Amid America’s economic events, such as, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the act of giving without the intention or expectation to create a profit seems far too irrelevant, especially as local organizations are often blueprints for National businesses, but beginning with days like “Giving Tuesday” will alleviate many questions and concerns surrounding the cliche, “giving back to the community.” In past years, the celebrated events have stood as a spotlight of economic recovery with families flocking to the best store deals, but this year’s extravaganza fell unexpectedly in the shadow of separate grand jury decisions not to indict two, police officers for the murders of two, unarmed black males, which produced a social unrest amongst the store’s most frequent shoppers. However, the insertion of a day that honors philanthropy between celebrating economic gain and mourning social loss is a testament to the success of introducing philanthropic work as a way to create change of longevity in our communities. Philanthropy reveals something about the human heart that can extend a day of giving into a community of givers, and the lessons of leadership that are learned through founding and participating in community organizations uphold a society’s testing times.
Some believe in the theory, ‘Leaders are born,’ and while I’d discovered a heart to give at an age that I cannot necessarily trace, I do remember the act of service having to be developed since childhood. As a young girl sitting in church pews, I was taught to put money in the baskets before passing it around or pass around the basket with my money before leaving out any back doors. As an active kid, I was enrolled in local clubs to learn the art of teamwork. As a teenager in high school, community service was a requirement for graduation, so I was admittedly forced to complete a certain level of community engagement. “Giving Tuesday” did not exist then, and neither did my care for why anything like it did not because those experiences with giving during my youth made giving a casual, daily activity. I did not feel any more or less important due to the fact that I wanted to give, nor did I feel as if I knew “how to give,” according to a certain amount of money or time that I gave. It is the combined effort to recognize compassion from both the community and home that I received, in which I recall having the most influence on why I gave. As I reflect on my daily activities in the same cities that are now the forefront of poverty, crime, and violence, questions and concerns are not only surrounding the existence of philanthropic work in the communities and homes, but its resonance with humans whose paid work it is to lead, protect and serve without the fear of killing or abusing the power that has been a privilege to behold in our hands and under our feet.
Privilege lies at the helm of every category of identity, but not everyone identifies with a type of privilege because the results of our privilege to live and work are viewed by most humans as individually earned opposed to being given by a system. Philanthropy is the helmet that covers the physical identities in order to reason privilege out of its self and into giving collectively. Everyone can give, and that is the essence of why everyone should. If giving discriminated, then the basis of getting paid work would lack necessary elements of growth and sustainability, and this is why our social movements must move behind the spirit of philanthropy.
The act of giving navigates beyond differences to gather our similarities, which makes the want to give an easier find. Finding a cause has never been easier in a society with alarming causes for social unrest, and finding a cure can become easier with a people who will altogether be social for a cause everyday. Philanthropy is why hope can precede anger in our social causes, even when anger is what sparks the recognition for our need to hope. Philanthropy is why cops and community alike can recall their mentality and reinvent actions. Our everyday lives are examples of philanthropy when we simply give of our time and money with compassion, and what we want for our own lives is how we can use the act of giving to impact the world.