So how do you do it? How do you look at pictures from Charlottesville, the ones that remind you of the black and white ones from a textbook’s chapter on the Jim Crow South knowing that they’re actually from yesterday, shot on iPhone and uploaded to Twitter?

It’s a reminder of all the darkness that exists in the world. The hatred we thought we graduated from, only to learn that it just lurked in the shadows. Some of us weren’t even lucky enough to have that illusion. Poverty makes people vulnerable to spiritual despair. Fear takes over people, seemingly more than ever. Racism never went away.

I’ve never really been good at being a spectator to this kind of thing. I’m one of those types who wants to find or build a solution. Fast. Sometimes that’s a good thing, other times it’s not. It’s important to be humble enough to know you can’t do it all, but hopeful enough to know you’ve got to do your part.

There are ways to stand against fear, hate, and poverty that don’t look like bold heroic actions, but small contributions to a better world. Going to work and giving each task my best is my part to play in fighting poverty. Cooking meals that remind me of past trips and dreaming up future ones is my way to show people the beauty of diversity and cultures. And in my house, sweet date nights and healthy conflicts disprove the myth of racism.

These are small things for sure. But the most lasting changes are the ones built by many people doing small things.

Philippe Lazaroideal, ideal1