Building communities of hope

04 Dec 2014

Before my “regularly scheduled” blog post, which will follow this one, have a longish set of perhaps deeper musings.

It has been a bad week. Every week is a bad week somewhere in the world, but the past 10-14 days have been a real grab bag for America: the continued betrayal of oppressed communities, the necessary (and painful) exposure of continued systemic injustice, and a lot of bitterness and anger that I can’t even understand or appreciate, because I’m white and living in a small Midwestern university town. I asked myself some questions related to Ferguson and I hope to continue to find ways to be an ally and force for change.

But, precisely because terrible things happen, I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to participate in good things. Tonight I sat in on two online calls. The first call was for Software Carpentry, where indomitable founder Greg Wilson explained the exciting new developments that will be taking place for that organization over the next few weeks. The second call was with a group of people who are volunteering to be mentors at a kid’s tech workshop this Saturday.

At the end of the Software Carpentry call, Greg expressed his thanks and amazement for the amazing community of volunteer instructors/contributors who have made SWC’s new stage of life possible. He described the new steering committee positions as “a lot of fun” and I, for one, know that it’ll be true, for exactly the reason he described: it’s fun to make things with people. That’s why I’m volunteering for this workshop on Saturday. And why I spent hundreds of unpaid hours helping with the Math Education/Exam Resources wiki. It is fun to make things with people.

But it’s more than just fun. I wrote a different blog post about creating in community, inspired by this article, lesson 5. We get a lot of joy out of belonging to a creative community…but I have also found it a source of hope. To work with others allows me to maintain that balance of realism and optimism that is the definition of hopeful life.

Obviously, these particular communal endeavours are not the whole answer to the problems of the world. But I think it is a key element to effecting real positive change. We need to keep making things together, if we’re going to make it through.

reflections » community, hope, collaboration, gratitude, service, Software Carpentry,

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