Revolution May Day – Citizenry – Getting Involved in Your Local Government to Help Your Community
Rethink May Day by making it an occasion for civic engagement.
Finally!! Spring has finally arrived, the April showers have enabled the May flowers to bloom. I just love the colorful display of hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and forsythia. There is more spring in my step (pun accidental) and I wonder what I am going to do with all of this newfound energy that has replaced the winter lethargy. Like a bear awakened and exiting its den, I feel like stretching out of the mundane and leaving hibernation with the whole warm world to explore.
Humans have always felt like rejoicing after a long, hard winter. One ancient tradition of springtime celebration in certain parts of the world, especially in Britain, Europe, and in areas of North America, is May Day. I am fascinated by the realization that the custom varies geographically though the meaning celebrates love, life, newness, warmth, and comfort. For instance, in Rhineland during the night before May 1st, unmarried young men erect trees as maypoles in front of the houses of their sweethearts. They are often decorated with paper streamers and a heart with a girl’s name written on it. Other areas exhibit an event that is more of a cooperation of community with the raising of the maypole, dancing while intertwining ribbons around it and singing special songs. The influence of nature is felt with much jubilation both around the maypole and after the sunrise ritual continuing the festivities at local pubs and private homes.
“Deprived of root, and branch, and rind, Yet flowers I bear of every kind: And such is my prolific power, They bloom in less than half an hour …”
Perhaps it is time to enhance and modernize the meaning of May Day. Dispense with the maypole, the merriment, the frivolity of it all. Imagine that this year is the start of Revolution May Day. Rather than erect a giant tree and dance around it as a token to our community spirit, it is time to rethink how we can use our positive energy and passion for building our communities.
When we embrace the citizenry of our home town, the place where we live, whether city or rural, we step up. We need to up our game as proud citizens. We need to contribute to make our community the best that it can be. There are so many opportunities to make a difference. With the strength of solidarity, we can connect to other likeminded individuals and participate, advocate, and organize to make the changes we wish to see in our own neighborhood. The key is to get involved, and local government is a good place to start. We can donate our time, our resources, our expertise, and our voices.
Not sure where to start—ask Siri! When you ask who your elected officials are, Siri has the answer. You will know who to contact to advocate for municipal change—as simple as a sign that’s needed at a dangerous intersection or the repair of a hazardous pothole. Your voice is important. Complaining about a problem on social media changes nothing, but taking action in writing to a person who could do something can. Writing logically and with respect as well as holding that person accountable by asking for a reply increases the chances of success.
Keep your finger on the pulse of your community by checking out your area’s website and reading the local newspaper. Attend any community meetings that interest you and join the political party whose platform appeals to your sense of what is right and provides you with inspiration for a better future. Do what you can to shed light on injustices and peacefully advocate for better awareness on issues that are important to yourself and your peers. You have a voice and can speak to those issues close to your heart that inspire you to do more. You don’t have to do anything alone, just research organizations that are already involved and support them.
If you want to have a say on what matters to you, apply to get involved in public consultations. Members of the public are needed to serve on a broad range of boards, committees, and tribunals. Your experience and skills will make a difference in your community. Your input can relate to everything from accessibility, public safety, historic property designations, the loss of affordable rental residences and much more. When you take the opportunity to provide feedback, positive outcomes are possible.
Whether your interests are the homeless, recreational, seniors, youth, the environment, special events, or tourism, you can make a difference. Volunteer your time, donate your resources, and support local businesses, sports teams and events. Get involved with city-led community initiatives! Your collaboration in helping to create a warm, welcoming prosperous community is invaluable. Being involved is a win-win for both your community and you. The enormous benefits of volunteering include reducing stress, combating depression, stimulating your brain and creating a sense of purpose in your life.
Coined by the poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy in his 1874 poem ‘Ode,’ "mover and shaker" is a term used to describe powerful individuals who accomplish great things, initiate events, and influence people. May you discover that you are one of our world’s movers and shakers and perhaps even run for office yourself!
The Celebrant Foundation & Institute (CF&I) is the nation’s preeminent online educational institute that teaches and certifies people as modern day ritual and ceremony professionals called Life-Cycle Celebrants®. Founded in 2001, the educational nonprofit organization headquartered in Montclair, NJ, is a member of the International Federation of Celebrants. To date, the CF&I has graduated nearly 900 Life-Cycle Celebrants® who preside over 20,000 ceremonies each year throughout North America, Asia and Europe. To learn more about the CF&I, visit www.celebrantinstitute.org.
Watch January 2017's Weddings with Zita (Zita Christian) with featured guest Elisa Chase, CF&I Academic Manager, discussing Ceremony, Rituals and the Celebrant Foundation & Institute.