I’m pushing transformation hard right now for two reasons.
First, it’s why we’re here. If we’re not going to be serious about work for social transformation, we might as well go home.
Second, transformation is possible. Here’s one example of individual transformation and helping someone grow from inactive to being an amazing organizer.
Every fall at the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) we organize a delegation to the School of the Americas Watch rally and vigil in Ft. Benning, GA.
Three years ago Jennifer Mills was a first-year student at the University of Michigan. She had planned on going down to Georgia on the bus organized by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, but her test schedule didn’t allow that.
So she road with us.
I’ll be honest, we didn’t give her the most comfortable of trips; especially after other folks locked her out of the room we had booked for her.
Maybe it was because of her experience sleeping in the car that the next year she came to me and said, “we should bring our own bus.”
I was skeptical; busses are expensive. But I supported Jennifer, and I’m glad she did.
She worked hard to fill the bus. She created a partnership with the UAW to fill the seats. She found campus funding to help cover costs.
Thanks to her, for the last two years we’ve taken a bus to Ft. Benning.
Before she came down on that first trip, Jennifer was not an activist. Today, Jennifer is on the ICPJ Board, she’s received a peacemakers award from Pax Christi of Michigan, and she’s looking to follow Dr. Paul Farmer’s example of ensuring that the world’s poorest have access to quality healthcare.
Now ICPJ can’t take credit for all the hard work Jennifer has done, but by giving her a structure and support to grow as an activist ICPJ has been part of her personal growth and transformation as an activist.
Transformation is possible, and Jennifer is an excellent example of it.