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What can you do? Staying engaged in divisive times

  • Do something concrete. Trust in your power to make change, even if results aren’t immediately obvious.
  • Be intentional. Know your values and how you live them.
  • Connect with (or start) a community with shared values.
  • Educate yourself. Seek sources with clear, unbiased, factual reporting. Seek sources from multiple viewpoints.
  • If you live in a city, go visit a rural area. If you live in a rural area, go visit a city. Ask questions of the people you encounter.
  • Ask questions of others who have different views.
  • When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break. Trust that the others in your community will cover for you as you will cover for them when they need a break.
  • Reach outside your comfort zone.
  • Volunteer to tutor in reading, English as a new language, math, or life skills.
  • Call your local, state, and federal representatives.
  • Volunteer to help people get to the BMV to get necessary voting IDs or to get to the polls on election day.
  • Host listening groups to enhance opportunities for encounter.
  • Create beauty. Sing, dance, paint, draw, garden, play an instrument or write.
  • Appreciate beauty. Read books or watch movies that tell stories of people whose worlds you might not be familiar with.
  • Collect household goods for a refugee family or host a fundraiser for a resettlement organization.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
  • Become a mentor to someone in your city. Mentoring programs exist for children and for adults re-entering society after prison or addiction recovery.
  • Visit with and really listen to a neighbor.
  • Start or work in a community garden.

(Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Sister Emily TeKolste

Sister Emily TeKolste is in formation with the Sisters of Providence. She is a native of Indianapolis and has a degree in sociology from Xavier University in Cincinnati. Emily is passionate about justice with special interest in environmentalism and sustainability. You can follow her blog at solongstatusquoblog.wordpress.com. She currently ministers with the NETWORK lobby for Catholic social justice.

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