Resilience – a word that has gained popularity in the last couple of months as we face the current global pandemic. It may seem that more communities, organizations and businesses are thinking about resilience and what this means. Each day we question, how can we build resilience as an individual and in our communities.
As part of our long-term goals, the FRC works towards creating partnerships and sharing experiences to build capacity in other communities responding to similar situations like August 3rd. We recognize the importance of setting the standards now to prepare for possible future adversities.
In this episode, we have an honest conversation with Ryan Logan, Director for Recovery Services at the American Red Cross. We discuss lessons learned from our border region and how we can find healing by providing support and guidance to other communities.
As I came into my role at the FRC, I asked myself the meaning of resilience. It may sound silly, but I even questioned if I truly understood what being resilient meant. “Am I resilient?” I used to interrogate myself and ask: “How do I know if I’m resilient? And if I’m not, how does one build resiliency? How can our environment impact our resiliency?”
All these questions and many more wandered in my head as I went through my early days as an Outreach Coordinator for the FRC. This same questioning gave birth to United & Resilient.
Now, as we bring the tenth episode of United & Resilient to our audience, I’ve learned that resilience can have a different meaning to each individual. I’ve also learned that resiliency is not measured by strength, determination or commitment to overcome. Rather it’s the ability to take one step at a time while carrying a bag full of adversities. Resiliency can be grief and love for one’s community. Resiliency can be a long and wearing walk, yet it’s never a lonely road, it’s a communal path.
Since August 3rd, I’ve seen my borderland community build resiliency. It’s a daily decision to do better, to be better for our families and loved ones. According to Ryan, resilience can be the ability to continue to move forward, thrive and grow, even though there are hurdles along the way.
After much questioning, I’ve come to the realization that resilience is movement and ever growing.
Due to his role at the American Red Cross, Ryan, has experienced similar situations like August 3rd in different cities and communities. For example, Parkland and Orlando. Yet, he was quite impressed with our response to August 3rd.
As we said before, even though our hearts were heavy that day, we stood up, we showed up and lit up the city with our sense of unity and acceptance.
During our conversation, I asked Ryan what were some of the highlights in our response to August 3rd and how can those provide a framework to other communities.
First, our local leaders were already thinking of resiliency efforts before August 3rd. Meaning, we had a Resiliency Officer who was working in establishing standards if any adversity arose. Of course, nothing truly prepares you for these types of tragedies, but the fact that we were already thinking of a response strategy had us a few steps ahead.
Another lesson learned from our community’s response to August 3rd was the sense of selflessness and genuine care for each other. Ryan was surprised by how our border came together. August 3rd really showed the nation that we truly are sister cities. Both sides of the border responded and as always, we were one.
Finally, Ryan was impressed with our local leadership. As he worked closely with various leaders from different community organizations, including our United Way of El Paso County, he realized that our leaders were responding with true compassion. “We see the best of humanity when tragedy arises,” said Ryan.
CALL TO ACTION
During our conversation, I shared with Ryan that when tragedy arises, I quickly want to help in any way, shape or form. From past episodes we’ve learned that everyone responds to tragedy in different ways—I find healing when my hands are in good use. And since August 3rd, I’ve learned that our community is full of helping hands.
I asked Ryan, what are some things we can do as community members to help our community build resiliency. How can we set standards and frameworks from where we are?
Ryan encourages our community members to be engaged in any organization that most connects with the issues that matter to them. This will allow individuals to potentially have a seat at the table when decisions are being made. There’s healing in community engagement.
I truly enjoyed my conversation with Ryan and for now the FRC will continue to seek partnerships and share experiences that can provide guidance to other communities.
If you’d like to learn more about community resiliency, lessons learned from our response and action items, please tune in to this month’s episode.