By Mercedes Mack, Jubilee's National Field Organizer
Like the rest of you reading this blog, I start everyday the same. I wake up check the forecast, brush my teeth, shower (I am so grateful for my hot water) and start my trek to work. Before I get on the metro Issac greets me with a smile and a newspaper - as I walk down the escalator I look at the front page, quickly digest the headlines, then stuff the paper in my purse and run to catch the train.
I walk past the Library of Congress and the US Capitol and over to Jubilee’s office. But lately the nicest thing has been happening during my routine: I walk into the church office to gather the mail and I am greeted with stacks of brown paper packages from across the country filled with postcards, hearts, and notes from thousands of people who in the mess and hustle that is life have chosen to take a moment and either sign their name or write messages about what’s on their heart as part of our campaign. They believe just as I do that their voice, words, and persistence play a role in creating momentum for things to change. What a beautiful campaign this has turned into; I read almost all of the hearts and have come across many powerful messages.
Last Tuesday upon reading this sentence from a number of lovely folks in Durham, North Carolina I felt particularly moved: “As an American citizen committed to ending global poverty, I urge you to expand debt cancellation to poor countries who need it…” I was so impressed with this sentence; I thought to myself this is a part of being an American citizen, recognizing the power that we have to create political will. You know that’s the kind of attitude that makes a person proud to be a part of something.
I love getting mail from all of you, and I wish that there was enough time in the day to send each and every person a personal thank you letter. To folks like Laura Jones in Decatur, GA who has sent in dozens of hearts. Or our friends at Saint Rose Academy (see above) who sent us our biggest heart yet! To the young women of Delta Delta Delta at Indiana University and of course I must mention my alma matter Saint Michaels college in Vermont. Also Ms. Kelly’s fourth grade class from Germantown, MD and in Texas. It’s so exciting and it makes me proud to be a part of such a committed and motivated group of activists.
Many of your messages have featured Haiti’s need for immediate debt cancellation as the matter that weighs heaviest on your hearts. Out of all the places in the world, in my heart I feel such a calling to go to Haiti, and strongly remember my time in Florida with members of the Haitian community.
We are going to deliver all post cards, messages, and hearts to the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. To do this Jubilee has assembled a team of religious leaders from different faith back grounds. Folks like Bishop Schoenhals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, David Beckman President of Bread for the world, Inelda Gonzales President of the United Methodist Women, David Saperstein and many others. Click here to see the letter and signers.
I know things are hard here, a couple weeks ago I was watching 60 Minutes with my roommates, and there was a segment on the DHL plant closing in Ohio. I spent a significant amount of time in OH in the fall and meet wonderful people, who talked to me about the changes Ohio has seen over the past few years, what it was like to grow up there, and to deal with that struggle. These are things that we all care about. When they were done with their stories they politely listened to me talk about Jubilee’s work and despite all that they were dealing with they had room in their hearts to help our brothers and sisters around the world.
So I urge you if you’re reading this and have not sent in hearts, postcards, or taken action online to do so (and not just so I can continue to smile every morning) but because it’s the least we can do.
What if you just happened to be born into a different family, a different country, a place where your government spent more money on debt payments then on health care? A place where you had to choose between which child to send to school, or where countless children in your community have died because of diarrhea due to a lack of clean water? We are talking about and working for people - human beings - not statistics or numbers or bars on a graphs, please help us make a little bit of difference and take action with our What's on Your Heart Campaign today.
In Peace and Solidarity,