The cupola with fall foliage around it

What You Can Do: Five Ways to Respond

Helen Drinan

In the wake of last week's events, I write to you with a deep sense of purpose.

When the unique strengths of our form of government are strained as they have been with homicidal attempts on our civic and political leaders, senseless killings occurring in the ordinary act of grocery shopping, and racist murder of citizens practicing their religious faith, we must stop to reflect.

No Republican or Democrat committed to the sustainability of our republic can possibly support these activities or the beliefs that drive them. No citizen of the United States who cares about the future of the country we will bequeath to future generations can possibly tolerate leadership that does not challenge the state in which we find ourselves. So, what can we do? 

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Vote, and exhort everyone you know to vote. Next year marks the hundredth anniversary of women having the right to vote in the United States. Use our hard won enfranchisement to be involved in choosing our leaders. If you get really inspired, run for public office.
  2. Change the role that social media plays in your life. Never support sites that encourage hate, and look for opportunities to stand up for people being attacked on any media you frequent. Take the opportunity to talk, not text, for a few hours each day.
  3. Make it your business to learn about someone different from you. You can start with seeking basic information and work your way toward a conversation. We all have stories, and sharing them builds community.
  4. Advocate for inclusion. We know that decisions are better made when differing voices are in the conversation, and that can be generalized to making new products, building successful organizations, and creating new ideas.
  5. Build the courage of your convictions. If all of us who think carefully and honestly about the problems in our country remain quiet because we fear a negative response, only the people who are using the rhetoric of hate will be heard. 

At Simmons University, we aspire to be the most inclusive campus for all members of our community, physically and virtually. While that will take time, the most important impact will be felt as each one of us decides to join in that effort. I believe we can model the kind of community we wish our world to be. It starts with each of us as a leader of one.

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