Let’s face reality. The other, the stranger, the not-of-my-kind are real people, not abstractions. Each has a story — a personal story of a real life, filled the with the kinds of hopes and dreams most of us share in wanting to be accepted, and allowed to live in peace and pursue a purposeful life.
|A wall plaque at Habitat for Humanity’s Atlanta, GA headquarters quoting Clarence Jordan|
The challenge is to move us from uncaring indifference, or gratuitous caring with no commitment, to making a genuinely positive difference, large or small, however we are able. We must move from ignoring today’s reality to facing it head-on. We must take a stand, and turn ignorance into awareness and action.
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel fought relentlessly against the force of indifference. It’s dangerous. It’s deadly. In his December 10, 1986, Nobel Prize acceptance speech Wiesel said,
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”
Don Shaw, Jr.
* This post is adapted from one of my previous posts.
Main Photo: A sign at a march on the Connecticut state capitol, March 24, 2018