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Kindness can be antidote to tragic violence

Random acts of violence evoke emotions of despair, frustration, sadness and anger, and the ever-present question “How could this happen?”

In the wake of the recent tragedies in Albuquerque, and around our country, “What can I do to help or what small changes can I make to ensure that this doesn’t happen again?” seems to be the recurring question in our lives.

The answer is simple: Be kind.

While it’s heartwarming and inspiring to see our community and businesses step up in support of Lilly Garcia and officer Daniel Webster, I would challenge us to keep this support and assistance going – even when these tragedies aren’t in the forefront of our minds.

I challenge us as a community to continue to support and assist each other by, as Maya Angelou said, “being the rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”

One random act of kindness can be that rainbow.

Kindness is a powerful opportunity to change ourselves and the lives of others. It is a proactive way to be courteous and encourage safety while helping others and not feel so helpless when an act of violence happens.

Choosing to do small random acts of kindness in our daily lives within our own circle will multiply within the community, throughout Albuquerque, and the country, thus providing a safer place to live and work!

Being kind to each other isn’t difficult or profound and doesn’t take much extra time or money, and if we are always aware of our surroundings we will notice ways to assist others every day.

Some of the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest difference. Helping a neighbor with their groceries or a dead battery, opening the door for someone, or offering a kind word of encouragement can make the difference between a bad day and a good day.

And, if you want to do more, contribute a few dollars to your favorite charity, donate extra food or clothes for people in need, or volunteer your time to a nonprofit that could use your help.

Because of the recent tragic events, the University of New Mexico BeKind team – which is dedicated to doing random acts of kindness not only during National Random Acts of Kindness Week, but throughout the year – wanted to step up and do its part to help prevent road rage and other acts of violence by providing a small reminder to be kind and courteous always, especially while driving.

Car magnets and stickers that read, “Be Kind. Be Courteous. Get home safe,” have been ordered and will be available for free when they become available. There are also images available at BeKind UNM if you would like a full-size (8.5 x 11) or half-size (4.25 x 5.5) copy of the sign to display in your car or anywhere you see fit; feel free to download it from BeKind UNM online.

The UNM BeKind initiative is devoted to encouraging random acts of kindness.

Annually, in February, the Division of Student Affairs spearheads the celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week on the UNM campus, however kindness is encouraged each and every day!

Promote kindness, courtesy, respect and safety with random acts of kindness every day!

Kim Kloeppel is UNM Student Affairs Chief Operations Officer.

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