Last weekend on January 16, 2021, I volunteered at a mask-making event for the homeless. I didn't anticipate what my job would be. No experience with knitting was required, but those who were familiar with sewing and knitting contributed to formatting the masks together. The ones who were inexperienced, like me, were either tracing or cutting. My job was tracing the patterns that would turn into masks. While tracing, I observed interesting fabric patterns to prevent the job from becoming tedious. I was interviewed twice during my time because the event sponsored the belief in giving love and support to our community. The most valuable lesson to be learned is how to delicately handle large issues in identity.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I know that I needed to learn about the issue of American racism. I decided to watch "I Am Not Your Negro" on Netflix. I know that it is a film on Amazon, but both streaming services shared the film for an unknown reason. Regardless, watching this film reminded me how little progress we made despite changes done to make things better. African Americans such as James Baldwin do not feel as if they are being taken seriously in America. They are punished and tormented by racism that feels external but is implicit. Many African Americans have gone on to achieve better opportunities. Yet, the rest suffer and die at the hands of violent interactions with powerful authorities with no consequences. It has occurred for years and even in the summer of 2020. There are even ones who feel as if they internalize racist stereotypes because of their hopelessness to achieve anything.
What exactly can be done to help others? What can a good law-abiding citizen do to achieve human decency when great powers reveal their corruption with little to no change? My mother tells me to move on with my life because it doesn't involve me. She's generous enough to make me care about my own individuality. The same can't be said to those impacted by the degression many leaders such as Dr. King, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin wished to defeat. Sparks of violence have led to more violence caused by extremists. It's a vicious cycle that continues on with the degression. If it is possible for an event to help others in terrible times, please do whatever you can to participate that does not include violence and/or assault.
As we have seen from how BLM extremists turned to violence and how extreme Trump supporters invaded the Capitol, committing violence does not help support the message of giving back to the community. By giving back means you must commit an act of kindness. Go and find a nice charitable event where you can make and support those who are in need the most. For anyone at mask making events, find a lovely pattern that speaks to you so you may give it to others.