What is community?
Community starts with L-O-V-E.
A community is a place for individuals to find their identity and security and to experience the feeling of home and belonging. By nature, as humans, we are community-oriented and need to be a part of activities and jobs in which we can share commonalities with others and not feel alone. Yet, people are feeling more disconnected than ever. We have lost our basic virtue of humanity, love, and the ability to feel empathy. Do we know what it means to really understand what a person is feeling, offer comfort, be patient, respect a person’s dignity?
Belonging to a community is a basic human need. People can’t go through life solely on their own - they need human interaction. Yet, because of recent traumas, such as school shootings and political division, isolating oneself in order to avoid contact with others may seem the solution, but it is not. We must revive ourselves through healing together, not apart. If we separate ourselves from growing and collaborating with others, we will fail to progress, because we are social beings who need others in order to fully live as a human being. Rediscovering our sense of community begins with shared sacrifice, being present, engaging with others, and respecting human dignity.
Technology, which should be connecting community members, seems to be isolating us from one another. Social media is making us more concerned about our online presence, and carefully crafted virtual platforms, rather than REAL connections with other people. When we are not bound to wholesome friends, and good community, we become more focused on being self-serving. Community holds us accountable for our actions and allows us to look outward rather than in.
Nowadays, we want instant gratification, for people to respond immediately, for problems to be fixed, for solutions to be resolved - all without getting involved. We are always in a state of ‘busyness’ that we lose our sense of awareness, our ability to connect basic personal connections to others. We’ve become numb to human feelings - everyone is “okay” and to be anything other than that is shameful. We have to rediscover love, compassion, and compromise. Power off the phone, TV, laptop. Look around. We are alive and there are people that need us. So, let’s start taking responsibility and ownership and rediscovering what a “community” really means.
At times it seems overwhelming - how do we start fixing the problem? How do we start building back our sense of community? As with any large problem, the solution lies in breaking down the problem into smaller bits. You don't have to boil the ocean, just start with the puddle down the street. Small actions when aggregated, manifest in a movement.
Here are some ways to get active in your community:
Here are some great technology alternatives for networking with other people:
Here at Community we are proud to partner with three amazing organizations focused on restoring connections with every individual, no matter who they are or where they come from. When we stand together we are a force that can overcome any obstacle and build a stronger and loving community.
Our Giving Partners:
Street Poets Saving Lives One Rhyme at A Time - Los Angeles based non-profit organization that helps at-risk and incarcerated individuals in the community through the healing power of poetry and help them to express their feelings through self-reflection.
The People Concern OPCC & Lamp Community United - “The People Concern empowers the most vulnerable among us to rebuild their lives.” A Los Angeles based social service agency dedicated to finding solutions to homelessness and domestic violence within the community. Radically empathetic, The People Concern offers full service care for physical, emotional, and mental needs to individuals in the city.
Youth Mentoring Connections Buried in our Roots are the seeds of our gifts. - Los Angeles based organizations centered on the mission of providing at-risk youth the opportunity to discover their talents and true potential by pairing them up with passionate mentors focused on helping lead them to successful and safe futures.
The first step is the hardest but just remember, every member of the community impacts the person we are today and what the future will hold. We are all #COMUNITYMADE.