How Do We Act In This American Crisis?

Tragedy is the great equalizer, and no individual, regardless of wealth or fame, can escape the challenge tragedy brings.” ~John Lewis

Yesterday, on my social media pages, I shared my thoughts about yesterday’s mass shooting in Allen, Texas and made the decision to devote more energy to working directly with local leaders and less energy on posting on social media about it.

Here’s the post, in its entirety:

Last night, following yet another deadly mass shooting in America (again in Texas), I watched in disgust as the parade of politicians shared their thoughts and prayers and told us all how worse it could have been. My friend from Newtown, CT shared a graphic with me a few weeks ago after I responded in disgust to another mass shooting. The graphic showed the cycle we are now in with responding to mass shootings, and it is accurate (I’ve included it here). Social media has become an echo chamber for my disgust, and I am taking a break from here to see what other solutions I can contribute to.

I – personally (and with no judgment of anyone else) – feel hypocritical with my posts of beauty and love in a world that ignores such hate that kills our children and loved ones. I feel like I am contributing to that graphic in some horrible way. I can’t continue to do that.

I need to explore – deeply – the conversations I must have with local, state, and national leaders.

I’m currently reading John Lewis’ book, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America. In it, he addresses many of the questions I have had about his own persistence in a life devoted to equality and peace. I am learning a great deal from these teachings, and I am ready to put them into practice.

To effect change, I believe we need to break out of our own comforts and do the good, hard work that is necessary. I cannot accomplish that with the approaches I have taken in the past. I need to step out of this comfort zone and practice faith, patience, peace, and love through greater study and action.

You can reach me and follow my progress through, where I will be chronicling my efforts.

Peace to all of you as each of us marches forth in our own way to bring an end to this senseless violence and establish new pillars of peace for our connected communities.

After I posted it, I began thinking immediately about what this exactly meant for me. I’ve volunteered for Sandy Hook Promise and Moms Demand Action in the past, and I found both of their causes to be necessary and focused on addressing the issues of guns and violence in our country. I especially like Sandy Hook Promise’s initiatives in schools to foster wellness and strong self-esteem for students of all ages. As an educator, I find great value in the program.

With the focus being on education, however, I felt like I was helping in a capacity that was an extension of my profession. I already do as much as I can with my students to meet many of the goals of Sandy Hook Promise. In this area, I feel as if I am already doing some good work.

So what can I really do in the greater sense of who I am as a human being to make a difference?

While Amy and I were out at Boordy Vineyards Sunday afternoon, I asked her, “How can I get involved with government without getting involved with government?” I don’t think I am necessarily interested in running for any elected position, but I want to be instrumental in what is happening at our local and state levels.

We never really came up with an answer.

And that got me thinking even more: What am I already doing naturally, on a daily basis, that I can strengthen with greater focus, passion, and energy to be effective on a larger scale? How can I put that into action that wouldn’t be so short-lived?

This is what I will be exploring in the next few weeks. It isn’t enough to post words and images of positivity; it isn’t enough to be outspoken about how disgusted I am with the lack of action of politicians and leaders at all levels.

It isn’t enough to write pieces here about what isn’t enough.

My hope is that beginning this journey here and sharing its genesis point with you, we might be able to experience real change together, a change that is desperately necessary for the future of our country, and for the wellness of our children. To be completely honest, I don’t know how any of this will turn out.

One thing is certain: I will be honest with you in my journey forward.  

One thought on “How Do We Act In This American Crisis?

  1. Pingback: Is It Enough? | The Maryland Writer

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