To the editor:
If you missed the opinion by Observer staff writer Taylor Hartz, titled “Showing solidarity is a good start,” I encourage you to give it a read.
Commenting on the Paris tragedy, Hartz commends those who took to social media in a show of support and solidarity for the victims, yet asks whether we are willing to take action beyond our posts, tweets, and photos. Hartz questions our willingness to donate blood, to give money, to volunteer time helping the troops, veterans and families of those waging the war against terror.
The article poses a basic, yet very powerful, question: In the most challenging of times, are we willing to challenge ourselves? Social media is a good start, but it is our action beyond the click of a mouse that moves us forward, that brings our support and solidarity to a new, more impactful, level.
While I was struck by the specific call for a response to the Paris tragedy, I was equally struck by the general applicability of the challenge in our everyday lives.
As residents of Southington, we are blessed to live in such a great community. Our police force keeps us safe, and our fire department secure. Our schools provide a quality education for our children. Our town employees provide myriad services that keep our town beautiful and commerce moving. I could go on.
The point is that we expect a lot from our town, and we should. As taxpayers, we should ensure every dollar is spent wisely and be assured the town is delivering on its promise to us.
Yet, if as residents, we fail to see we play an equal part in making our community great, it means we fail to appropriately respond to the challenge issued by Hartz, the challenge to be a true difference-maker.
Whether it is something we are able to do 50 weeks a year, or something we are able to do 5 minutes a week, are we helping to improve the lives of those in our community? Are we helping those less fortunate than us? Are we volunteering our time to those in need? Are we mentoring a child in search of a role model? Are we getting involved in school or civic organizations to help lighten the load carried by so few?
The point is not to advertise our good deeds. Or seek credit for them. The point is simply to take action, each in our own way. To challenge ourselves in the most challenging of times, whether it involves responding to an international tragedy, or responding to a need in the lives of our next door neighbors.
Joseph Labieniec, Southington