Friday, May 27, 2011

Progress in St. Augustine, Florida, a City That is Now All About Healing

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage such as these that the belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
--Robert F. Kennedy, Day of Affirmation, University of Cape Town, South Africa, 1966.

Look around you and see the progress.
There’s a lot of progress in St. Augustine and St. Johns County, of which we are justly proud.
Where once there was bigotry, there is healing.
Where once there was secrecy, there is accountability.
Where once there was pollution and environmental injustice, there is growing sensitivity that we are environmental stewards, there is only one Earth, and as JFK said at American University, "We all breathe the same air and we are all mortal."
Riberia Street is being built properly for the first time in St. Augustine’s history. The entire street is being replaced, not just the part in the white area, as once proposed.
Sewers will be provided for West Augustine, where African-American families have long suffered from health effects of septic tanks and wells.
Our city and county public officials are now listening to the people, instead of ripping them off and violating our civil rights.
Our Founders, including Thomas Jefferson, believed in the power of human beings to change.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, let’s “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
Our City of St. Augustine has recently dedicated one Civil Rights Monument, to the Civil Rights Footsoldiers. On June 11th, we get a second one, honoring Ambassador Andrew Young, who led the courageous Civil Rights Footsoldiers here, changing our world for the better.
We’re looking forward to establishing a St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway, to include a National Civil Rights Museum and an Indigenous American Indian Cultural Museum.
In the words of the Prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

No comments: