It goes without saying that so many of us get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of things, that we ignore one another. We fail to see when our neighbors and peers are hurting and silently begging for our help and attention. And more often than not, we fail to consider the struggle of those around us while we try and tackle “bigger," “more important” societal issues while not even recognizing the fact that it all starts with the individual.
The biggest criticism I have for major movements and organizations is that they often fail to recognize the small people. These people go forgotten and their struggles go unheard as they’re told that they’re irrelevant because their narrative doesn’t fit that of the “bigger goal." The individual is neglected as many care more about the masses than about a single person.
In no way do I mean to politicize what I’m saying or even impart my opinion on how I feel about what these organizations and movements stand for. However, I do wish to use some of these organizations as a paradigm to exemplify how many in need, often go unheard and forgotten by the very organizations and missions that proclaim to stand by and support these very people.
Why is it all too easy to stand by the sidelines and show support for these grandiose movements and organizations, but yet harder to help the individuals in our very own community?
All too often, I see people either go on these very expensive mission trips out of the country or help donate large sums of money toward these mission trips. Now I’m all for volunteer work and for helping those in less fortunate circumstances than myself, but what people fail to realize is that there are so many people in their very own community that need help! These individuals are often looked past because it’s just one person. Yes, it’s easier to focus on “societal issues” but we often fail to recognize that one person contributes to the whole. Now multiply one person’s problems many times and that’s how you get to having these larger issues. Fighting world poverty and world hunger starts at home. It starts with focusing on one person and then going from there.
The same lens of criticism can be applied to the feminist movement. Many feminists are off fighting issues which they deem to be societal issues. However, they often overlook an individuals battle as irrelevant to the bigger narrative. I hear feminists constantly talking about empowering women, but I never hear about groups of feminists going to court to support a 15-year-old girl that just got raped. I never hear about feminists trying to empower and help a single mother of 5 kids. These people simply don’t fit into the larger narrative and therefore, slip through the cracks and go forgotten.
Allowing one person to slip through the cracks should be just as shameful as allowing for this to happen to many. Since when did one person become any less important than the masses? We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing so many people go feeling like they’ve been forgotten about. What good are you really doing if you say that you support something, but you’re reluctant to act in all of the smaller ways in your very own community.
Every competitive athlete knows that you don’t start competing at the Olympic level right when you enter your sport. You first start small, make your way up, and eventually achieve the big goal you set forth for yourself. And the same goes with bringing about change in society. Though I believe that many of these organizations mean well, they absolutely must not forget about the little guy that often goes forgotten while these movements and organizations try to pursue these societal changes. Once you forget about the individual and the more people go unseen while they slip through the cracks, your end goal has already failed. For like I’ve said before, it is a combination of all of the individual people who make up the whole.
You change society by focusing on the individual rather than just the masses.