Combat Apathy with Action
Hi neighbors and friends. Akron and the country are currently going through [even more] turmoil. I’ve been gathering some resources that have been helpful for me, and I thought I would share them with you.
Everyday Akron has a reputation for being uber-positive and happy go lucky. And I’m okay with that. With all the negativity happening across social media platforms and the world, we need something to smile about. We need to uplift others. We need to support our local businesses and organizations.
However, that doesn’t mean that we need to completely ignore the injustices that are happening in our community and beyond. I do not expect weekly hosts to make statements on any social issues. They select their hosting week months in advance, and have no idea what will happen between then and when they log in.
Yet please know that I will fight for the equality of women, people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, and anyone else whose rights are being threatened. And I will reflect that through Everyday Akron when possible.
I encourage you all to speak up—in person and online—and to stand behind those striving to make a difference. Do not only fight for your rights, but also for the rights of others. Advocate for yourself and your community. We need to combat apathy with action.
I personally get very overwhelmed and depressed when the hits keep coming, whether they directly affect me or not. Everyone in Akron is a neighbor to me, and I want to see us all succeed. Yet that means some of us need more help than others right now. So what can I do? What can we do?
Sometimes it feels like we have to reinvent our entire lives to do good in the world. However, taking one more minute to think through a decision can impact a neighbor, a local business owner, a family, etc. And, taking the time to help those already doing the work will help amplify their efforts.
Alright, enough waxing poetic. Here are the resources I promised. They certainly don’t include every possible resource or organization within each topic, and the list doesn’t even include all of the social justice issues we should focus on. Use this post as a starting point.
If you’re looking for something specific and cannot find it through internet searches, please reach out to me directly via email. I’ll help sleuth it out.
Justice for Jayland Walker
As more details roll out about the devastating murder of Jayland Walker at the hands of Akron Police, no one can deny the use of excessive force by APD. As our community mourns and comes together to fight for justice, here are some resources and organizations to keep an eye on and get involved with. Established organizations know what our city needs to heal and grow—so look to them first over outside voices.
- Follow the Freedom BLOC on Instagram for the updates and action items, including when protests are happening.
- Follow Akron NAACP on Instagram for more information and ways to support Jayland’s family and the community.
- Donate to the family of Jayland Walker through a fundraiser by Stow Collaboration for Change and Akron NAACP.
- Akron Beacon Journal has been reporting objective news about the incident. Now that the story has broken nationally, be sure to double check your sources for accurate information.
- The second slide in Destinee Stark’s post encourages us to “be mindful in sharing and discussing the body cam footage of #JaylandWalker’s death.” (click the right arrow below to slide to the next image)
Support Abortion & Reproductive Rights in Ohio
Abortion is health care. Full stop.
If you don’t agree, take the time to learn. It’s difficult and uncomfortable to talk about reproductive health in our society. Yet that causes us to hide in fear and the faux bliss of ignorance. Recent and future legal decisions will affect all of us or someone we know and love sooner or later.
- Learn the difference between real vs. fake abortion clinics.
- Planned Parenthood is often the target of anti-abortion attacks, however they offer a wide range of important health services for everyone. I personally know that Planned Parenthood’s Akron Health Center is very supportive and non-judgmental (unlike my former family physician/PCP office that was run by a religious-based org).
- Donate to or learn more about Women Have Options, Ohio’s statewide abortion fund.
- Donate directly to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which “remove[s] financial and logistical barriers to abortion access”.
Support LBGTQIA+ Rights in Ohio
The LGBTQIA+ community’s rights are also in flux. Even if you don’t identify with them, you can’t ignore our fellow community members and their right to live happy and fulfilled lives.
- The Akron Pride Festival is on August 27, 2022 — attend, volunteer, donate, get involved.
- Support CANAPI, a local organization that provides education, awareness and outreach to our HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ community.
- Support the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Center.
- Find more resources for the LGBTQIA+ community and allies on CANAPI’s website and from Summa Health.
Contact the People Who Serve Us
From local government all the way up to national government, we need our voices to be heard. Get in touch with those we’ve elected to office.
- Meet your Akron City Council members, watch meetings online, view council minutes, and more.
- Read news from The City of Akron, get contact info for various departments, and more.
- Find your federal reps and senators on Congress.gov’s Members of the U.S. Congress page.
- Double check your voter registration or sign up to vote.
- July 5, 2022 is the deadline for the August 2, 2022 Special Election
- October 11, 2022 is the deadline for the November 8, 2022 General Election.
Self-Care & Daily Wellness
Across social media, the concept of self-care has become bubble baths and cozy candles. If this is all it takes for you to re-energize yourself, more power to you.
However, many of us mostly likely need a combination of fresh air, movement, mindfulness, nutritious foods, water, and therapy. (The list is probably longer, but you get where I’m going.)
Here are some ideas to take care of yourself while taking care of others.
- Akron-Summit County Public Library hosts free events, ranging from exercise and wellness to arts and crafts. Get moving or learn something new!
- Visit one of the Summit Metro Parks or head up to Cuyahoga Falls National Park for some fresh air and to give your eyes a break from your phone.
- Look around your neighborhood for yoga classes, fitness gyms, weightlifting trainers, running clubs and more. You’ll reconnect with yourself while meeting others in the community.
- Speaking of moving, Downtown Akron Partnership hosts free outdoor classes, ranging from line dancing to yoga, along with fun events like rollerskating parties.
- Enjoy summer with family-friendly ideas curated from the Everyday Akron community.
- Drink some water. Stay hydrated. Set a reminder to refill your water bottle. Drink. Some. Water. (Please and thank you!)
- Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. This is your reminder to schedule that appointment you keep putting off with a counselor or therapist. (Yes, I’m mostly talking to myself, but let’s all nudge each other to do it.)
This list is in no way extensive, and you know your own personal needs best. Just don’t forget to focus on them every now and then. And hey — go drink some water.
Community Members Getting Sh*t Done
If you live in Akron, you probably follow a few people on social media who are in tune with the community and getting shit done. Whether that’s sharing information, volunteering with non-profits, attending protests, and more, fellow residents are showing us what we can all do.
I encourage you to lift them up and seek out more great citizens. Then, become one yourself. It takes ALL of us to make this city a better place to live in. If you’re overwhelmed, start small. Go back through this list, and dive into one issue or even one item from a list. Don’t just feel frustrated and roll your eyes. Roll up your sleeves too.
When all else fails, listen to some Beyoncé (or whoever your equivalent is). Grab a sweet treat from Sweet Mary’s Bakery. And drink some water!