Have you ever been in the company of a person who is a fierce warrior and at the same time a peacemaker? Imagine a group of people acting as instruments of compassion and justice. I recently witnessed this in Montgomery, AL of all places.
“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert Kennedy
Yet, in 2014, thousands of people will put off going to the hospital because they don’t have a way to pay for medical treatment. They will die. There are states, like South Carolina, that have refused Federal dollars for Medicaid to help the poorest of the poor.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office: “The harsh punishments, especially expulsion under zero tolerance and referrals to law enforcement, show that students of color and students with disabilities are increasingly being pushed out of schools, oftentimes into the criminal justice system.”
In spite of the daily barrage of disheartening news, there is a light.
I’ve been a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama for many years. This past weekend I attended a legacy celebration for founder Morris Dees to commemorate the activism and impact the SPLC has had over the last 46 years. Lawyers like Morris Dees have dedicated their lives to fight hate and bigotry, to seek justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.
I met heroes of the highest order. These are people who receive death threats for what they do. They put their life on the line every single day so that injustice will be minimized.
The lawyers at the SPLC work around the clock to defend the impoverished, the bullied, and the bombed. They work for the day when the ideals of equality and equal opportunity will be a reality. I experienced hope, compassion, forgiveness, and concrete social activism that exists in a world that seems to be on end; teetering on the brink of extinction. A structure dying – all that we have known, believed, ignored, and built our lives on. America the beautiful, with freedom and justice for all.
In his book “The Hope – A guide to Sacred Activism” Andrew Harvey writes, “At the time of greatest danger as a human race, the most comprehensive and exalted vision of hope has arisen to give us the strength and joy we will need to not only go forward but also to endure what is necessary for our transformation and for the preservation of our planet.
That is the real reason why I started Into the Tangled Garden – because I believe that by doing inner work you become empowered and aware.
Empowerment and awareness naturally compel you to work to ease the pain and violence, we mindlessly inflict onto ourselves and others.
Here is my invitation.
There are people around us who are suffering in tangible ways – they have no food, no access to education. I’m looking for people who are willing to make a commitment to finding out who they are and what they need.
It only takes a few people to start a movement. Let’s activate the heart of our community. I really believe that in our hearts we all want to be of service, of help.
I would love to hear from you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s get together.
Let’s grow together.