WHO WERE YOUR GREAT, GREAT GRANDPARENTS? WHAT DID THEY DO? HOW DID THEY INFLUENCE YOU?
WHO WERE YOUR GREAT, GREAT GRANDPARENTS? WHAT DID THEY DO? HOW DID THEY INFLUENCE YOU? These were some of the questions posed to those attending the February 2 Interfaith Alliance meeting by Karen Moran, Westminster Presbyterian, and Jessica Rojas, NE Coalition of Neighbors who recently participated in a poverty training program presented by Dr. Donna Beegle. In order to better understand “generational poverty” IAP members were asked to look back on their own roots and culture, starting with their grandparents 3 generations back.
Except for those with Native American background, all had come from foreign shores, aboard ships of varying sizes -- some in the hold of a slave ship, others aboard a merchant vessel, a few in cabins, most in steerage. The common ingredient was hope that at the end of their journey they would find a better life. That was true of rich and poor, slaves and indentured servants.
They dreamed of equal opportunity, freedom from enslavement, escape from tyranny, land of their own, and the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” They brought with them the wisdom, strength, and skills of their families and the generations who had preceded them, -- together with a resolve to create something new, a nation where everybody got a fair chance and were protected by a government of laws not the caprice of dictators or the landed gentry.
That nation, built by our immigrant grandparents and their children has now become a model for the world. We are entrepreneurs, inventors, educators, engineers, scientists, etc. We are also fighters for social justice, equality, a healthy ecology, and economic fairness--because not everyone has benefited equally from the American dream. Kathryn and Jessica will be conducting further “poverty training” sessions in coming months.