Today is August 14, 2016. A normal Sunday and most people are checking off their To-Do lists. Grocery shopping, house cleaning or simply resting for the long week ahead. The missing link to this list of activities is simply asking the question, "What is going on in my community?"
The activities of life often cloud our vision on the importance of community and the people around us. Let's explore the meaning of the word "community" according to Dictionary.com: "A"
This is such a profound definition, and I chose this specific one for a reason. Communities are people living similar lifestyles because of organized ideologies and understandings.
Although this is the dictionary definition of community, there's an element to consider. In order for there to be a "rule" that a group of people live by, the most critical thing that has to be in place is the ability to constantly redefine those rules based on the need of the people.
I believe I am not the only one who thinks of something permanent or fixed, when the word rule is mentioned. However, an assessment of our community is needed daily in order for the term community to be appropriate. Thus, rules when it comes to the community has to be amendable in order for the members to thrive together. So where do we start? We simply start with being vigilant.
The word vigilant means to be "keenly watchful for danger or opportunity at any moment." This speaks of an awareness at all times. Consider this symbol:
This is a symbol of the Ghanian, West African people, where I was born and raised until the age of 10, prior to moving to the states. The symbol is called Akoben, and its literal meaning is "War Horn," which symbolizes loyalty, devotion and service. Akoben is a wind instrument as shown on the right above, and it's blown into, to sound a battle cry in order to gather warriors to the battlefield.
May I bring it home for a moment, on this beautiful Sunday of August 14, 2016. I am blowing the horn to gather millennials and encourage my generation to be vigilant, to be aware. In 2016, our battlefield is the needs that aren't being met in our communities, the people who aren't a part of the "rule-making," the children who lack the resources and support, the injustices we see in our communities.
So today, it's an awakening. As you write your To-Do lists for the week consider asking, "What is going on in my community?" Start thinking about how you can be better aware of your surroundings.
Millennials, I understand the desire for justice, change, and peace in the nations. However, I will challenge you with this question, "Do you really know what is happening in your neighborhood, community, or city?" Not the awareness that comes from scrolling through Facebook and Twitter or tuning in to popular media broadcasts for the quick update. Rather, the awareness of communicating with the members of your community, asking the right questions to the right people, partaking in qualified research outside of social media, showing genuine interest in the people of your community in lieu of the policies and ideologies. All that is being asked of you at the moment is to be intentional about paying attention to your community.
I will leave you with this quote by Leo Tolstoy, “If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”