When you don’t have a true community, you can end up feeling lost and alone. In college, this is all the more important as you start to create a life for yourself away from your family and your hometown.
True community takes effort to form because it requires deep and intentional relationships. These relationships don’t just spring up into your life; they have to be nurtured.
The best relationships are those that challenge us and help us strive to become better, more loving and more kind people. This is easier said than done, and even more difficult to transfer into the context of a group of people and a larger community.
Within a larger context, effective activism challenges a community to be better. The call for every activist to follow is that which makes life better and more fair for all its members.
When former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited this past week, his call-to-action was for individual citizens to find something to do that works to make the nation better. If, and only if, people are active and engaged with fellow citizens and issues in their community, this tall order of creating nationwide change will be accomplished.
As one of our opinion writers noted this week, social media can make people blind to the meaningful relationships and life experiences that make people so interesting. In our communities, we do not want to ignore this unique personhood, and identity politics can make peaceful dialogue much more difficult to achieve.
But through relationships, open hearts and open minds, we believe that people can unite to accomplish things beyond our imaginations. Through community, we can better ourselves and grow together.
This idea of community, as a collective group of relationships, is the reason that change can be so much more effective at a local level than as a sweeping motion across an entire country. Local communities and people groups are much easier to stay in touch with than an entire nation.
While national politics are important, one of the greatest and most rewarding ways to create positive change is by listening to those in your immediate surroundings and engaging with those who share your zip code.
Local politics can be more effective than national politics because it is easier to communicate with and govern to smaller groups of people. When deep and caring relationships exist within the locality, politics are more likely to do what is best for those in the community.
Even when cities are not homogenous, local politics and community activism can be an effective way to improve our lives and the lives of those closeby. Start caring about the smaller-scale interactions rather than focusing entirely on the nation as a whole.