Helene Gayle, Care USA President and CEO, learned early on in her adult life that giving to others was a necessary part of her participation in this world. It makes sense, then, that she heads a major international humanitarian agency that delivers emergency relief and support for long-term development projects. This organization is nonsectarian, impartial, and non-governmental. In my estimation, what could be better than that? In the book, Getting There by Gillian Zoe Segal, Ms. Gayle had this to say about effecting social change:
Social change is better achieved by being for something (rather) than against something. Growing up, I was part of a protest generation. We protested the war and stood in support of liberation struggles in Africa. Whenever we saw a problem, we were “against” it.
It’s easy to think that by being against something you’re standing up for a cause, but if you want to have a greater impact, you need to ask yourself, “What do I stand for and what do I want to happen?”
- If you’re against the destruction of our environment by chemical or climate means, do something that will affect some sort of change regarding this unfortunate and ongoing disaster;
- If a certain political candidate irks you beyond measure, support a candidate you can get behind rather than expending wasted energy on your strongly held frustrations of him or her;
- If gun control – or the right to bear arms – is your thing, do something about it, support the cause in constructive and beneficial ways. Striking out against either side benefits no one;
- If there are people that grate on you in such a way that you spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about them, leave those complaints behind and start talking positively about those who impact you in a beneficial way;
- If you’re fed up with the homeless or other under-served people who – in your estimation – are a blight on our society, contribute to food banks, or job and mental health programs that provide needed assistance that give a hand up to those who don’t have it as good as you.
I could go on and on with more examples, but my point is that we all could do well to recognize the profit gained by being for a particular person/ideology/program/behavior, rather than contributing to the rhetoric that only serves to bolster our anti-everything mentality.