It’s disturbing that 21 year old Dylann Roof believed that he should allegedly enter a church in South Carolina and shoot dead 9 innocent people because of the colour of their skin, and his beliefs and prejudices about their community. President Obama talks about the tragedies that many communities in the USA have endured and there will no doubt be new calls to look again at the country’s gun laws to build safer communities.
Further legislation will attempt to make communities safer, and work will continue to help people feel more integrated and more tolerant. This is important because the actions people take are shaped by their behaviour. Behaviour is shaped by attitude. Attitude is shaped by Feelings. Feelings are shaped by what people Believe. Enforcement will hold people to account for their actions, but shaping people’s beliefs about each other is what will hep build better communities.
Volunteering breaks down barriers, enhances tolerance and gives people a better understanding of issues affecting their local community. People are comfortable with people like themselves. Some of the best volunteering activities I have experienced brings different communities together, working towards a collective aim, and gives people a chance to change their preconceived beliefs. Let’s do more of it.