Kindness has always been something I’ve valued, but when I got released from prison, and I had the opportunity to rebuild myself, I realised that in a world where I could choose to be anything at all, why wouldn’t I want to be kind? As my friend says, kindness is pretty gangsta!
I started doing small random acts of kindness each week. I would leave a post-it note with a kind message on the bathroom mirror at Uni, send a card to a friend, buy cookies for the study centre, or I’d compliment a stranger. At first, my kids thought it was a little naff. My daughter used to get embarrassed by it and then one day she saw the difference a kind word made to someone, and so, Undercover Kindness was born.
Mabel is my ten-year-old daughter, and together we set up the Undercover Kindness campaign on Facebook. The page documents our efforts, in hope that it would encourage other people to choose kindness in their daily lives. Being kind really can change the world – smiling at a stranger, a pay it forward coffee; it all helps to make the world a nicer place.
Together, we have done all different acts of kindness, and Mabel is the driving force on social media with this joint project of ours. We have a strong focus on showing kindness to our mob, especially our sistas in remote communities. Mabel has coordinated the collection of quality, second-hand clothes to send to the Remote Op Shop project. We’ve sent countless happy boxes to our sistas in outback communities. Mabel has designed her ‘little packs of comfort’ for our mob sleeping rough, and recently she has written beautifully decorated letters to mob stuck in nursing homes without visitors due to COVID-19 isolation.
Mabel making our little kindness notes.
But, we also want people to know that not all acts of kindness involve spending money. We document other ways you can show kindness from saying thank you, to letting someone go ahead of you in a queue, or donating second-hand books, and picking up litter or holding the door open for someone.
And look, all of this may seem a little quaint, and I certainly don’t mean to fetishise kindness into some imagined utopia that’s out of touch with reality. Still, it’s something Mabes and I do together, and we love being creative about all the ways we can show love and care to others.
We welcome people to join our campaign; our war on dreariness and negativity. Or even those who stop by just to be uplifted, either way, we hope this inspires people to consider their fellow humans and spend some time each week being kind, because if it changes the world for one person, surely that makes it all worthwhile!
To learn more about Tabitha and Mabel’s Undercover Kindness Campaign check out their Facebook page.
When was the last time you demonstrated an act of kindness?
Tabitha Lean is a Gunditjmara woman living on Kaurna country. As a First Nations woman Tabitha is blessed to have her mother’s stories and the blood of all the women before her coursing through her veins. Tabitha says, “It is in their honour, that I centre their unique knowledge, voices and stories in all my work. I am a formerly incarcerated woman and now a lived experience abolitionist.”