#BeKind21: What’s next?

September 21, 2021

By Maya Smith

My text messages are buzzing as I’m trying to get through my to do list, with kind messages congratulating our team on a successful #BeKind21, wishing me a happy last day of the campaign, or, in the more personal ones, celebrating the day that my friend Gabriela ‘gets her Maya back’ and I can go back to sitting on the couch with my laptop closed for a full episode of reality television. I have the urge to respond to my loved ones to let them know #BeKind21 isn’t over, we still need your kindness, and I personally still need to witness your kind acts unfold in the world because they bring me hope and serve as my anchors in this uncertain world.

Over the past 21 days, together, we’ve catalyzed more than 143,000,000 pledged acts of kindness. I had the opportunity to contribute to those 143 million acts of kindness by picking up trash day on my walk to school with my kids, our co-founder Cynthia bought coffee for folks at her neighborhood cafe, our co-founder Lady Gaga donated to three organizations who are helping to welcome and support refugees from Afghanistan, our program director Alex helped carry boxes of donations for the Precious Dreams Foundation and Hopeloft, our digital director Mitu got to celebrate Mayor Bowser’s Be Kind Day proclamation in Washington, D.C., our program associate and #BeKind21 boss Taylor stood in awe (and us, in gratitude) of the kindness that their hard work brought to the world this year, and our whole team collectively reminded Josh of how much we love him as he said goodbye to a family member.

A million times over, these small acts of kindness added up. The person that you held the door for, the new student in your class whom you gave a welcome note, the educator who felt the gratitude you shared with them, the coworker you sent a kind compliment to, every time you modeled respect and affirmation by introducing yourself with your pronouns and inviting someone to share theirs. You have been actively building a kinder, braver world and I implore each of us to keep going.

Our team at Born This Way Foundation will rest for a couple of days at the end of this week and while we do, we want to learn from you. What happens now? What happens when we exceed even the wildest goals for this global kindness movement? How do we continue to encourage, invite, and acknowledge each other in the big and small ways we show up for each other every day? This is what I am going to ask myself, and then I’m going to ask our team and while they’re thinking about it, I’d love to ask you – our community – the people for whom and with whom we do this work. What do you need next from kindness, in kindness, and with kindness?

Let us know online using #BeKind21 or send us a note at info@bornthisway.foundation.