Friday, February 3, 2012

The power of advocacy

Two weeks ago I took my teens to L'Taken at the RAC, a program of touring, schmoozing, education and most importantly, advocacy. In a time when we feel profoundly disempowered by our political process, when direct-service social action (i.e. food shelters, raising money, etc.) provides a moment of relief and immediate gratification but doesn't 'move the ball forward', advocacy becomes increasingly important. I saw this when I and many, many colleagues joined in asking for commutation of sentence for Robert Gattis. I saw this at L'taken when my teens spoke with their congressional delegation with pride and thoughtfulness. And I saw this with the recent uproar over Susan B. Komen acting against Planned Parenthood, and then 'rescinding the decree' in order to save face. That only happened because people spoke out. Yes, 26 senators sent letters, Michael Bloomberg pledged money, but they would not have done so except the public outcry.

In this week's portion, when Israel is trapped between the sea and the Egyptians, Moses tries to calm the people by insisting that God will provide for them. But God rebukes Moses and says, "why are you calling out to me?" Only through our own words and actions can social justice be realized. Only we , not God, can bring about the healing of the world for the sovereignty of Heaven. “To be is to stand for" wrote Abraham Joshua Heschel,  "and what human beings stand for is the great mystery of being God’s partner. God is in need of human beings.”

God needs us. Let our voices not remain silent!

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