TBT welcome guest blogger Dr. Robert McGinnis, TBT Leadership Team member, professor, MBA, Ph.D, St. Leo University/St. Petersburg College
By Dr. Robert McGinnis
As we reflect on the tragedy of 9/11 19 years ago, we are reminded how connected all of humanity is. We are also reminded of the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
These immortal words are just as true and relevant today as they were during the Civil Rights Movement 70 years ago. Since that time, we have had many tragedies and challenges. They all have one thing in common: they bring out the best in us. The “Beloved Community” always picks up the gauntlet and rises to challenge. During the pandemic of 2020 we are once again reminded how interdependent we are on so many: teachers, store clerks, first responders, students, caretakers, doctors, nurses, waste disposal workers. So many risking their lives on a daily basis to keep the “Beloved Community” alive.
“Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls, as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us.
We are blessed to have many heroic individuals and organizations in the Tampa Bay area. one of which is the Tampa Bay Time Bank.
Many of us have shared Dr. King’s “Dream,” including Dr. Edgar S. Cahn. In 1995, Edgar Cahn founded the Time Dollar Institute—now known as TimeBanks USA—to promote timebanking in the U.S. and around the world. Passionate about social justice, Edgar saw timebanking as a way to restore community and to recognize and reward civic engagement. In the decades that followed, he became its strong, persistent champion, promoting timebanking as a tool for creating a more just, more caring world. Today organized timebanking takes place in more than 30 countries—including China, Russia, and various countries in Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. In the United States, there are about 500 registered time banks, and together they have enrolled more than 37,000 members. ( Stanford Social Innovation Review, SSIR.org)
Universally, there are five core values underlying timebanking:
- Assets – We are all assets. We all have something to give.
- Redefining Work – Some work is beyond price. Work has to be redefined. Creating “the village” that raises healthy children, builds strong families, revitalizes neighborhoods, makes democracy work, advances social justice, and even makes the planet sustainable is valuable work and needs to be rewarded.
- Reciprocity – Helping works better as a two-way street. The question: “How can I help you?” needs to changed so we ask: “How can we help each other build the world we all will live in?”
- Social Networks – We need each other. People joined in shared purpose are stronger than individuals. Helping each other, we reweave communities of support, strength & trust. Community is built upon establishing roots, building trust, and creating networks. Special relationships are built on commitment.
- Respect – Every human being matters. Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured. We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point. (timebanks.org)
Tampa Bay Time Bank is an integral part of the “Beloved Community” and has been actively engaged in Tampa Bay for more than 13 years. When the news of the pandemic peaked in mid-March, Delphine Geraci, a Bariatric RN and dozens of other timebankers pulled together as a community of workers and immediately started making face masks. They have distributed more 6,000 masks to individuals and communities in the Tampa Bay Area and beyond. Many are made from “PUL,” or what’s described as a “disposable, breathable, and waterproof fabric, specially treated so that it is not harmful to the skin, both in adults and babies.
My most current timebank project is working with two new member organizational members RAMWI and Radiant Hands, both of which provide support for Tampa Bay’s refuge population. Tampa Bay Time Bank members are scheduled to be tutors for elementary math at teh start of school.
As we reflect and remember those who lost their lives in the many tragedies in our country’s history, let us also be reminded of those whose heroic efforts continue to build and heal our “Beloved Communities.”. Thank someone, anyone, today for their contributions to the quality of life that we enjoy today.