Make a Positive Impact for Those Left Out This Season
by Brian Moniz
These last few months have given us plenty of topics to argue and debate about, from the death of George H.W. Bush, to a maniac sending fourteen pipe bombs to prominent Democrats, to Kevin Hart’s anti-gay tweets popping up after being named to host the Oscars, to literally everything Donald Trump is doing. We always seem to have a lot to fight about, but when all the screaming and bickering is done, what have we really accomplished? Have we ever tried harnessing that fighting spirit and passion towards something truly good? Maybe the next time you want to spend hours bickering and arguing with family, friends or even strangers in person or on the internet, step back and use that free time to do some good for those who need it most during this holiday season.
Last week I wrote about the negative impact that President George H.W. Bush left on the LGBT community. It fired me up enough to want to go onto Facebook and argue with my conservative friends and family members and tear down any posts that honored the late President. However, I remembered it is the holiday season, and starting fights with people is not the jolliest thing to do and not something I personally enjoy. It got me thinking…all those people I wrote about who suffer from HIV and AIDS, all the homeless LGBT kids, all the elderly citizens of our community who have no families to go this holiday season, how can I help them? Writing a blog on Facebook shaming people I don’t agree with doesn’t do that.
I know many of us this season are not looking forward to going home to conservative, Trump-supporting parents and families, or are dreading having to spend the holidays alone. What if this year, instead of creating hurdles you loathe having to cross, you build bridges to things that you can look forward to. Spend that passionate energy of yours asking your friends and family for donations to a LGBT youth charity. Have a little cash to spare? Take that money to a toy store and buy as many cheap toys as you can and visit a children’s hospital. Notice the spirits lifted in their little faces when they see a stranger came to bring them a piece of joy while they are stuck in a hospital instead of being under a tree like other fortunate children. Worried you will be spending the holidays alone? Why not visit a senior center and ask the volunteers there if there is a senior or two who do not get a lot of visitors and spend an hour or two keeping them company and raising both of your spirits.
There are so many free, cheap, practical ways to help people of all ages and stripes in your community. Use this holiday season to make a difference and bring warmth and compassion to others in a way arguing with people could never do. Let’s start now by being more civil to each other by helping the most vulnerable in our own backyard. What’s the point of having an outspoken voice online if all we do with it is start pointless arguments that end friendships, damage relationships and never lead to anyone changing their minds?
The next time you fight with someone, think about those kids in hospitals who worry Santa will not have time for them this year, the elderly woman sitting by her window looking out wishing she had a friend to talk to, or the homeless people who will not get a meal today because the soup kitchen doesn’t have enough volunteers.
If we want to make the country less divided and more civil, why not start with our own community? Actions will always speak louder than any words on the internet, and even the smallest gesture of kindness can have a huge impact on those who far too often feel left out. Next time you want to tear someone apart for something they said or wrote about that you disagree with, harness that energy towards something positive and make a positive difference. Don’t just say “Happy Holidays,” be the “happy” in someone else’s holiday.
About the Author:
Brian Moniz is a 30-year-old man from San Jose, Calif. He studied filmmaking and writing at San Jose State University from 2010–2013 and got his bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film. Throughout his high school and college years, he worked as a music and movie journalist and critic. Having only recently come out of the closet himself in 2014, Brian enjoys writing about LGBTQ issues. His only regret when it comes to his sexuality is that he didn’t come out sooner.