*When I think about the deaths of icons like Civil Rights attorney Lani Guinier at 71 last Friday and groundbreaking thespian Sidney Poitier at 94, a few days before her, it makes me sad for their families and other people personally connected to them.
They are examples of people who didn’t make life choices that affected just themselves. They made choices they hoped would improve the lives of others, especially people who looked like them; who look like me.
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People who operate as Guinier and Poitier did have become rare. People who make moves based on the greater good for their lineage and their communities. It’s hard to be unselfishly concerned about the well-being of others when it seems most people are in it just for themselves.
So why should you be any different, you might ask yourself? The choice is a daily struggle, right up there with whether those extra dollars should be spent on a guilty pleasure or if you should give the cash to the person begging for change at the stop light. Sometimes it’s a choice between spending your free time watching a favorite streaming service or if you should volunteer your time with neighborhood kids.
While most people have complained about the state of our world, few people have committed to doing their part to make it better. I would encourage you to start making decisions that aren’t just good for you and yours, but that are for the greater good in your community. Even if it means you have to commit your time and money to something or somebody else, make the commitment to be the change you hope to see in your family, in your community, in the world. And do it with the understanding that nobody is going to thank you right away, maybe never! But in the long run that change could make a difference that will be felt long after you’re no longer here. And that’s the best kind of change there is.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her atinfo@SteffanieRivers.com with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her @tcbstef on Instagram and Twitter.