By Paul Pearce, director of global strategy
We are born into a divided and unfair world.
What are we to do when we wake up in this divided world?
What are we to do against extreme positions, which motivate or manipulate others to make the desperate choice of violence to the other in its many forms?
It seems our response needs to start with a belief and desire for the economic, cultural and emotional success of each person.
We need to take that belief and respond at all levels of society, from elections and legal reforms to grassroots activism and even how we conduct our own lives.
Our work at CFCA takes us to the front lines of hope.
We work one community, one family, one person at a time.
The desire to project a vision of one’s future life is what we might call a “right to dream.”
CFCA invests in those dreams, and shows us what we would have lost had those dreams been lost.
An orphan in Bolivia becomes a leader in agronomy and increases food production through adobe greenhouses across an entire region of the country.
A 65-year old woman in the Dominican Republic learns to read and write for the first time and nurtures a group of at-risk young women to avoid the negative influences of her violence-ridden neighborhood.
A young student in Guatemala studies at night after working all day in a bakery to earn a degree which eventually will lead his family to a more stable economic situation.
Parents from all national, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds have dreams for their children.
The number one dream for parents living on the margins of society is that their child will grow up to be a good person, and that he or she will achieve a good education.
These parents do not want their child to experience the back-breaking work they have gone through.
The rights of adequate food, housing and protection are critical to a person’s well-being., but sometimes we think this comes at a cost to the larger society as a whole.
I believe if we include the right to dream, the right to a horizon farther than surviving the day, we will realize basic rights are not only a reasonable cost for society to share, but an absolutely loving investment in our shared future.
Let us starve the next war. Let us contribute our genuine efforts for opportunity across all lines that divide us.
We need to be present in the moment and working before, during and after violence or exploitation.
When the latest violent movement or tragedy knocks at our door, let us not be there.
And let us offer an invitation for anyone to join us there.
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt on the universal declaration of human rights