nonprofits, handed out $5 gift cards, purchased dog food for an animal shelter, baked cookies for the elderly and bought meals for strangers.
Obviously, kindness isn’t limited to one day. We have to make it a habit. You’re going to spend time every day on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram anyway. Use that time wisely. Spend five minutes doing something kind, and then tell your circle what you did. You’re not seeking praise. You’re motivating others. You’re being an activist. You’re not only making America kind again – you’re also making social media great again.
Inspiration – it’s just a click away.
Andrea Griffith Cash
What will they do next?
Several weeks ago I saw a 5- or 6-year-old boy in a grocery store having a tantrum because his mother would not allow him to have a candy bar. To show his displeasure, he sat down in the aisle, stamped his little feet, and balled his little fists and pounded the aisle.
In the Jan. 18 edition of the N&O an article mentioned that two Democratic members of Congress, Alma Adams, and G.K. Butterfield were not attending the inauguration in Washington in protest to something that had been said about John Lewis, from Georgia. This is the same Lewis, who when he didn’t get what he liked, several months ago, sat on the floor of a government building together with some of his playmates from Georgia, to show his displeasure. The reporters who witnessed this display did not mention if Lewis stamped his feet, or made fists while pounding the floor like the little boy.
I wonder if Adams and Butterfield will be joining Lewis, referred to as an “icon of the civil rights movement” by Butterfield, by sitting on some floor, to show their displeasure of something that had been said by the now President Trump. Or other option, they could join the Hollywood crowd and vow they wanted to leave the United States in protest. Many people will be anxious to see what they will do, other than not attend a patriotic ceremony honoring the new president of our beloved United States.
Trouble times ahead
On Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, I was assaulted by three young black men. Their intention was clearly to take my money and vehicle. They pointed their guns at me and ordered me to get out of my car and give them the car keys. As I was getting out of the car, one of them hit me on the left side of my head with the handle of his pistol and ordered me to lay on the ground.
While, I was on the ground, they searched my packets and took my wallet with the $500 therein and my cell phone. They tried to start the car, but it could not start, because I mistakenly left the gear in reverse instead of park. They became mad that the car could not start. They therefore started beating on me with the handles of their pistols.
I would like for you to publish this story and caution all my black brothers, that we, as a people, shall not get the best out of life by killing one another, hurting one another, or robbing one another. The Lord is calling on us to good deeds, not evil. They ought to remember, there are trouble times ahead and we shall not go through these times by doing evil to one another. God has a good plan for them, but they ought to pursue it.
The Rev. Farleyson Tarley
People Christian Church
‘An abject failure’
According to Mr Seymour's editorial Barack Obama was a great president. I think Mr Seymour needs to remove his rose color glasses.I'm glad he had a good times at the Inauguration but Obama's legacy is one of abject failure. Mr Seymour is right. Obama came from a bizarre background.That is; what we have been allowed to know about it. How can someone be elected president who sealed up his background information .This is unprecedented. What we do know is that he was a dope smoker and cocaine user who spent twenty years listening to a. racist , anti semitic preacher.
From the beginning Obama said he wanted to totally change America. The problem was no one agreed that this needed to be done. But he insisted on trying. Opposition to him had nothing to do with race but in typical liberal fashion whenever there is opposition to their ideas they cry racism. The fact of the matter is Obama was not criticized on anything because if you did you were accused of racism.
Under Obama we have had the worst economic recovery in history in spite of spending a trillion dollars on a stimulus which stimulated nothing. He has added more to the national debt than all previous presidents combined. He has utilized the vast powers of the government (especially the IRS) to harass his opponents and has repeatedly exceeded his authority in creating unconstitutional laws and failing to enforce laws that he doesn't like. ,His foreign policy or lack thereof has caused us to be disrespected in the world and he has failed to do anything about illegal immigration but encourage it.
The American people have rejected Obama's agenda at each congressional election since 2010 and the recent Presidential election was the final rebuke. He has been an abject failure.
Vincent M. DiSandro Sr.
It looks like the American voter has been hoodwinked by a master liar. Already voter remorse is setting in, as Donald Trump has a 32 percent approval rating, the lowest of any incoming president in modern history. I am sure George W. Bush is glad to see him take office and replace him as the worst U.S. president in modern-day history.
Two things about this election truly bother me. As a Christian, I am upset to know that 80 percent of evangelicals voted for Trump. I am also upset by the obvious level of racism in this country.
Donald Trump ran on a racist platform. Polls showed he would lose in most of the swing states. The problem was that no one likes the idea of being called a racist. So, when pollsters called, a lot of folks simply lied about who they were voting for.
Maybe Trump has done us all a favor. The voters have long claimed that racism was not in play anymore. Politicians in the past used code words to attract racist votes. Trump just came right out and said it. The level of racism simply cannot be denied any longer, and maybe it can now be addressed.
I still have to reserve judgment on what kind of president he will be. No one can believe anything he says, so what he is going to do is a true mystery. I’m expecting the worst but hoping for the best.
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