Two shootings in less than 24 hours.
We sit in the wake of violence and try to make sense of it, wanting to fix it. In these moments, it’s easy to feel helpless, to be alone in your thoughts of hopelessness and feel like you are powerless.
After all, you are just one person in millions, right?
But if mass shootings show us anything, it’s that humans know how to rally. We understand what it means to come together and heal each other. We put aside everything and dig deep to understand the value of love, of being one human being among many. We see the sweetness of life and the joy of what it means to belong to one another.
If you want to help, but don’t know where to start, pick something from this list below. It will not only heal those around you, but it might mend your heart, too.
1. Check in with your neighbors
Go over and say hi. Bring cookies or some other feel-happy snack. Ask how they are feeling, and determine if they need anything, even if it’s just to talk. If you don’t know your closest neighbors, use this as an excuse to introduce yourself and say hi.
2. Reach out to particularly vulnerable friends
When violence is directed at a particular ethnic, political, religious, or gender group, reach out to those friends of yours who might be feeling particularly vulnerable today. Acknowledge that the world is a scary place for them sometimes and that they are welcome in your world, in your life.
3. Make a new friend
If your friend-group is not diverse, reach out to people you might not normally hang out with—coworkers, community members. If talking to someone you don’t know feels too intimidating, host a dinner party or potluck. Ask your friends to bring along people in their circles that you might not know.
4. Write notes
If you’re house-bound or uncomfortable reaching out, write notes. Send sweet and loving sentiments to your friends and invite them to call you when they need to talk. The great thing about notes is that you can put them on the fridge and enjoy them long after the memory of an in-person conversation has faded.
Reach out to your church or school and see if they need help with any outreach they are doing at this time. Keeping the body occupied allows the mind to heal itself in the background while your hands are busy doing something else, for someone else.
6. Help someone feel safe
If you know someone who is feeling particularly vulnerable, offer to accompany them to an appointment or shopping or other errands they don’t want to do alone. Do this especially if you are coming from a place of comparative privilege.
7. Hold space
For all your friends and neighbors… hold space. Listen to them. Allow them to be angry. Allow them to cry. Listen to their opinions and perspectives, even if they don’t agree with your own. Don’t judge what they feel and don’t offer to fix anything. Just see them. Just listen to them. Just love them.
8. Lead a local gathering in your neighborhood
We’re launching a new kind of community where members of all faiths, perspectives, and identities meet to cultivate meaningful diversity and learn from each other. Each month we meet with people who are one or two steps outside our usual circles to pursue peace through action.
If you’d like to host a gathering in your neighborhood, take the survey to get started.
When we feel overwhelmed by the violence and hate in the world, when we feel helpless to create change or mend what’s broken, there are still ways we can show up for our friends and our community. To bring peace. To bring hope. To bring light.
The world is scary as hell, but we love anyway.