By Dillon Turman
Community -- what does it mean to you? For most, it means coming together. By definition, it means a feeling of fellowship with others due to sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
What is the purpose of community on a state level or perhaps even a national level? In my opinion, the purpose of community is awareness--regardless of your location.
Though a community’s capacity of awareness may be restricted and/or hindered because of its size, it is always important for the members to remain constantly on edge with the knowledge they are willing to ingest. For example, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is a very small community.
A member of this particular community, may ask, “When was the last time I saw, participated in or maybe even initiated a community meeting or peaceable protest regarding a cause?” For the majority, the answer would be “Eh…once upon a time”. Travel to our Nation’s capital D.C. and you will see that protests happen all the time in light of national events.
The most recent of national events has been the rights of LGBTQ people. From the glacial-paced strike down of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to LGBTQ youth homelessness, these issues have the absolute potential to affect every community throughout the world. Though it has taken the LGBTQ people many, many years to get where they are in terms of retroactive awareness, it all began with one word—community.
Additionally, community has the power to impact change because it does not start with one voice; it starts with many voices. Regardless of your preferences, orientation, gender or age, the ability to make change does not discriminate. Your one instance of pro-activity can result in a lifetime of someone else’s happiness.
To end with a personal challenge, I ask that you spread awareness about something that you love or have a passion for today. Go out, shout it from the rooftops, meet someone new or simply visit a monthly town hall meeting. Community starts with you!