Funneling Emotions into Productive Action through Volunteering
July 23, 2020
Suzanne Anderson has been a dedicated volunteer (now team captain) at our distribution center. In this blog post, she talks about why she was called to volunteer and her experience funneling the mix of emotions she’s had after the murder of George Floyd into meaningful action through this opportunity. Read her story below.
As a suburban white woman who grew up in south Minneapolis, my journey to understand racism began over 40 years ago. Yet, I understand now more than ever how much I have yet to learn, especially about my white privilege. My family’s roots in Minneapolis go back over 130 years. And with much of my family and friends still living in my hometown, my heart will always be in Minneapolis.
Offering My Head, Hands and Heart
When my friend sent me a link to YWCA’s response to Mr. Floyd’s murder, I knew I had to volunteer. With four years and over a thousand hours of volunteering experience at a food shelf, I wanted to offer my head, hands and heart. When I emailed this desire to YWCA’s volunteer coordinator, Nina, she responded within five minutes. After volunteering there for the last several weeks, I now have the honor of serving in the role of team captain.
Funneling My Feelings into Action
My volunteer experience at the YWCA Minneapolis distribution center has provided me a place to funnel the incredible mix of feelings I am having at this time into productive action. For that, I will always be thankful. It has deepened my humility — watching the resilience, courage, pain and determination of the Midtown community as it forges a better future together. I am especially inspired by our recipients. It is an honor to serve them at this time. Along with the undeniable oppression that recent events have brought into sharp focus, my faith in humanity is renewed by both the giving and the receiving happening through this work.
“Along with the undeniable oppression that recent events have brought into sharp focus, my faith in humanity is renewed by both the giving and the receiving happening through this work.”
The Work of Rooting Out Embedded Bias
For me, it is also my priority to continually persist in doing more to root out the poisonous smog of embedded bias within myself, my community and my institutions. As I have heard from several voices both locally and on various media platforms nationally, I have finally been able to shift from feeling there is not much I can do to understanding there is much I MUST do toward this end.
“…I have finally been able to shift from feeling there is not much I can do to understanding there is much I MUST do toward this end.”
Because the mission of YWCA includes working to eliminate racism, it is uniquely poised to offer healing and hope for the mind, body and spirit of this community. I have no doubt this work is rippling out to the entire world.