Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
Mead’s quote is one of my all-time favorites because it clearly illustrates my belief that everyone can make a difference in the world if they are truly committed and have well-meaning intentions.
History proves this theory as well, especially in the United States. Just look at the American Revolution, the Abolitionist movement, the Suffrage movement, the Civil Rights movement, and so on. Each one began with a small group of like-minded individuals seeking a way to make a change and in the process changed the world.
Of course, not everyone looking to make a difference is going to change the world on such a grand scale as the Civil Rights movement. Sometimes, the difference we can make is in our own small part of the world – making life better for those in our neighborhood, school, church, or community.
Tuesday night at the meeting of the Winona Mayor and Board of Aldermen, Winona resident Fred Fullilove informed the board that he decided to do something about litter in the city. He has hired a small crew of people, who he plans to pay out of his pocket, to clean up various locations around town that he feels needs attention.
“I don’t want anything from the city,” Fullilove said. “I’m going to take care of these guys myself. It is kind of like giving back to the city.”
Fullilove said he will launch his Community Clean Up project on September 20 at the corner of Applegate and Summit Streets. From there, he plans to visit one to four locations a week that need attention.
He and his crew will pick up litter, spray weeds growing through the concrete, and haul off all trash from the sites.
Fullilove is a great example of how someone can make a big change in a thoughtful and dedicated manner.
Like those who pressed to clean up the community in the My Winona campaign, spearheaded by Dr. Louie Harrison, last year, the image of the city can be changed simply by picking up rubbish and eliminating weeds and other debris from city streets, sidewalks, and common areas.
I am inspired by those who are always working to make a difference in their community.
My friend Calbrina Woods has worked tirelessly for years through her non-profit Blessings for All Empowered by Faith to help underprivileged children have school supplies, presents under the Christmas tree, and healthy meals during the summer months. She also has done so much to assist our local military service men and women, organized fun community events like the Harvest Festival, Easter egg hunts, and movie nights on the courthouse lawn to build comradery in the community.
I can’t say enough about her commitment, enthusiasm, and her creative approach to making a difference. Calbrina is not just an inspiration to me but to so many people in our community, and she will probably be embarrassed that I brought attention to her good deeds, as so many who give back so much do not want recognition for their efforts.
Look at Brother Johnnie Walker and those who dreamed of constructing a Christ’s Cross at the intersection of Highway 82 and Interstate 55. They worked for years, but at last, God paved the way for the cross to be constructed. From that cross, several more like it have been erected across Mississippi. I’ve come across a number of crosses like Christ’s Cross in Batesville, at Highway 82 and Natchez Trace, and on Highway 49 south of Jackson.
Everyone can make a difference even in the smallest of ways if they make the effort. Maybe we all can’t construct a 90-foot cross or plan a citywide special event or campaign, but everyone can share a smile, pass a kind word, lend a hand, say a prayer, or lend a listening ear to someone. Your small deed can take flight, and like the ripples upon water, reach even further than you can imagine.