So I went to a Change is Coming house party, and it absolutely reaffirmed my faith in the American people. Kristin, the hostess and a local community organizer in Charlottesville, opened up her doors to over a dozen people (most of them strangers) on a bright but cold Saturday afternoon, and the results couldn’t have been better. All fifteen people who signed up attended, and the showing was incredibly diverse, in every meaning of the word.
I was fortunate enough to interview Sherman White after the event. Sherman was the epitome of everything so unique about what Barack is doing.
“Do you know the name Emmitt Till?” he asks. Often considered one of the catalysts of the civil rights movement, on August 28th, 1955, the fourteen year-old Till was brutally tortured and lynched for whistling at a white woman. “And August 28th, 1963,” he continued, “That’s when Dr. King gave his ‘I Have a Dream Speech.’ I saw him that day.” Ignoring my look of total amazement, he finished his statement. “August 28th, 2008. Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. August 28th, 1955, 1963, 2008. God’s fingerprint is all over this election.”
Wow. I just met a man who marched with Dr. King, all because our support of Barack Obama, and our mutual interest in building a better community.
Disappointingly, I did not attend the whole event. I was returning home from Virginia Tech, and traffic caused me to be a bit late. I ended up missing our discussion of the actual election itself, which I’m sure was incredibly interesting hearing different viewpoints. However, I was able to fully discuss the most important item on the agenda, the national day of service (MLK day 2009), and that couldn’t have made me more excited. We went around the room, and each proposed an idea for a community service project the group could participate in. From Habit for Humanity, to food banks, to the Free Clinic, to Reading Rabbits, we really left no charity left unmentioned. We discussed social justice, healthcare, affordable housing, environmental cleanup, and mentoring, just to name a few.
Another anecdote Sherman related to me seems relevant here. “From a biblical standpoint, I am reminded of the analogy of Joseph,” he says. “Joseph encountered famine in Egypt. He ran the most powerful economy in the world, however, and with that he fed the world. I see a lot of that in Obama today.”
We ended up deciding to organize a drive to provide food for the food banks that will be in short supply post-holiday season, as well as gather blankets, warm clothes, etc. for the homeless of Charlottesville. While I personally favored the idea of a getting involved in a mentoring program like reading to kids, or the Boys and Girls Club, it is clear that these ideas won’t be left unaddressed. Everyone seemed very enthusiastic to make these meetings regular, and we promised that after our initially trial with the national day of service, we will be able to take up more long-term projects.
Additionally, hearing the diverse charities proposed by the group made me realize that there is no excuse to just dedicate my service to when the group does it; there are too many charities to count that need my (and millions of more Americans’) help everyday to not go on my own time. If God’s fingerprints are, indeed, all over this election, then I think now’s the time for me to give God a hand and give back to those around me.
Note: This is a follow up on an earlier piece I wrote. Tomorrow I will load a picture of the event. Cross-posted at www.wahokie.blogspot.com