My post-election blog post, which elicited some interesting comments through Facebook, mentioned my intention to join up with some nonprofits or local political organizations in order to combat the regressive policies that are sure to come under a Republican-majority government.
My first foray into this world was through a rather large organization here in Kansas City. I attended a meeting with L, and suffice it to say we left the meeting early almost doubled-up with laughter.
We later dubbed it “the politically correct white privilege circle jerk.” PCWPCJ?
For one, the PCWPCJ did not have a cohesive mission statement, nor did it seem to have any real purpose aside from being part of the PC Police targeting coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends.
And I get that. There’s a need for people to be called out whenever they’re racist, sexist, or bigoted, but I don’t need to join a hundreds-strong group to know that’s something to do.
Additionally, the group segregated itself, which I felt was beside the point. Literally, the main group consisted of all white people, while the folks of any other heritage were politely asked to join the subgroup where “they would be more comfortable.”
This seemed counterintuitive for a group that was, quote, “standing up for racial injustice.” In that case, wouldn’t you want for there to be an open dialogue between people of all cultures? Isn’t that kind of the point?
After that disastrous meeting, I laid low a bit and researched other organizations, but found none that I could truly stand behind. I wanted to make an actual different. Be a part of an organization that marches, petitions, and writes legislation to instigate honest-to-god change. I wanted to outreach to disadvantaged peoples and make myself useful.
I’ve always felt a little useless when it comes to nonprofit and charitable groups because I do not have the disposable income to contribute to the cause. But while I don’t have the money, I do have the time.
I recently discovered a group operating in KC called “Food Not Bombs,” which sets up tables every here and there to give out food, clothes, and other necessities to the homeless. When I contacted them to see about helping out, they cried out their need of donations—disposable cups, bowls, silverware, clothing, sanitary items, etc.
At first, I ignored those requests and asked for more information and where they meet and when so that I could come by and help out. But then the lessons I’ve absorbed from Jay and Michelle (those kickass women I talked about in A Perfect Storm) came floating to the surface.
The next time I wrote to Food Not Bombs I added in, “I know that you’re desperate for supplies, and I wish I could help, but I live at the poverty line myself. I really want to help, but what I have to offer is my time and assistance. I hope that’s okay because I would really like to work with you from all that I’ve seen.”
The response was immediate and genuine, “Of course!” they wrote, “Thank you for letting us know. We’d love to have you anytime.”
I felt so much better, and so much lighter, after just stating the truth.
They meet every Sunday, and you can find their Facebook page here if you’re interested in joining. I probably won’t be out there until after my unpacking has been completed, so my first time will likely be on January 15th. It’s the day before I start school again, and I can think of no better way to kick off the semester.
So far as the political side of things goes, my limited-distraction lifestyle has already gone a long way toward discovering who to write to and what to say. For now, I’m going to do my politicking from home. If I find a local organization I can honestly believe in, I’ll join their ranks. As of writing this, I’m courting a few online groups for secular legislation, women’s issues, judicial reform, LGBTQ rights and a multitude of others.
Finding the right group is not as easy as I thought it would be, but that will not deter me in the slightest. Writing more has increased my focus and productivity, which spreads to all areas of personal interest.
I urge you to do something similar. Taking part in our government and our community means, if not standing up, then sitting up and letting your voice ring out.
Take charge, take part, and be an instrument of change.