I recently engaged in a discussion about the parable of the Good Samaritan. Many of you may know the story. Others may have heard the term Good Samaritan and wondered where it came from. A traveler is beaten and robbed and left along the road. Not one, but two people come along, but both pass by without helping. Then a Samaritan comes along and helps the man.
We all want to believe that we would stop. We want to believe that our better selves would take the wheel and drive in that moment. We would ignore that we were late to get to that meeting at work, or to pick up the kids, or to meet a friend for happy hour. We would ignore that judgment in our mind that questions why that individual needs help in the first place. Will they accept my help the way that I want it accepted? What did they do to deserve their current circumstance? We would ignore that feeling of caution or fear that stopping might somehow hurt or harm us.
My conclusion (at least for now) is that I need to always challenge myself. I want to stop. I want to cast fear and caution and judgment out the window. I also want to be constantly aware and vigilant of the beaten down travelers who I do not pass, but are still along the road. The need is not only that one person before me. The need is greater.
All lives have equal value. I believe that. All lives – in front of me or otherwise, because we are all interconnected – have equal value.
Pope Paul VI gave a message on January 1, 1972. His message: If You Want Peace, Work for Justice.
I want peace. I know that peace is possible. I am actively working to dismantle the “Culture of Can’t” that has shaped my past and tried to convince me that it cannot be done. You see, I’ve witnessed it. I’ve seen people at peace and living lives that are flourishing. Therefore, because I believe in a peaceful, flourishing world, I work for justice.
Social justice is based on equality. It values human rights. It recognizes the dignity of every life, without exception. Social justice is valuable and necessary and I will work for it. A Woman’s Place will work for it.
On May 3, 2012, the Membership of AWP adopted a Values Statement. This underlying set of core beliefs help to define AWP and AWP’s work. It guides AWP’s behavior and shapes the strategies that are pursued in the face of both challenges and opportunities. AWP values social justice, analyzing structural social inequalities in order to promote justice.
WILL YOU STOP AND HELP…
or will you just pass by?
Ifeoma U. Aduba