Sep 15, 2020

A Season of Service + Action Steps

For the last couple of weeks, my inner voice has been nudging me to talk less and listen more. My big personal epiphany has been that the theme of my adult life has been service. Since graduating from college, I've worked in the community relations department of a professional sports team, worked for a government entity, and volunteered countless hours at my kids' schools.

Now I'm wondering how I can serve a greater purpose. While I ponder that, I thought it would be a great time to share some actions that keep coming to my attention:

  • VOTE. First and foremost, VOTE. It's one of the great privileges of living in the United States. Learn how to check your voter registration in any state here. (California voters can go here.)

    Checking your status is especially crucial if you haven't voted in the last few elections, because that can result in your removal as a registered voter. Don't delay, because registration deadlines are quickly approaching.

  • Complete the Census. Results of the 2020 Census will be used to determine representation in Congress, and the allocation of billions of dollars for education, health care, housing, transportation and more. You can complete the Census through the end of this month (which is an earlier deadline than in the past). Go here to complete the Census online or to learn how to do so by phone or mail.

    The City of LA has put together an FAQ for various "hard-to-count communities." These include college students, immigrants, LGBTQI, renters, and more.

    Adults in Los Angeles can sign up to phone bank for the Census. You might even get a $5 Visa gift card for doing it.

  • Phone bank to help get people registered to vote. Reclaim Our Vote is a nonpartisan campaign working to help voters make sure they are registered to vote. Once you sign up, you'll get emails about their opportunities, which include phone banking to people who may have been removed from voter rolls to let them know how to check their voter registration status and re-register if necessary. Edited 9/16/20 to add: Visit When We All Vote for more resources and info on getting others signed up to vote. Also, join Asha Dornfest's Vote+1 campaign, where she's encouraging people to vote AND do one more thing.

  • Donate plasma. If you tested positive for COVID-19 and are fully recovered, the Red Cross wants your plasma for antibodies. Learn more here.

  • Thank a teacher. I have friends who are teachers, and they are working tirelessly to adapt to distance learning (we're all virtual in our school district). After seeing their Facebook posts, I sent emails to all of my kids' teachers to let them know their efforts are seen and appreciated, and I received many heartfelt thank you's in return.

  • Create or update your emergency kit. The wildfires on the west coast have reminded those of us out here of the importance of emergency kits. I've shared what you should have in a basic emergency kit, and what you might consider including in an upgraded emergency kit. I just checked our kits to make sure they're up to date, and am in the process of adding COVID-related items, like disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and masks. These are items that would be good to have anyway, so they'll be a permanent addition.

    Make sure that everyone in your family has the number of an out-of-state contact, who can act as a central communication point if you get separated and can't make local calls because the system is down or overloaded. An alternative is to use social media to post updates and communicate.

  • Edited 9/16/20 to add: 
    • Reach out to someone you haven't talked to in a while. Phone calls might seem more awkward than an email or text, but once you get past that initial awkward hello, you can launch into full updates much more quickly than you would in writing. And the warmth in your voice and the other person's voice is something that just can't be replicated on a screen.
    • Pick an issue that's important to you and delve into the research. While I've been drawn to all of the social justice issues that have come up in the last few months, it isn't a surprise that I'm most drawn to financial equity issues, particularly as they relate to education and food. So a lot of my "listening" has really been reading about these issues. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the info yet, but I'm sure something will come up.
    What else can we all do right now?

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