Service in community becomes a natural priority when our hearts are full. Awareness allows us to see the need for skillful and loving action everywhere. It is far too easy to let it fall to the side amid work and family and everything else takes up the rest of the day. Community Matters itself is a great reminder to engage with our community, and partnering with a different non-profit every four months is a great opportunity to engage with new communities.
The King Center, which honors the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, has an initiative that prioritizes service. Through its LOVE FOR HUMANITY: 50 Acts of Service or Kindness Campaign, the King Center is “encouraging individuals to cross the cultural and racial divides by participating in service projects or committing acts of kindness that have a positive impact on their communities.” The program began on Martin Luther King Jr Day on January 15 and continues until the 50th anniversary of his death on April 4.
This goal of crossing cultural and racial divides is especially applicable to our work with our first non-profit partner, Women’s Refugee Care. By engaging with WRC, we are helping to support refugee families from the Great Lakes region of Africa. We are sharing our culture and learning about theirs. Through their mentoring program, volunteers are helping refugee families navigate new lives in Rhode Island, which all too often can include racial and cultural tensions.
Discussing cultural and racial divides can be a taboo topic and it can feel like there is no right thing to say. The first step in removing these divides is acknowledging them. Or asking the simple, often difficult question, “how did that make you feel?” There is not a wrong answer to that question and the answer may provide insights into each of our experiences.
So I challenge you to take part in the Love for Humanity campaign and volunteer with Women’s Refugee Care before April 4. The MLK initiative is a challenge to offer 50 actions of service. And as a community, if we all do even one or two, it all adds up. These acts from the heart can change a person’s life, and, at a minimum, will very likely inform your outlook on our own racial and cultural divides.