Enjoy this guest blog post and book review written by Courtney Jackson, AmeriCorps VISTA at Action Ministries.
“They’re lazy?” a girl said, as if her answer were a question.
“Probably addicted to drugs or have a rap sheet,” another added.
“Now what do you think of when I say, ‘a homeless person?'” Silence.
“Well, they’re probably just down on their luck, recently lost a job, just trying to make rent, you know?”
“They’re probably hungry.”
“Do you see what happens when we remove the human element from it? The words aren’t so different: ‘THE homeless’ and ‘a homeless PERSON,’ but how we think of them changes dramatically. We need to open our minds and shift our thinking.” — Donna Beegle, an excerpt from Make It Zero.
Donna Beegle made a valuable, and hopefully reverberating, point in her classroom full of upperclassmen that morning with what may unfortunately be viewed as a revolutionary idea: people matter. Unbelievable, right? Or is it? What came to your mind when you first saw “the homeless?” What came to mind when you saw the response to “a homeless person?” Do we consider the “what ifs” in their lives? Have we wondered if there could be a simple solution that we could be a part of? Have we viewed homeless people as our equals on the basic level of being cohabitating humans on this planet?
Make It Zero: A Movement to Safeguard Every Child is the newest book from Mary Frances Bowley, Founder of Wellspring Living and author of The White Umbrella. Make It Zero is a call to action, to do whatever is within our ability, influence and reach to preserve the innocence of every child. But before that can happen, we must first understand that there isn’t one factor that led him or her into this tragedy. There isn’t one cause, and there isn’t one solution. Each child is different, just like each adult is different. We all have our own life experiences, choices, education, travels, family, friends and more that make us who we are, but we all share something in common.
We’re all human, and we all matter.
In Make It Zero, the reader learns more about how poverty, hunger, isolation, abuse and trafficking all contribute to the stealing of innocence, while gaining insight into actions that can, and should, be taken to protect children. But to truly protect them, we must first open our minds and accept that these children — these people — have faces and names, just like you and me. They have families, friends and experiences in their pasts. They’ve made decisions and choices — some good and some not so good. To help them regain their basic identity as people who matter rather than used commodities, we cannot allow their pasts to define who they are to us.
How will you Make It Zero?
Courtney Blu Jackson is an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Action Ministries Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program. She is a Double Dawg from the University of Georgia with a master’s degree in nonprofit management.