President-elect Barack Obama urges public service, paints at shelter –
A day away from becoming the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama rolled green paint onto blank walls at an emergency homeless shelter in Washington, the Sasha Bruce House, a shelter for teenagers…On the holiday honouring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Obama is asking all Americans to mark the civil rights leader’s legacy by making a renewed commitment to public service.
King, who pushed for equality through peaceful resistance, was assassinated in 1968. “Today, we celebrate the life of a preacher who, more than 45 years ago, stood on our national mall in the shadow of Lincoln and shared his dream for our nation. His was a vision that all Americans might share the freedom to make of our lives what we will; that our children might climb higher than we would,” Obama said in his statement. Obama said King’s “was a life lived in loving service to others.As we honor that legacy, it’s not a day just to pause and reflect — it’s a day to act,” Obama said. [end of excerpt]
Obama gets it. He just plain gets it. He understands what is needed, and that it is not “the government” that can do it, but ordinary people, by donating their time and energy – their sweat equity – who can make the biggest difference to a nation. There are shelters near you, right now, that are in need of volunteers. Shelters for teens like the one Obama was helping at, shelters for women and children seeking refuge from abusive relationships, shelters for youth, men and women who find themselves homeless. They all need help. Simple hard work. And not so hard – they need painters, dishwashers,chefs,waiters and waitresses, barbers,manicurists, sweepers and even patient listeners. I’m glad in a way that we are so close to America here in Canada – maybe the call for grassroots public service will bear fruit here at home. We’re so used to calling public service working for the government, when Barack Obama has reminded us that true public service starts with you, the public.
Now that is a New Year’s resolution worth keeping.
[volunteer at project417.com]
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