Getting Involved is More than Just “Liking” and “Sharing” by Amy
I recently attended a large fundraising event for a national political organization. I usually don’t attend this type of pricey event as it requires dressing like a grown-up and hundreds of dollars for institutional hotel food; but it was important to Paul that we both attend as it was for a cause that we are personally connected with and so are many of our friends and social acquaintances. So I put on my big girl blazer, some eye makeup (something reserved for very special occasions, but, based on the reaction of others, should probably be incorporated into my everyday life) and ventured downtown on a Sunday night, leaving my sweats and DVR home alone.
It turned out to be a wonderful experience. I saw many people, who I expected to see and have known for a long time, and a few others I was surprised but really happy to see. The speakers were passionate, emotional and impressively informed with not only the facts, which one would expect, but also with personal perspectives that added to the presentation and made a lasting impression on me. Along with the speeches and the presence of several local elected officials, it was the size and make up of the crowd that impressed me most of all. I love being an audience member. I love the shared energy of a group gathered with a single focus; it just does something to me. It moves and inspires me. This night was no exception. I spend so much of my time these days connecting with others, both friends and work associates, using one device or another, that personal contact is the exception rather than the rule and to me so much is lost in translation.
As I reflected on the eventing I started thinking of all the signing of petitions, and liking or sharing posts that strike a cord with me. I know this is important, but it is not the same as being in a room filled with people who are united in thought and purpose. There is something to be said for the hand shaking, hugging and the eye contact accompanied by the nod of recognition that comes from gathering with people in your community, whether they are people in your immediate social circle or people you casually recognize from here and there.
One of the speakers spoke about the power in the number of people showing up, whether to a fundraiser, a political rally or a conference. Seeing several hundred – perhaps thousands- of people gathering, lobbying, and supporting a cause makes a statement. He was referring to the statement it made to the legislators, but it also speaks volumes to those people who come out, who make the effort, who are publicly making a stand and getting involved. People gathered together in the same room solidifies, unites, inspires, and connects; it makes the issues real, palpable.
I would like to applaud all of of you who put yourselves out there for the causes you believe in. As for the rest of us, the next time we get an invitation to attend, support or volunteer, whether it is formal, printed and mailed, or arrives via e-mail, let’s think before we toss it, decline it, or ease our conscience by sending a check. I know I will.