I was on an airplane with my five-year-old daughter last year when we got to talking about clouds. “We don’t look like clouds,” I said, “but we are all made mostly from clouds.”
She turned to see if I was serious. “It’s true,” I insisted. “We are made mostly of water. That water started out as clouds that turned into rain. The rain watered the plants and gave us the fresh water we drink.”
I thought about that conversation when a friend recently sent me words she saw etched on the new Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall. They were words he wrote from a jail in Birmingham.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.
Isn’t this what Jesus taught? “Whatever you do, even to the very least, you do it to me,” he said. Just as clouds and human beings share a common substance, so too are all our individual choices part of a common moral fabric. When we feed the hungry, Jesus says, we’re feeding him. When we visit a prisoner, we’re visiting Jesus.
This is why it should matter to us if even a single child in Haiti is trapped in slavery–beyond the shock or pity we feel, we are morally present in this child. Some part of us is enslaved as long as this child is enslaved. To struggle for this child’s freedom is to struggle for our own freedom.
Our Fall 2011 newsletter talks about how powerful this awareness can be. To cultivate this awareness, we bring thousands of typical Haitians together in small groups of twelve or so. A typical group includes parents who have sent children away into servitude, adult survivors of child slavery, neighbors who’ve felt powerless to help enslaved children, and even individuals who have children enslaved in their homes.
We guide each group through a six-month process where their awareness grows and they develop the practical skills to begin fighting child slavery. Even adults who formerly enslaved children become vocal advocates and leaders in the movement to end child slavery.
Nearly 5,000 Haitians have participated in this program so far. Many have gone on to form local Child Protection Committees that work on the front lines in the struggle against child slavery. The demand for this training is huge, so our goal is to raise funds to enroll 10,000 more adults by this time next year.
It costs just $70 to train a new child rights advocate. Think about it; a monthly pledge of that amount would cover a brand new group of 12 Haitians who we will equip to free and defend children. Will you make that pledge today?
Flying through the clouds that day, my daughter pondered a miracle—our bodies are mostly collections of distant and disparate clouds coalesced into rainwater and infused into living flesh.
It is no less a miracle that a decision you freely make now can coalesce into the freedom of a child in Haiti, and we can say with the prophet Isaiah, “let the clouds burst open and justice rain down.”
Thank you for sharing so freely,