MarianBaldini
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MarianBaldini

I Want To Start a Movement: Take a Stand

I have some very nice childhood memories of 4th of July of picnics with family and the plastic pool in the yard; parades with music and carrying the American flag; and fireworks and fireflies. I am sure many of us will be reminiscing and missing some of those things this year. Often there are some choices that we don’t need to make, but we do need to stand for what is right.

A few weeks ago, I put out our message about KenCrest’s stance on Black Lives Matter. I made it clear that we had the direction already given to us to “love your neighbor.” This direction was handed down to us from our Creator. In every faith I have researched, the expectation to care for those around us is very clear, and those directions do not say we could qualify the kind of neighbor in any way. We are joined in this community by neighbors who are different from us in several of ways, and there are no exceptions about what kinds of neighbors we can exclude from love.

As we approach the 4th of July, I want to bring up another set of directions — those that come from Declaration of Independence signed by the founding fathers of the United States. They state, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Some of us are trying hard to follow these directions, some of us are benefiting from those efforts, but many are not doing either. The following stories are a reminder of that.

— In 1893, Sarah Moore Grimke freed the slaves that had been imprisoned by her family. One of them was Archibald Henry Grimke. Born to a white slave holder and black slave, he went on to graduate from Lincoln University with a bachelor’s degree in 1870 and a Master’s degree in 1872. With the help of his aunt, he furthered his education at Harvard University and became an attorney. He promoted equal rights throughout his life and was honored repeatedly for his work. Still today, over 100 years later, we cannot say that all black people are treated as equal. Each of us within our home and work needs to stand for justice.

— In 1933, the United States elected a president who couldn’t walk. Although Franklin D. Roosevelt was paralyzed by polio, we somehow looked the other way about his legs and were able to listen to what he said. He went on to lead us through some terrible years, and his wife stood for many who whose voices were before unrecognized. Still today, people with disabilities do not have equal access to education, affordable housing, and employment. Each of us need to do our part to find or create work opportunities and take a stand for justice

— On October 7th, 2013, Malala Yousafzai at 15 years of age, was shot on a school bus for defying customs and pursuing her education. This month, Malala graduated from Oxford University. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the chief of army staff of Pakistan, was personally involved in overseeing the Pakistani army’s essential role in saving her life. Still today, girls and women do not have equal access to education and job opportunities. Each of us needs to see our role in providing access to education, and make that education available regardless of any difference.

For each of these struggles, someone stepped up…someone took a stand with their actions to say it was not okay to deny someone life, opportunity, or happiness. It only takes one to be brave enough to take a stand for others with their voice or their actions. As you celebrate this weekend, ask yourself if your work at KenCrest and in your personal life has advocated or empowered others. In our work at KenCrest, we are some of the privileged people who have the ability to make equality part of our everyday lives. Ask yourself if you are doing all you can to honor our Founding Fathers words of equality for all, and be grateful for those who stand with you in those efforts. Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Take a stand.

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