Como Yo Lo Veo

ast week, I was at an Estamos Unidos dinner.  Estamos Unidos is a charitable organization dedicated to the education of Hispanic children in eastern Pennsylvania.  This particular dinner was a recognition dinner for Ruth Cruz and Mauricio Conde.

This charity is especially important for my wife because we helped form this organization.  The reason I am writing about this particular meeting is that it reflected what potential America could have if we just forget what separates us and concentrate on what brings us together.

The first thing I noticed was that the room was filled with diversity.  There were Hindus, Christians, Jews and who knows what else.  We were all Americans, but we all came from places like India, Korea, Switzerland, Latin America, South America and Mexico. The varied dress and the multiple dialects gave a certain spice to the conversation. The room was noisy and animated.

I have been a member of many nonprofit organizations and have gone to many meetings and recognition dinners, but this one had additional warmth.  You just knew that people were there not for networking or recognition, but rather out of loyalty and love.

Estamos Unidos is not a large organization; it has no building or executive director.  All the board members are working volunteers.  You don’t want to be on this board unless you are willing to roll up your sleeves.  Even those recognized that evening were classic examples of servant leadership.

There was another interesting commonality with this group:  All those there believed that there was something beyond man that required us to serve our fellow man.  Unlike some Darwinian concept of the strong triumphing over the weak, those at this meeting believed that we are obligated to serve others, and that to whom much is given, much is required.  Everybody there realized that what we may have, we have by grace, and those less fortunate than ourselves deserve our love and concern.

As I looked around the room, I saw so many life stories of achievement and perseverance against remarkable odds.  I saw examples of sacrifice for others, and I saw true joy in the achievements of others.

Love was in that room.  I thought how wonderful it would be to expand this attitude beyond the walls of this room to all of America and to mankind.  I know it sounds simplistic, but isn’t this what we should all be doing?

We must take that which helps others, that which creates respect for mankind and breaks down the walls, and pass the love and respect to our greater society.  We cannot let governments dictate the role of mercy or compassion.  The government administers compassion as coldly as they do justice.  We need servant leaders, not government programs.  We need communities with a conscience.  We need to love our neighbors as ourselves.

It was a great evening.

Graham Hetrick

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