Washington, D.C. — Of course not. One woman’s efforts to challenge a systemic problem cannot fix a systemic problem. However, change almost always begins with one person, one person who has an idea.
I’ll be honest with you that I feel very uncomfortable writing this post. I’ve stopped, started, and deleted half a dozen times, and I still don’t really know what to say. It’s race we’re talking about, and I’m white. (Diagne, pictured, was the subject of the #HappinessIdea campaign; I’m Patricia writing this post, the founder of The Happiness Idea).
Rather than pontificate about something I have no business pontificating about, I’ll tell you this: in October 2018, a dozen strangers gathered around a dinner table. To prepare for the dinner party she’d been dreaming of hosting for many years, Diagne had spent a week in the kitchen. You can watch her in the video (above) cooking traditional Senegalese dishes. Diagne took a lot of pride in her cooking. She only entrusted me with the limes, which needed squeezing. (She also allowed me to be her taster, which I definitely excelled at.)
On the day of the dinner itself, Diagne and I were both nervous. I think she’d agree with me that tensions were high. Diagne’s lifelong dream was on the line. It felt like it was up to me to not let her down. Followers of The Happiness Idea had donated a lot to make this happen. Food was crowdsourced by followers in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, the U.K. and America. The venue where we hosted the dinner was donated by a generous stranger—
And this brings me to my point. Strangers, some of you reading this post, made Diagne’s dinner happen. Strangers — with no connection whatsoever to Diagne — collaborated and donated to achieve someone’s idea of how to make a bad situation better. At least one of the donors (whom I know personally) is politically conservative. Three of the donors were minorities; the remainder were white.
And so time and again, as I continue working with all of you to create pockets of sustainable happiness in the world, I am amazed. I’m amazed by how much we humans do genuinely care for one another. Given the current state of things on our planet, this is encouraging, isn’t it?
The Happiness Idea is a little team of people dedicated to creating lasting pockets of happiness in the world. We tell the stories; you crowdsource the solutions. Follow us on Facebook. And do follow along as we build our Instagram and Twitter profiles!