Sunday, October 15, 2006

Gifts They Deserve

Not every community activist gets a MacArthur fellowship, a university scholarship, or a mentoring stipend for their good deeds. In fact, few in America receive any meaningful recognition whatsoever.

One thing they often have in common, though, is a profound weariness as a result of a thorough disillusionment. For those who pose a viable threat to economic or political power, this weariness and disillusionment combines with a sense of betrayal that traumatizes the soul. This trauma then permeates their entire being, frequently impairing not only their psychic condition or spiritual well-being, but also contributing to a decline in their physical health.

The lack of established communal institutions to repair and heal these wounds, then, leaves these warriors at the mercy of malign state and market neglect. As a consequence of this socially-constructed omission, we not only fail to honor the gallant and courageous, but perhaps more importantly, fail to learn from their hard-won wisdom, fail to pass on these lessons to our future defenders.

Like the Hopi Foundation, established in part to heal those traumatized by political violence and torture, the Continuity Initiative is an attempt to make our people well, both as a matter of honor, and as a way of using their memories in safeguarding our communities in battles yet to come. This uniting of the material with the moral, in the end, is what allows us to give hope to the young and solace to the old--gifts they deserve, and which no one has the right to deny.

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