The year 2020 has been a challenging one to say the least. The world has struggled to deal with an evolving health crisis related to COVID-19. Lockdowns and social distancing have affected thousands of individuals and businesses economically. And many communities are now dealing with reactions to public health policies and social injustices. If ever there was a time for giving back and offering community support, it would be now. And a variety of opportunities for giving back exist whether you choose to participate in peaceful protests or not.
The Power of Peaceful Protests
As a community, each of us strive to enrich our lives and the lives of those around us. But throughout history, these efforts have failed to prevent social injustices from periodically occurring. When such injustices are evident, those afflicted can choose to speak out against inequalities and unfair practices. And as members of a community, each of us may choose to support those in protest as a way of giving back. Ultimately, our goal should be to reestablish harmony so we may all enjoy a brighter future. And in many instances, protests can help achieve these goals.
There is a notable difference, however, between peaceful protests and violent ones. Peaceful protests have been encouraged by inspirational figures like Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. These constructive expressions of injustice come in many different forms. For example, peaceful protests may include organized marches, or they may include boycotts or sit-ins. Rather than undermining a community, peaceful protests often serve to strengthen them if a valued message is communicated.
Studies have examined the effects of protests over the last century. When compared to violent reactions, peaceful protests are twice as likely to evoke positive change. This occurs because they encourage greater participation and community support. In fact, they are 11 times more likely to attract involvement of the greater community. Being better organized and more rational in their approach, peaceful protests are naturally more influential. And at the same time, they tend to demonstrate greater respect for their towns and cities. For these reasons, they tend to be more effective in countering social injustices.
Giving Back Through Participation
Depending on the issue at hand, you may choose to participate in peaceful protests in your community. If you are passionate about the issue, peaceful protests are a good way to give back to your community. By attending these types of events, you not only show community support for the issue. But you also demonstrate your commitment to helping others create a more just and healthier place to live. And because peaceful protests are more likely to be effective with increased participation, this matters. Forces of change are more likely to occur when widespread community support is present.
Of course, actively attending peaceful protests is not the only way of participating in a proactive social movement. The larger battle in many instances is winning over the hearts and minds of others in your community. Often, this can be as effectively achieved through discussions with friends and family members. But it also can involve handing out educational pamphlets, writing supportive blogs, and similar activities. If it’s an issue you support, these are additional ways you can give back to your community during these times. Though such efforts may not be as visible, they are nonetheless powerful in their effect.
Other Ways of Offering Community Support
Throughout the nation currently, dozens of communities have suffered greatly amidst the protests. While many have been peaceful protests, many cities have seen outbreaks of destructive behaviors. Small businesses have been damaged or destroyed. Community streets and parks have been left in disarray. And many people still suffer from a lack of food and other resources to make ends meet. Understanding this, there are many other ways to provide community support other than participating in peaceful protests.
In terms of business supports, many cities have formed coalitions and groups to aid business owners in need. Some are taking donations that may be used to repair small businesses that have been unfairly targeted. Others are encouraging individuals to support these businesses through local commerce. Many of these businesses were already struggled because of COVID-19, so these community support efforts are much appreciated. Any of these activities represent great ways of giving back during this time of crisis.
In addition to business supports, many concerned individuals are heling clean up their communities in the aftermath of the protests. In many communities, grassroots efforts began immediately as people showed up with brooms and trash bags to clean up debris. Other community support efforts have been more organized. For example, neighborhood associations and local charities arranged clean-up efforts to restore their cities. And of course, food bank donations and other acts of charity are still in need due to tough economic times.
Giving Back on a Larger Scale
Many of us are struggling with many challenges currently. Finding the time to attend a peaceful protest or participate in other community events may be challenging. But there are also other ways a busy person can give back to their community. And some of these can actually make a difference on a larger scale. For example, a number of non-profit organizations pursue equality and social justice at national and international levels. Making donations or offering support to these groups may be ideal for you.
Without question, community support is something desperately needed at this time in many towns and cities. Participating in peaceful protests can help raise awareness of a need for larger change. Likewise, taking care of local businesses and fellow citizens show that you care. These activities show that people still matter and can make a tremendous impact in directing positive change. The more we as a community decide to engage in these supportive efforts, the more likely such change becomes. And through bold actions of giving back, this can become a reality.