“It is futile to wait just for leaders to improve society. All of history’s greatest changes — nonviolent changes — came from below, not from above. It comes from us, and often from the least of us.”
Our Quote of the Week is an important reminder of the ability we, the people, have to effect positive change. In an era in which so many of us are disenchanted with our leaders, let us remember that we have the power to organize and to act with purpose in order to improve life for those around us.
In a short but powerful speech given at the University of Hartford, Sargent Shriver reminds us that “real personal and professional success is measured by whether you have improved your neighborhood, your town, your state, your country, and your fellow human beings.” He emphasizes the importance of service as the way to effect change and to achieve true success.
US history is full of examples of people effecting positive change through unity of purpose, public service, and collective action. The country’s history of volunteerism, of nonviolent protest, and of the labor movement show a variety of examples in which efforts of everyday people raised awareness of injustice, changed harmful and oppressive policies, and helped to improve the lives of others. And, of course, our many service organizations, including Peace Corps and the programs of the War on Poverty, have provided opportunities for service that have empowered millions of people at home and abroad.