The first recipient of the Waking Planet New World Flag will be
IN RECOGNITION OF THE INGENUITY, COURAGE, COMPASSION AND ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY THE VILLAGE EXEMPLIFIES
The flag will be presented to the residents of Dignity Village on Saturday, July 27th, 2002 at 10 a.m.
The Waking Planet New World Flag represents a world of peace and harmony based on the recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of, every person on the planet! Waking Planet thanks the people of Dignity Village for their living example of a respectful, caring and sustainable community.
I would like to begin by thanking Jack Tafari, Dignity Village chairman, and Ibrahim Mubarak, secretary and spokesman, for all they have done to make today possible. The village is fortunate to have two people with such dedication and ability working for them. Thank-you Jack and Ibrahim! I also want to thank all of the supporters and media here today. (special thanks to the Mayor or any dignitaries present) I know many have been moved by what has been accomplished here and I thank you for your efforts to help and to get the word out. I know many of you are very loyal in your support, which I'm sure is very appreciated and I know is very needed. But, of course, the people I want to thank most especially are the people who call Dignity Village their home.
I believe that you, the people of Dignity Village have designed a grand experiment for humanity's next step in higher consciousness! Let me explain what I mean by that. I think we are reaching a point in our evolution where we can replace fear, divisiveness, anger and aggression with love, communication, cooperation and caring. Our very survival as a species depends on us making this shift! And you, the people of Dignity Village are here to show us how to do it!
I know many people feet overwhelmed by the problems of modem society. You, more than anyone, know the plight of our nation's poor. You know of the tremendous need for decent, affordable housing, basic healthcare and equal opportunities in education and employment for all. We all despair over corporate greed that is out of control, the plundering of our precious earth for profit, the militaristic responses to world problems, and the growing violence and divisions among the different people of the world. Many are growing cold and cynical about our prospects for turning things around. "What can we do ?" they ask.
We can model ourselves after what you have done here at Dignity Village for one! We can form communities, where each person is respected and loved for who he or she is. We can listen and we can speak our truth and be heard. We can create and act and build new realities as the people here at Dignity Village have! You too could have thrown your hands up in despair. You could have gotten angry and lashed out. But you chose the courageous path of responsibility and of personal respect for yourself and others to create this self governing, green urban village.
You, the person who calls Dignity Village home, you are the teachers for the CEO's who make 571 times what their average worker makes, for the politicians who believe war is an answer, for the clergy who betray trust, for the wealthy who value profits over people and the earth. You, the residents of Dignity Village, you set a higher standard!
Has it always been easy creating this grand experiment in human connection, ingenuity, pride and accomplishment? I'd venture to say no. I'm sure you have been faced with tremendous challenges, but from what I gather, instead of breaking your spirit, you have grown stronger!
My hat is off to you Dignity Village residents or "Dignityites" as Patty Vaughn-Annis, news editor of Street Roots calls you. She also said, "We want the world to see that our city is acknowledging its homeless population as people who are still worthy citizens who are deserving of support as they struggle to rebuild their fives and end their homeless situation. Instead of trying to sweep the homeless members of our community out, Portland and its business leaders have begun to realize that empathy and compassion are more correct than criminilization." Well said! Nor may I add does condescension, judgment, anger, fear or hatred have any place in our response to the plight of homeless people.
You and I have more in common than we have differences. Homelessness is not a disgrace. It can happen to anyone and is not a reflection on your worth as a human being. The only disgrace is a society that turns a blind eye to the suffering of its citizens.
The Waking Planet New World Flag is about remembering that at essence we are one people, sharing one small planet, with one future. The flag depicts a world of harmony and peace, where every individual is valued and respected for his or her inherent dignity. The colored figures on the flag remind us that it is only when people stand in equal relationship to one another that humanity's true brilliance shines. The sun below represents the dawning of a new era and the moon above reminds us that life is cyclical and that every crisis creates an opportunity of equal intensity.
We are in the midst of such an opportunity now. And everyone here today is meant to play a key role in it.
I thank each of you for holding a vision of a different world and for believing in the inherent goodness in all people, which simply needs the rich soil of community and the nurturance of people who care, to take root and to thrive.
I most humbly and with great honor extend my deepest thanks to each of you personally. Please know in the days, months and years to come, that our thoughts and best wishes will always be with you. May the image of our Waking Planet; of our world waking to compassion, peace and justice for all, be a source of hope and inspiration to you.
For you are the inspiration for the rest of us!