As a coalition of nonprofit providers in Indianapolis serving immigrants and refugees, “doing one thing” for migrants and refugees does not just impact them, or us, or our organization, but our entire community.
“Doing one thing” may mean hosting a Know Your Rights or Family Safety Planning night, where immigrant families can learn about their rights and how to create a safety plan in case of detention or deportation. The impact, the security, starts with the family, who is now armed with the information and tools to protect themselves in such an unfortunate situation. The impact then grows to the coworkers and employers, to the teachers and fellow students, to law enforcement, to the grocery store the family frequents, to their place of worship. “Doing one thing” creates change.
“Doing one thing” can mean placing a sign of support in your front yard, proclaiming “I’m glad you’re my neighbor,” providing a sense of welcome in a sometimes-unwelcoming world. It can mean visiting businesses created by immigrants, attending ceremonies celebrating culture, smiling and making eye contact with the immigrant woman who rides your bus and wears a hijab. It can mean starting a conversation with her. “Doing one thing” creates relationships.
“Doing one thing” can mean hosting “Walk a Mile in a Refugee’s Shoes,” a simulation of a refugee’s life in a camp, showing a willingness to learn about and support those for whom it was real. It can mean educating others through both actions and words, having empathy for all, standing in solidarity. It can mean inspiring others around the country and around the world to do the same. “Doing one thing” creates community.
“Doing one thing” does not just mean that you are doing one thing. It means that doing something kind, loving someone because they are human, showing respect because they deserve it, goes beyond you and your neighbor. It may be as simple as doing exactly one thing, but often times a simple, single action can affect an entire community.
Our home and our organization has been impacted by “doing one thing” because we are creating change, building relationships, and strengthening our community. The simple task of “doing one thing” creates a trend of commitment to kindness and solidarity in others until eventually, hopefully not far in the future, it is the norm. Migrants and refugees face many difficult challenges both in their journey to a new home and afterwards, so it often seems that the most we can do in the face of overwhelming ignorance and resistance is one thing. One day at a time.