“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela
I’ve been working with my group of girl’s at the non profit where I volunteer. Those of you who follow this blog know that several of the girls are hispanic, african american, or a mixture (as they call it). I wonder if you look at them, what you would see? What do you see when you watch any racial minority in the streets of your town? I know that racism is ignorance. You may know it too intellectually. But do you practice it in your heart? I’ve watched people do exactly that. Intelligent, caring, christian people. I’ve watched people practice economic prejudice against these children.
I work with children from the age of about 9 thru 17. I see bright children, beautiful children, each and every one a bright shining soul, whose grace is going to be needed by our society. Each of these children have had to overcome so much already in their young lives. Through no fault of their own they have racism, poverty, and ignorance and fear… to deal with. The girls will grow up to deal with even more. Abuse, racial profiling, gender profiling, teen pregnancy, single mom households.
These children are in the 47% that are sneered at by so many. These are children that I watch every day try hard to get a better education than their parents, while already aware that the odds are stacked against them. Doesn’t stop them. They know that education is the small window that could lead them out of the cycle.
I watch dedicated young teachers and mentors working hard every day to help these children transcend the sorry spot our society believes is reserved for them. These teachers often make a few dollars above minimum wage, pay for supplies out of their own pockets and work long hours above and beyond their job. Those young teachers are themselves fighting economic bigotry from their peers because of the work they’ve chosen.
When will it change? I don’t know the answer. I know that some of these very children have grown up to come back and work at this non profit…. in order to pass it on. I know that bigotry in any person has to be challenged, and not allowed to prosper. I also believe that all these things are drops in the ocean…. and as one of my readers said “I believe in drops” because eventually the ocean will fill up. Eventually people with heart will understand that children are our most important resource. No matter what color their skin or their country of origin. Eventually we will judge people by their heart…and not their looks or the size of their bank account. Eventually.