2016 has been a year of immense ups, downs, and overall division in both the United States and abroad. We saw Brexit, the bulk of the American election cycle culminating with Trump's victory, dozens of riots, the rise in prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and dozens of other instances of hate, divide, and violence. Socially speaking, more has happened in the past 11 months than in the past 4 years.
In Southern California, one college student chose to focus on unity rather than division. Lynne Ji launched the #BlackFridayLivesMatter movement in an attempt to show the world that "violence begets violence" as she posted on Facebook.
The movement is live on Kickstarter and aims to give profits from the sales to verified non-profits benefitting the 53+ families of fallen police officers in this year alone. Namely, Ji will be working with the Blue Lives Matter non-profit, an organization run by police officers to benefit police families suffering from the loss of a loved one during the line of duty.
Ji's cause is admirable and through the leveraging of partnerships, such as with Fresh Prints, she is helping bring the goal to fruition. After sitting down with her to learn more about what inspired her journey and the campaign, these were the words of wisdom she had to impart.
Don't be afraid to speak up.
Many people think silence prevents them from being involved in conflict. However, the opposite holds true. It's been proven time and time over again that silence is as much an active form of communication as talking. In any situation, people take account of the input and lack of it present. So, if you disapprove, and remain silent, that won't be taken positively. If you did nothing when a problem persisted, many people would see that as enabling, and believe the issue at hand is as much your fault as the person who actually caused the problem. So if you decide to stay quiet, you may destroy trust and create resentment.
Treat everyone like you want to be treated.
Instead of focusing on getting revenge at those who cross you, choose to guide them into a better frame of mind. Teach them where the flaw is in their thinking, so you can guide them to understand the progression from thought to action. If someone believes they are doing the right thing by controlling someone, first try to understand how that person feels his actions will get him from a desire to a result. Next, help them evaluate the consequences and perhaps choose a better way to achieve their goals and consider the goals of others. Most importantly, always be open to seeing the other side as well, as you may learn something.
In the words of Mother Theresa, "Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier."