Content Warning: Points of Light acknowledges that a small portion of the post below may be difficult for some readers. We encourage you to please care for your own wellbeing above all.
When a crisis like a mass shooting takes place, it’s natural to feel compelled to look for solutions all while navigating frustration, outrage and grief.
We mourn alongside the families and communities affected by these horrific tragedies. Events like these are too many in number and have a devastating impact on individuals and our society as a whole.
Reaching for solutions and exercising your power to create positive change are essential parts of coping and healing. When individuals feel hopeless or helpless, we know that change comes from each point of light working together.
There are many ways to leverage collective action to help our communities better reflect our vision of the world we want to see around us. You can accelerate change and find a sense of empowerment and purpose to create both immediate and lasting impact.
What You Can Do Right Now
- Donate. We recognize that you have many choices and obligations when it comes to how to spend your hard-earned wages. If you’re able, you may choose to use a portion to support families affected by these events or organizations working to put an end to gun violence.
- Give blood — it’s a life-sustaining act. You can even check the blood supply across the U.S. and ask friends and family you may have in the areas where it’s most needed to donate.
- Learn more about how mental health builds better communities and gain a better understanding of Our Collective Trauma & Our Collective Healing in 3 Stages.
- Get information on How to Talk to Children About Shootings: An Age-by-age Guide from The Today Show.
- Hold your local officials, senators and congresspeople accountable by contacting them to ask what actions they’re taking around the issues that matter most to you. Advocate for and amplify the messages and positions you support when talking with friends and family as well as sharing information and calls to action on your social media pages.
- Volunteer with an organization in your community so that you can be a part of building neighborhoods that are stronger and safer, like Daily Point of Light Awardee Quintrell Reese. Learn more about his efforts to curb gun violence and keep his community safe.
How You Can Work to Create Sustained Change
- Watch the Listen. Learn. Act to End Racism discussion series to explore how systemic racism impacts our communities, a joint partnership of Points of Light and Morehouse College.
- Mid-term elections are an essential time to understand candidates’ and your local officials’ stances on the issues you care about. Do your research so that you can choose to support candidates who share your convictions and your vision for a better community. You can also become a poll worker or volunteer with an organization in your community that champions voting rights by getting citizens to the polls.
- Make purchases with purpose. Buy from companies taking an active role in building better communities today and for future generations. Check this list of America’s Most Responsible Companies from Newsweek.
- Become a social entrepreneur. Are you someone who can identify a need that has not been met by traditional means and lead innovative solutions that drive change? Ashoka’s Systems Change Crash Course is a free resource that takes you through a step-by-step process that will shift your way of thinking about social issues and innovation.
- Make full use of special opportunities offered by your workplace. Your company may offer volunteer time off — use it to support a cause that matters to you. Many companies also offer matching gift programs, which means your donation has an even bigger impact.
- Pursuing a life of service means committing your time, energy and talent to public, national or military service. There are many avenues you can take, including becoming involved with AmeriCorps, which helps cities and communities find solutions in the areas of education, economic opportunity, disaster response, environmental stewardship, healthy futures and veterans and their families.
You can take decisive civic action starting today and keep your momentum going by choosing to focus on one or more elements of The Points of Light Civic Circle, a roadmap to civic engagement. Volunteerism and other means of supporting your community are effective ways of protecting your own mental health and well-being as well as bettering the community around you. Because every action, no matter how small, makes a difference.
If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support as a result of recent events, check this list of free or low-cost resources from Crisis Text Line, or text HOME to 741741 to talk to one of their trained crisis counselors for support that is anonymous, free and available 24/7.