Let's Talk Human Rights Blog - August 2018

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    In this month's "Let's Talk Human Rights" blog:

    • Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Cultivate Change by Natalie Lampley

    Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Cultivate Change

    In the 1960’s and 70’s the fight for equal rights in education, transportation, employment, and health care was the focus of the American story; now, with all of the advancements we have made, we find ourselves fighting a new battle of the same war.  From the #MeToo Movement to Black Lives Matter, to the Fair Immigration Reform Movement and the Disability Movement and everything in between, we are re-examining the gaps in our quest for human rights. 

    How do we move gracefully into the next decade without identifying a clear pathway for change?  How do we become the embodiment of peace, love, and harmony without embracing that which is familiar and unfamiliar to us?  Moving forward requires showing compassion, empathy, and wisdom to the people we interact with daily--no matter their individual differences and stories.  We can be champions of compassion and dare to acknowledge the misfortune of others.  We can have empathy - understanding what another person may be going through because you never know, one day you may be on the receiving end.  We can use wisdom and realize by working together we can in fact bring about positive change. 

    Fifty-four years ago folks came together for the civil rights movement, because people realized that separate was not equal.  Today, we can come together realizing that we all are human, and we all have rights.

    One way to begin is to perform simple acts of kindness to help cultivate change.  I promise, it won’t cost you a thing, and it might yield more happiness – and more understanding of others - than you could ever buy.      

    1. Take the time to “meet” someone you normally wouldn’t talk to. 

    Hold a conversation with someone you don’t know.  Ask them questions about their family, find out their interests, you would be surprised by what you may have in common.

    2. Be friendly, give a compliment and smile at a stranger.

    Good vibes are contagious and everyone can appreciate a compliment.  This simple act of kindness can brighten not only your day, but the other person’s as well.

    3. Display patience and kindness.

    It’s easy to get frustrated and impatient when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we can misplace that frustration onto others, so remember to take a deep breath and try to be positive, patient, and kind.

    4. Pay it forward.

    If someone does a good deed for you, then you do a good deed to the next.

    5. Give the benefit of the doubt.

    We all have those days where we may not be the easiest person to get along with.  Before you outwardly express frustration, take a moment to inwardly reflect on what you may have needed to brighten your “off” day, and then do it for them.  

    Written by Natalie Lampley, Access to Justice Coordinator for the Iowa Accountability Program in Polk County

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