March 10, 2017
by Jeremy Ault
When I got up to talk, it was well past 7:00pm. The crowd, having been seated on steel chairs for the past hour and half, looked to be a bit restless. The harshness of the fluorescent lights was muted by the moist, heavy air in the windowless union hall, as over 100 people packed the place to hear from Milwaukee County Democratic Party candidates running in primary elections the next day.
The building was energized, but I was nervous to speak.
I am not a politician.
And Diaconia Connections is a nonpartisan mission organization.
This question kept running through my mind: How did I fit in?
I was not speaking to push any political platform, or to encourage the audience to vote.
So, instead, I stuck to my script. I wanted to convey to those assembled before me that I was there to talk about people with dreams and hopes. People who less than 5 years ago lived as we do: as lawyers, teachers, carpenters, and students with families. I was there to talk about how their dreams and hopes have been compromised by an unforgiving war that grinds into its 6th year.
And I was there to raise money.
Many refugees and displaced people around the world are unable to flee to Europe or the United States for asylum. Many of them lack the means and the money to leave. And for others, the thought of leaving their homes with the possibility of never returning is too much. So, they stay. They seek shelter and safety within the confines of refugee camps, or within their own country.
But one thing remains constant: They are often barred from providing for themselves.
Refugees are usually unable to legally work in their host countries and opportunities for education and career advancement are minimal in the camps. In many instances, they are completely reliant upon international donations for food and other essentials.
And right before I was about to make my official ask, people in the audience asked for a bucket. A bucket then turned into a tray. Then two trays. The trays were full of cash donations. I was overwhelmed. And as individuals continued to give, a leader stated that the party would match whatever was raised that night.
The final tally: $1,320. An amazing show of solidarity! And further evidence that caring for those in need is not a partisan issue; it’s a human one.
Thank you to all who have donated, and to those who will...
Read the original post at Diaconia Connections website.