On Inauguration Day, Dallas resident Jon Mertz hopes people can set aside their political differences and remember what’s really important — being good stewards of our communities.
Mertz and his friend, Susanne Harrington of Austin, are leading nonpartisan efforts to transform Jan. 20 into a day Americans give back to their communities.
The One20 initiative began as a plea Harrington made to her Facebook friends shortly after Election Day. She wanted to infuse positivity into the world after a divisive presidential election.
“We’ve got to show our kids a better way forward.”
“I don’t care who you voted for,” Harrington told the Chicago Tribune recently. “I care that we share a common space that we all inhabit. And if we don’t improve that, we’re all going to fail. We’ve got to show our kids a better way forward.”
She believed one way to restore civility would be to encourage service on Inauguration Day.
After learning about the idea, Mertz decided to pitch in to see how far they could spread the good works.
Whether it’s volunteering at a dental clinic, donating items to a homeless shelter, or performing random acts of kindness, people from Denver to Chicago have planned to participate Friday.
Given the grassroots nature of the initiative, it’s hard to determine exactly how many people will get involved, but Mertz said he knows of at least 10 projects across the country.
“It’s really just getting small groups together in their communities to try and show our better side by doing good work,” Mertz said.
In Dallas, a donation drive will benefit the nonprofit, CitySquare, which focuses on alleviating poverty and homelessness. Mertz said Social Venture Partners and The Grove, Dallas Coworking have helped him coordinate efforts.
Items such as new socks, hats, underwear, gloves, hand warmers, mini packages of facial tissues, and ponchos can be dropped off at 10 sites across the city. Mertz said the donation boxes are already in place.
“It’s really just getting small groups together in their communities to try and show our better side by doing good work.”
There are no official plans to take the One20 initiative past Inauguration Day, but Mertz said they’re talking about the possibilities. Personally, he’d like to see more time dedicated to service allowing people to interact with others in their communities.
“I think when we make those connections where we live, hopefully, we’ll have more compassion, more empathy, and have more open minds about all the changes that are happening within our communities and how we can help,” Mertz said.
Here’s a list of Dallas sites participating in the One20 drive for CitySquare:
The Grove, Dallas Coworking, 501 Elm St., Suite 450
1001 Wine & Spirits, 1001 Ross Ave., Suite 100
The Iron Yard, 2030 Main St., Suite 420
WeWork Uptown, 1920 McKinney Ave.
Urban Hippie Chiropractic, 1323 W. Davis St.
CiboDivino, 1868 Sylvan Ave., D100
Rebel Riot Printing, 10224 E. Northwest Highway
Central Christian Church, 4711 Westside Drive
The Mix Coworking & Creative Space, 9125 Diceman Drive
Genius Den, 3106 Commerce St.
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