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The world currently feels like a very chaotic and heartbreaking place. I had a post about the war in Ukraine floating around in my head, and then a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas happened on May 24th, 2022. Both of these events are now somehow linked in my mind, as I shed tears over the lives of innocents being taken. Adults and children, parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents, sons and daughters.

I feel helpless and I feel angry, but overwhelming it all is just unbelievable sadness. How can I raise my children in this world and protect them from the fear they will inevitably feel about the threat of nuclear weapons, or the threat of guns as they head off to school? How heartbreaking as a parent to look into their beautiful, innocent faces and know that if they were old enough to be aware of what is happening in the world, they would feel fear over attending school, something that today brings them so much joy?

When the war in Ukraine began, I wallowed in the uncertainty, stress and sadness that comes from dwelling on the suffering of those in Ukraine. I anxiously checked the news, and cried with my loved ones, knowing our pain is nothing compared to the actual pain of those fleeing the war-torn country or hunkered down, hiding in homes and bomb shelters. As was the same with the shooting in Uvalde, I wondered how can such evil live in the world?

But then, I remembered a quote from an unlikely place, at the end of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie:

“…Even though we’ve got a fight ahead of us, we’ve got one thing that Voldemort doesn’t have…something worth fighting for.”

– Harry Potter

It may seem like a trite reference in this scenario, but what I grasped from that line is that humanity, life, and protecting others from suffering is absolutely worth fighting for, and through that knowledge we can find hope and strength. These are times for sadness, but they are also times for action. I cannot sit idly by and know I’ve done nothing, aside from putting words on a page, to make the world a better place. So here are the actions I’m taking now to make small change in my community, in hopes that small changes ripple ever outward, joining with other ripples of good to create ponderous, sweeping waves of beauty, joy, and safety throughout the world.

  1. Donate to one of the causes this article from NPR highlights as a way to help Ukrainian refugees.
  2. Visit everytown.org and/or marchforourlives.com to donate or sign up as a volunteer to help end gun violence.
  3. Volunteer to work with youth in your community. I’ve volunteered at both YouthCare and The Boys and Girls Club, but there are many more local organizations that work with local youth and provide structure, support and care.

If you feel called to do so, consider taking one of the actions above. Together we can create some small ripples, and upon that build a future filled with hope.

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