28 Aug The Importance of Kindness and Giving Back
As a widely held adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Essentially, it is not just parents who give children the tools necessary to be successful – extended family, friends and neighbors must also provide essential life lessons. If COVID-19 and the increasing awareness of the urgent need for social justice and true equality has showed us anything, it’s that it will take a global village to meet and surmount the challenges we currently face. And it will start with kindness.
Kindness is a broad term. At K&A, we’ve been thinking a lot about selfless acts of kindness – considerations and care given to others not in anticipation of getting something back, but from a drive to affect real change in our world. This is kindness with intention because kindness without action is ultimately ineffectual. It can be something as small as smiling at others as we get our groceries, saying good morning in an elevator, volunteering at local organizations to help feed the homeless, or donating canned goods to a food drive. As writer Robert Ingersoll has stated, “We rise by lifting others.”
As we bear witness to increasingly more visible injustices in the world – highlighted by the vital work of protestors and given a platform accessible to all by social media – it’s becoming ever more clear that the American promise of equality and justice for all, which has always been a work-in-progress, is far from realized.
The death of George Floyd had a profound impact on an entire nation. In that moment, our collective hearts cried out and many of us are now looking for ways to reach out in kindness to others around us and have both individual and collective impacts. We can all make an impact toward change, in ways big and small. Change happens incrementally – it indeed takes a village – and everyone’s role is unique. At K&A, we believe that we can and should find the roles that speak to us.
And it all comes back, in a way, to kindness. Kindness is a cosmic boomerang – when we send it out into the world, we can rely on it returning our way when we need it most. Kindness unites us by creating bridges of understanding which we can use to cross toward a more tolerant, equal future.
Many companies, like Katz & Associates, are partnering with their employees to donate – both financially and with their time – to foundations, charities, and entities that help make a difference in our communities and encourage diversity in our world. At K&A, we’re doing our part by matching dollar-for-dollar employee donations to organizations that include:
- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (www.naacpldf.org)
- George Floyd Memorial Fund (Go Fund Me) (www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd)
- ACLU (www.aclu.org)
- Black Voters Matter (www.blackvotersmatterfund.org)
- Black Mamas Matter (www.blackmamasmatter.org)
- Boys to Men (www.boystomen.org)
- Outdoor Afro (www.outdoorafro.com)
- Melanin Base Camp (www.melaninbasecamp.com)
- The Equal Justice Initiative (www.eji.org)
- Washington School for Girls (www.washingtonschoolforgirls.org)
- Sista Midwife Productions LLC (www.sistamidwife.com)
We’ve discovered that this endeavor has had a positive secondary effect: In financially partnering with each employee, it’s given us the opportunity to learn more about each other and to how we each hope to become more involved in the world around us. Two foundations we’re especially excited about are Outdoor Afro and Sista Midwife. Outdoor Afro is an organization that focuses on opening up outdoor adventure activities for children who have limited access to these kinds of opportunities. Sista Midwife is a foundation geared toward helping decrease mortality in black woman and children due to lack of qualified medical care in disadvantaged communities. As K&A sends out updates about our matches, employees get an opportunity to learn about organizations they may not have otherwise known existed.
At K&A, we’re committed to creating an environment that allows for discussion, education, and growth – beyond the daily work we do for our clients. We have developed an online resource library with an expansive number of resources about racial and social diversity which includes links to articles, books, and movies we think our employees might find useful. Opening our minds to other voices, opinions, and knowledge helps enhance our culture of inclusion and diversity. In a world that feels increasingly divided, we will continue to strive for unity. We’ll lead with kindness, giving ourselves the space to learn and grow and pay forward the kindnesses shown to us. We believe this is fundamentally necessary if we want to ensure that this village, we call America is welcoming home to all.