a short while ago i stumbled on to this link about these 2 college students who snuck into an empty classroom and then did some incredibly creative stuff.
i can only imagine the effect it would have had on the students. the anticipation that it would have built up in the whole school of which class is going to be next, what saying is going to appear, how is it going to look and all of that.
a very simple act yet i imagine it had a deeply profound effect on the majority of people in the school – bringing smiles and inspiration and energy to add to whatever is already going on in that school.
THERE’S A NEW GANG IN TOWN
sadly, i have only joined them three times since being in Oakland, but yesterday i was connected once again to the amazing work they do through this article. tbV and i live in East Oakland in 61st Ave which has its fair share of gunfire outside our apartment, but it is closer to 80th and 90th where things get a little more shady. It’s called the Oakland night walk and happens every Friday night where a group of roughly 50 people from different churches and community groups [and many not from this part of Oakland] gather at one of four rotating churches and then head out on the streets to walk in two big groups to promote piece. no specific agenda or message for the people they encounter along the way, except to say we care about this neighborhood and we want the violence to stop. presence on the streets – and the murder [and i think general crime] rate in the area, has dropped considerably since they started in October two years ago.
WHAT CAN I DO?
i read some stories from South Africa yesterday of violence which has become all too ‘normal’ and it is so easy to become disheartened and leave like so many people have. it is hard to blame them, when there are countries they can go to [especially if they have children] where they and their family can feel safe and not have to live in constant fear that something might happen.
i get it. that is a natural response.
but another response, especially for those of us who feel a special pull towards South Africa [and believe me, despite living in Americaland for the last three years doing non-profit work, the pull has always been to South Africa] is to seek to be a part of the change we want to be. a significant change. in both the movies Antz and ‘A Bug’s Life’ the majority of small, weak bugs are being bullied by the minority of larger, more aggressive bugs and in the end, the smaller ones win simply through strength of numbers and through standing together.
i am convinced that those who want South Africa to be a great country are in the majority. but we feel small and weak and powerless and something significant will only happen once we band together and figure out what that looks like. i don’t believe that violence to curb the violence is the answer [or even military or police force or weapons or anything like that] – i believe it is creativity and unity that will help bring about the difference.
looking at the two examples above, one is an example of incredible creativity and gifting – i cannot for the life of me draw like that, and if it is up to my artistic creative skills, South Africa is doomed. but i can walk. as can most of the people i know. but i also know an incredible amount of people who can draw well. and so maybe it’s both. the incredibly creative and gifted and skilled… and those who just show up and say, “I am here!” if we can figure out what it looks like for these South African ants to rise up in peaceful defiance against the bullies and the violence and the corruption, then maybe there is a lot of hope for my country.
how are you being significant? what stories do you know like the ones mentioned here of things already happening in South Africa? we need to be hearing more of these as they will bring hope and help rally the troops and inspire and life and give ideas and together we can see it start to happen.