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Why Community is Crucial to Survival in a Broken System

Most Americans live within dysfunctional and broken systems. The education system? Broken. The justice system? Broken. The healthcare system? Broken. This applies to most sectors that are being controlled by bureaucratic or capitalist bodies that selfishly take away from the people who need it the most. If the record-breaking voter turnout last 2020 teaches us anything, it's that people are recognizing that we need to take over the narrative if we want to fix everything that is broken. A broken system is full of chaos. It doesn’t offer the stability and security that people need in their life to survive. Every day might feel like a never-ending cycle of suffering and uncertainty. Race, socioeconomic disparities, and a few other factors contribute to this fractured system. Change starts with us – this is what most people say. And we agree, but it also takes a whole community to foster this change and take action to make it come true. Shouldering this burden alone can easily suck us into a perpetual cycle of thinking we didn’t do enough because we didn’t meet everyone’s expectations. In every broken system, however, there is a silver lining. In your community, there are groups of people who will join you in asking for and effecting change. They will also guide you and provide you with the knowledge that you need for this endeavor. From community leaders, neighborhood organizers, social workers, and even healthcare practitioners, there is a range of community members concerned about fixing broken systems. Leading the charge are case managers and social service workers who often serve on the frontline for individuals, families, and communities in need. They provide a direct link between individuals from broken systems to services from health clinics, hospitals, community centers, government institutions, nonprofits, and schools, to name a few. Moreover, they protect the vulnerable and give them the assistance they need. Likewise, the healthcare workers who we have always known are present in the community have been celebrated on the world stage due to the pandemic. In broken systems, health concerns are very insidious problems. For one, they can lead to abuse, suffering, and addiction, which, in turn, can harm the community at large. This further destroys systems that are already broken. But even taking the pandemic out of the equation, healthcare workers work hard to improve the health and quality of life of community members. They often have to go beyond their medical duties and collaborate with other organizations and people to solve other issues such as racial discrimination and food security for marginalized groups. Aside from these frontline workers, there are various organizations that also provide the community with the support they need. In a broken system, these organizations work hard to alleviate the pain and stress on individuals. Organizations such as Neighborhood House and FamilyWorks address the needs of low-income community members with a focus on uplifting families while organizations like Camp Ten Trees and Girls on the run promote equality for LGBTQ+ youth and girls. Similarly, the Hold Your Crown project is for the youth with a specific focus on mental health and breaking the stigma surrounding that discourse. In addition, there are even more organizations out there that do their best to provide for the sectors they have pledged their support to. Whether it be a cause for children, women, or men, they stand by their beliefs to help them. Although the life you have right now might not be the one you envisioned for yourself, you have to remember that there are people around you who can and will reach out to support you. The community you are in could be harmful, but there are always pockets of people who won’t hesitate to help. In addition, your community will help you rise above the broken system you find yourself in.

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by Penelope Marie Godwin


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