I recently watched Obama’s commencement speech for May 2020 high school grads and, as usual, his words were so moving they almost brought me to tears.  

In it, he talks about how their generation has the power to shape their own world and he provides three gems of advice for creating positive change.

Each so simple when you consider them at a surface level...

His three points were as follows:

  1. Don't be afraid.
  2. Do what you think is right, not just what is best for you or what is easy.
  3. Build a community

The third point of advice, about building a community, really struck me because it is something we often overlook, but it is one of the most effective ways to create positive and lasting change.

He goes on to say that if we want to create a world where everyone has opportunities and where we are better equipped to handle struggles and deal with crisis, then we need to work together, “Be alive to one another’s struggles, stand up for one another’s rights, leave behind all the old ways of thinking that divide us, sexism, racial prejudices, status, greed, and set the world on a different path.”  

Today's society lacks empathetic, humanitarian, and personal connection. Instead, I see an overabundance of stubborn, selfish, and superficial interactions. Every day, a large percentage of society is hiding behind online platforms to bully, divide, deceive, and present false personas. 

Of course, there is also a huge percentage of the population that does not participate in these destructive behaviors. Many even use online platforms to combat negativity and promote positive change, but are there limits to the results of these charitable actions when they happen only in the virtual world? I think we all need to consider ways in which we can take action on the ground, in our communities by delivering it in real life. Not only through philanthropy, but also through efforts to unite with others on a more personal level.

To be clear, I am not claiming to be part of the small percentage of people who are already living the most admirable life possible. I do my best to commit time to things beyond my own orbit by volunteering and helping loved ones and even strangers when the opportunity presents itself, but I can and should do more to be present. The circumstances of the world we are living in right now creates many unique opportunities to really dive in and make a difference.

The present moment is the time for younger generations to shape a better world for their futures, but we are all capable of contributing to positive change NOW.  Lean on one another, get involved in your communities, and create deeper, more lasting connections in life.

MeetMarket is in a unique position to aid communities during the recovery by providing financial relief and opportunities to re-unite.

To learn more please visit, meetmarket.us/how-it-works.

Resources to find ways you can make a difference:

https://bit.ly/public-health-volunteering

https://bit.ly/COVID-Volunteer-Community-Match

https://bit.ly/repair-the-world

https://bit.ly/run-for-local-office-find-out-how

https://bit.ly/learn-how-to-run-for-local-office

https://bit.ly/navigate-voting-process-first-time-voter

https://bit.ly/5-ways-channel-anger-into-action-fight-racism

https://bit.ly/support-racial-justice

https://bit.ly/end-police-violence

https://bit.ly/obamas-leadership-program-take-action

https://bit.ly/become-a-climate-reality-leader

Check out Obama’s Commencement for May 2020 High School Grads: