Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's All About Equality

In all of my talks with so many different people here over the last few months, I’ve learned so much about who I am and what it is that I’m really fighting for. I suppose that’s part of the reason I’m writing this blog. I’ve realized that in all of the many issues that I choose to tackle, I am most passionate about justice and equality. And furthermore, it seems that I can boil most any issue of poverty, slavery, trafficking, hunger, etc, down to a lack of equality. If humanity truly considered everyone to be “equal’, as in “the African or Indian or Cambodian child in that picture is no different than my American, Irish, or British child sitting beside me”, we would not have the 6500 African’s a day dying of HIV/AIDS, and millions of little 6 year old girls and boys would not be sold into prostitution every year.

But the fact is this: most American’s don’t even consider the person living down the street in the ghetto to be equal to themselves or their family. It’s no wonder a picture of a starving African child only congers up a mere couple of seconds of compassion before dissipating back to a numbness that we have all become accustomed to. There is a safety in numbness and ignorance. We see it, we believe it for a second, but when we try to compare it to our own lives, or picture our sister or daughter being sold into prostitution at the age of 5, we can’t fathom it. And our minds kick in a say “Danger! Go back to thinking about football games and which shirt you’re going to wear to the party tonight. That’s safe”. We can’t let our minds go there. It’s too much.

A large portion of my life is focused on trying to convince people that the women and children I serve in Africa are not any less human that they are. People look at extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, prostitution and hunger as “Africa’s problems”. They say “you can’t compare those worlds”. My question is “why?” Why are these worlds different? I want to know who’s calling the shots on that one. We are all God’s children. All of us. That’s not just a cute little saying; it’s a fact. So, at the end of the day, we are talking about EQUALITY. When the world truly starts looking at humanity as being 100% equal we will start to remember what JUSTICE really is. The definition of justice implies, and is in fact dependent on equality.

It seems strange, and terribly unfortunate that we are still fighting so hard for equality. It’s almost 2008. We abolished slavery in the US and in the UK long ago. But we are still trafficking an average of 800,000 people a year over international borders, 70% of which are women and children. We really haven’t come as far as we think we have. We just made it easier for ourselves to become complacent and pretend that the problem doesn’t involve us. Equality, or the lack thereof, is everyone’s problem; and everyone’s responsibility. If America really embraced equality, internationally, just think what kind of an impact that could have on how other countries view us. I would venture to say that would have a direct impact on our “national security” and “war on terror”. No there is an interesting idea. If we were to treat people with equality, accept the responsibility of addressing the needs of the poor, worldwide, as our own, and to be committed to justice, in it’s purest sense, a BIPRODUCT of that might be the end of our “war on terror”. We could end poverty, slavery and terrorism all in one fell swoop. Equality is powerful. And the lack of it is devastating.

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