Last week, I started a Facebook fundraiser for Everytown for Gun Safety in response to the Saugus High School shooting in Santa Clarita, CA. My niece, a student there, escaped to safety, but two other students were killed, and the shooter — a 16 year-old student — died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
I want to update you about the fundraiser, because something special is happening: people I don’t know are donating.
This is a surprise. I expected only my Facebook friends would donate. But names started popping up I didn’t recognize. I couldn’t believe it. I increased the fundraising goal four times, and each time, we hit it. We’re now closing in on my final goal of $3400. Considering the original goal was $850, this is a big deal.
These acts of generosity fill me with hope. But more — they reinforce the simple fact that we humans want to do good things and help each other.
The power of goodness and connection and altruism doesn’t get the coverage or the credit it deserves.
It’s easy to lose sight of that right now, or to dismiss it as wishful thinking. We’re living in a mercenary political culture and are constantly bombarded with stories of cruelty and division. It feels safer to withdraw into a bunker of cynicism. Daring to hope feels like throwing your heart into the middle of the freeway.
But that cuts us off from what’s also happening in the world: this. Total strangers donating to my fundraiser not because of their connection to me, but because of their connection to humanity. You can probably find evidence in your own life if you look.
Bad stuff and bad people seem to be ascendant right now. There’s no denying that we’re living through dark times. But that’s only part of the story. The power of goodness and connection and altruism doesn’t get the coverage or the credit it deserves. But it’s right here in front of us, and this is proof.
Photo by Leon Contreras