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Hope evident in persistence to confront injustice every day

Mary Stamp - Editor

Often persistent voices can change systems, but the road is hard.

Changes alone are not enough.  Vigilance is needed so innovation and justice are not turned back.

An example is commitment in our region to identify hate and resist a visible re-rooting of hate-makers here.  Recently, folks wishing to restart an Aryan Nations group in the Northwest have found North Idaho resistant to a resurgence of hate activities. 

So folks of that persuasion in Oregon, Washington and Idaho were looking to locate a headquarters in John Day, Ore.  Residents invited experts from the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations to come and offer advice.

How great to have such expertise to offer! 

With the task force, the Human Rights Education Institute, the Institute for Action Against Hate and many other organizations and programs in the Inland Northwest seasoned in halting hate and ending discrimination, we see the importance of an ongoing commitment. 

Once folks relax, new hate groups—stirred by fears that foster hate—will emerge.  We have a gift to support people who challenge hate and nurture their ways of expressing the same truth.

One John Day resident’s protest sign asked those wanting to locate there:  “God can love everyone.  Why can’t you?”

Kudos, too, to Gonzaga University’s School of Business for inviting a new generation of students to learn from the past, to identify hate and bullying as counter-productive to healthy business and community, and to be empowered to challenge  hate as they enter the business world.

It’s easy in a culture of disempowered consumers and employees to assume—fearing we will lose our jobs—we must accept misconduct, abuse, intolerance, competition, fraud and profiteering.

How many new treatments for cancer or heart disease are pushed from consideration by the mega-billion-dollar investments in what are now considered conventional treatments in the medical business world? How many alternative, sustainable ways of living, eating, consuming, producing and farming do we inhibit under the conventional business of farming with chemicals?  How many alternative voices are dumped because they lack the corporate or personal funding to be heard in the business of politics?

We easily lose the ability to speak and think for ourselves in face of subtle hate at play in our everyday lives.

The Fig Tree persists in reporting voices of those bringing solutions to problems and conflicts, nurturing them from birth through growth to make a difference in lives of people.

Hopeful folks believe it is possible to see the big picture of God’s covenant with us and our covenant with God—the infinite starry heaven God pointed out to Abram as exemplifying the number of descendents the hopeless, old man would have from his promised but yet-to-be conceived son.

Hopeful folks know we need not fear, because we are God’s children, who can work miracles if we put our lives in God’s hands and agree to be servants, prophets, ministers, musicians, guides and friends.

Hopeful folks see beyond the way things are, lament what is not yet and challenge the already-now ways of doing things that keep us stuck in the mud of enriching and enthroning a few experts, while casting aside many creative ideas and people who are thought not to deserve “top dollar” for their efforts or insights. 

Hopeful people know a resurrection of new life lies beyond the death of wintry days, the entrenchment of injustice, the habits of hate and the ways of war. 

Buds sprout each year from barren branches.  Babies are born and grow.  Young people enter the work world with ideals.  Seasoned folks share their wisdom and persist in their witness.  Stories of hope abound, flowing through our lives like refreshing spring streams.