Monday, September 5, 2005

Be The Change You Want to See in the World

I was still reeling from the news of the hundreds who were trammelled or drowned during a religious pilgrimage in Iraq when slowly the awareness of the scope of the tragedy down south began to form. On Friday night, I wrote this:

Yes—it’s a risk, opening your door to strangers. Big, if not huge; maybe even many-- but life is risk. These people (not from Kosovo, nor Rwanda, not in Sri Lanka—but in Louisiana, Mississippi, the good ole U. S. A.) risked going about their every day lives, as they had every day for days before, some for decades, others for just days—and this is what happened.

Suddenly, seemingly, everything was upended, no roads, no electricity, no landlines, no cell phones, no homes, scant food, if any. The lack more than compensated for by its facilitator: tons and tons of murky, salty, undrinkable water, strewn with health hazards seen and unseen.

Even a college degree and a good-paying job are meaningless when you have no access to the benefits of them—even if you can get, by foot, stroke or boat, to an ATM, or phone—they’re not working. It could just be you-- (and if you’re really blessed, your dependents and other loved ones all also in the same—if you’re truly blessed-- boat )--Against the world. And it’s not even one you’re familiar with.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” –Mahatma Ghandi

Can you provide Katrina survivors physical or emotional space to process the devastation and its impact; to regroup and address it?

Do you have an extra room? Underused garage or basement? Vacant rental property? Can you provide a job or transportation, clothing, babysitting, housewares, food?

The government can do more, yes, but we can too.

Security, Homeland or otherwise, is just an illusion.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Thank God, or however you like to address the progenitor, for your state of Grace.

If you would like to help me house Katrina survivors who will be moving into my in-law suite, email

If you have housing to offer, post at

Since then, I've come to know, in cyberspace, legions of others who are offering homes, some even offering to drive down to pick up Survivors. Some pundits on tv yesterday said the impact of the government's response will set back race relations for years to come. I suspect Katrina's aftermath may do more for race relations than has ever been done. With all the multicultural extended families that are bound to evolve from this coupling of host families with Katrina survivors, strangers, of likely a different race, under one roof, how can you not see through skin color and recognize sameness? All human beings have the same needs and capacities for love and support. How about we abandon race relations for human relations?

1 comment:

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