I join my prayers to yours that justice and peace can flow like waters around the world. May these streams bring a green season where love shall prevail on earth.”Father Gerard Jean-Juste
The past few weeks have been heavy, shocking, disorienting. Painful to witness and difficult to process. Senseless acts of violence against Black Americans continue to emerge every day, further fueling outrage and protest. And yet, there is reason for hope. On a scale not seen for decades, people around the country and the globe have risen up together, demanding and driving real change.
Na Rive’s Program Director Lavarice Gaudin has been sharing stories with me about Father Gerard Jean-Juste — his long-time mentor and our Founder Margaret Trost’s partner at the birth of the What If Foundation — who spent his life fighting for social justice in Haiti and the US. The nation of Haiti was born when the enslaved rose up, revolted against their oppressors and proclaimed their independence. It was the first independent Black republic in the world. But its citizens continue to struggle and fight against the oppressive weight of systemic racism that has been present within their country and globally for centuries.
And yet, there is reason for hope. Father Jeri shows us the way. Wherever we are — whoever we are — we become a drop of the water he describes in his quote. We can look within ourselves, listen deeply to those who are hurting, and let love flow through action from one person to the next. That may sound simple, but it is far from easy. As our friends in Ti Plas Kazo have shown us through all the challenges they face every day, love is labor of the most noble kind. Their courage and devotion inspire us. Being truly present and patient, facing uncertainty and fear and carrying on anyway: love is the work we commit to every day, for all our lives. Piti piti na rive. Little by little, we are part of the change. One friend, one conversation, one meal, one lesson, one child at a time.
As a What If Foundation donor, you have seen the power of your compassion crossing borders. May we all harness that power here at home, and in our everyday lives.
Together in Service and in Hope,
What If Foundation