Has it really been a year?
June 5, 2010 –the world lost a great leader, teacher, mentor, and family man.
On the one year anniversary of his death, I found myself reading John Delloro’s book, “American Prayer: Online Meditations on Asian America, Obama, and Self “ and reflecting on the strength, vulnerability, hope, anger, and possibility he shared in his writing.
One year later, I find myself inspired by his words, his passion, his commitment. Lately I’ve faced my own struggles that challenged me in ways I was unprepared for. I find myself searching for something that I can’t seem to put my finger on –but I know that I need to identify it before I can move forward. As I continued reading, I finally realized what I was searching for –my voice. There in the pages of his book, I realized that I could hear what John had to say, I felt what he believed, and I knew in my heart the future he envisioned for his children. I realized how easy it was to feel powerless in the face of personal and political obstacles –and I knew — no –I felt in my soul, that I have it in me to fight for what I believed in.
I wonder if this is what John felt like when he wrote, “I felt a rekindling of something warm inside me that I have forgotten. This is more than a sentimental feeling, but a remembered epiphany” (pg 79). I know he was talking about finding a political candidate he could believe in –but these words mean so much more. For me, it’s a reminder that there are so many values that our communities share and that we must do the work it takes to make change happen.
John reminds us that, “central to organizing is the belief that everyday people have the power within themselves working together to create change and take control of their lives” (pg 171). So step one for me is committing to the process of change and ‘saying what I have to say.’ In the past 4 months, we’ve witnessed continuous attacks on immigrants, workers, and public servants. My pledge is to not let myself get mired in petty politics and instead commit myself to the process of writing and communicating the type of truth to power that was at the core of all the work that John Delloro and his allies did. Maya Angelou wrote, “I can be changed by what happened to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it. “ Now it’s time for me to clock in and work for change.
I hear you John. Thanks for the reminder. You are missed.
Delloro, J. (2009). American Prayer: Online Meditations on Asian America, Obama, and Self. Burning Cane Press. Los Angeles, California