Speaking up and speaking out — feeling emboldened to seize one’s role in shaping society — is quintessential American behavior.
Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration and signing of a flurry of executive orders, we have seen pronounced reactions from politicians and average citizens alike. While these public demonstrations and statements have had some impact on what’s happening in our nation’s Capitol, they also seem to be spurring even more civic engagement. It is a snowball effect that is happening in big and small cities alike.
I’ve noticed that citizens of Columbus are also hosting a handful of upcoming local events created to engage, inform and support community members.
On Feb. 20 (Presidents’ Day) at 7:00 p.m., there will be a public reading of the Constitution of the United States at Nonic Bar & Kitchen on Broadway in downtown Columbus. This event relies on volunteers from the community to read portions of the foundational document, and seeks to present aloud to the public these truly formative words that affect our daily lives as Americans. For those of us that do not work in fields that directly involve the Constitution, this may be a unique opportunity to hear and reflect on the document in its entirety. It should be noted, though, that the organizers of this reading welcome a “drop in” approach. If you feel moved to read a portion of the Constitution for this event, know that all are welcome to participate and should reference the Facebook event page to give your name and information.
Another event that deserves your attention is NamaSLAY to Benefit Hope Harbour, which takes place Friday at 6 p.m. This event is being held by River Flow Yoga and Wellness in North Columbus and features a fun-filled yoga class sound tracked entirely by Beyoncé’s music. Yes… you heard that right — an all-Beyoncé yoga class. If you’re a Beyoncé fan and have never done yoga, that should be enough to get you in the door. No worries if you are nervous about how much your body can handle; this class is meant for all levels of skill. Best of all, donations and proceeds benefit Hope Harbour, a local group that provides emergency shelter, security, crisis intervention and advocacy for adults and children who are victims of domestic violence.
It doesn’t surprise me that events like this are populating our calendar. Columbus has never been a city to sit back and stay quiet. We understand the importance of community engagement in making our city a place where many voices, interests and passions have room to exist.
I simply highlight these events as a reminder that there is room for your voice right outside your front door. Whether you have something overtly political to communicate to your neighbor or whether you just want some help cleaning up the park down the street, don’t be afraid to speak up. As divided as we may seem as a nation, there is something here that unites us all: hope for our thriving Fountain City to continue to flourish.
Natalia Naman Temesgen is an independent contractor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.