“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.” Wangari Maathai in her lecture after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
I have this quote in my cubical and read it to myself several times a week. It hangs right above my computer screen so sometimes it looks like I’m focusing but actually I’m just reading this to myself over and over! I do it to remind myself that today, now, I must ‘shed fear and give hope.’ But, the truth is that most days I think, what the heck does that mean? And then it hit me: I am doing my job; I work for Lutheran World Relief.
LWR is shedding fear and giving hope each and every day. We are going into communities around the world that are drastically different from what we are accustomed to, and, that takes guts. We go, knowing that we have something to give but ‘shift to a new level of consciousness and reach high moral ground’ because we also know we have much to learn. Hope encompasses our work from the exchange of knowledge between US and international staff to the women in India who can finally write their own name, even if just with a stick in the sand.
Human Rights Day is about recognizing the beauty and strength of humanity and through our development and relief work that is exactly what LWR does. Our lasting promise is that every day will be here and now.