I woke up this morning with a great sense of dis-ease.
What’s happening in parts of the world is so unsettling. The humanitarian crises in Yemen and Syria that is leading millions of people to leave their country in fear. The conflict-fueled hunger crises in Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan – and the threatening convergence that will lead to one of the greatest famine in history. The continued political and social unrest in Central America and the subsequent invisible refugee crisis that has erupted along the southern U.S. border. All of these challenges are weighing heavy on my mind.
This “mess” we seem to find ourselves in brings great feelings of sadness. I feel a little like a frog that’s been boiling slowly in a pot of hot water and then suddenly realizes what is happening to him – when it’s too late.
I am, however, a diehard optimist. I know that my feelings of sadness are not enough to spark change. I know that I need something to focus my efforts into. I need action.
In a very real way, this is what HBI is all about. Creating actionable ways to make the world a better place. Perhaps not at the grand scale. Not yet at least. The goal is, however, to make HBI into a global organization that can contribute to meaningful solutions and enhance dialogue to advance local efforts.
I recently helped (in a very small way) with the efforts of social justice and immigration advocates, no – make that heroes, working to bring greater recognition to under-reported issues happening in the U.S. There is a real tragedy happening in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in the State of Texas. An HIV positive man, seeking asylum to the United States to prevent persecution and gain access to lifesaving medications to treat his chronic medical condition, has been under tremendous duress and extreme stress. The man was recently on a 7-day hunger strike to protest the conditions he was facing in the government run ICE detention facility. An article appeared in The Nation highlighting the case - https://www.thenation.com/article/an-hiv-positive-gay-asylum-seeker-staged-a-seven-day-hunger-strike-in-an-ice-detention-facility/
However, a quick Google search identified only one other article. So here I am, in a very small way – trying to bring greater dialogue and recognition to a challenge happening in our own borders. Here I am making a call for others to know about the plight of a man that deserves far better treatment and respect than he is receiving. Here I am saying - we must stand together for change.
2018 is going to be a big year for HBI. We are going to work very hard to focus our efforts and strategically advance our programs and projects. We are going raises our voices in a much louder and bolder way for people living in marginalized and underserved circumstances. We are going to invite everyone into some level of continued action. Because, with action – we will make the world a better place. I know it!
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.