It is freezing cold outside here, and I couldn’t get my car to start so I wasn’t able to help out a book sale I was hoping to help out at. (Nor could I buy books from the sale!) But that means I have some extra time at home, and that is good too.
Sometimes it feels like facebook and twitter flood me with bad news, but today I’m noticing quite a few good things. Some of them are the sort of little happy warm things that don’t bring systematic change but are nevertheless good for restoring hope in people. Here’s a small list of ones that I heard about today:
- Strangers leaving scarves for those left out in the cold.
- “Suspended Coffees” where people buy coffee for strangers
- There’s places for (Canadian) organizations to get funding to plant edible trees in their community
- an artist fundraising for a cause he believes in.
Sometimes the good is mixed with bad, like the story here of a woman taking in homeless strangers on cold nights, mixed in with the disappointment that the elected officials of my city are not taking the situation of the homeless seriously. I was at the meeting mentioned in that article and it was a strange mix of good and bad. The councilors asked really good questions of their staff. Back a little while ago the staff had said that they would be providing CHPI funds (funds for people in poverty at risk to help them get or maintain stable housing) at the same level as the CSUMB used to be (a program the Ontario government cut). At budget time the staff said they had enough money to do that and they didn’t need any more, but the anti-poverty group has been hearing of situation after situation were people are turned down, and now the staff were saying they don’t really have enough. So it was good to have the councilors drill them on what is really going on. But I feel a sense of strangeness too at looking at the little bits of good that came out of the meeting, because there’s so much more than needs to be done. We need more action, stronger leadership, and somehow even the councilors we know support doing something allowed the meeting to move on with just a weak motion for the staff to ‘look into’ stuff. So I find myself asking, does the good matter, in light of the bad? I think it does. I think it has to. We have to have hope to keep carrying on.
Other happy things include people speaking out about things:
- An Ontario PC candidate spoke up against the Right to Work legislation, refusing to recant even when he was told that he can no longer be the candidate for the PC.
- Teenagers talking about life in Nunavut and the hunger faced there
- Stephanie McMillan has her comic Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Struggle
- Chris Dixon wrote about preserving the history of movements. He’s got lots of links for learning about social change
- People across Ontario (and lots of other places) are speaking out for higher minimum wage. Political will is building! Expectations are being raised!
There are people working for good. There are so many people working to bring about good change. There are a million struggles everywhere. I won’t get overwhelmed by them, simply know that they are there, that I can take comfort in other people working to bring good and to do good, and that my job is right here, where I am, focused on the things I’m focusing on.