In the twin wakes of Hurricane Harvey and a white supremacist rally in Virginia, it’s clearer than ever that the great American capacity for caring, resilience and service is the best path out of hurt and devastation. Together with our partners, all of us at LISC are working to help and to heal.
Over the summer, while traveling in northern Europe, my wife and I took our teenaged daughter to a Nazi concentration camp in Poland where tens of thousands of people were killed and imprisoned. It was a sobering experience and a reminder for us to teach our daughter about the destructive power of hate.
And then we returned to the U.S., where Neo-Nazis and others spewing hate were marching on the lawn of my alma mater, the University of Virginia. This evil actually led to the death of a young woman in Charlottesville.
It was another moment to talk to our daughter about the ever-present force of evil, that hate exists even today in our great nation, and that it is something that we can never be indifferent about and that we must always challenge. But we can’t answer hate with hate. As Ruby Bridges taught us, we must answer hate with love.
In fact, in Houston, which was hit by an epic storm, we see that answer—the great capacity that people have to care, to love, and to be of service to their neighbors. That’s important for our daughter to know, that’s important for all students to know, and it’s important for us as Americans to reaffirm.
We are commanded to serve one another. And here at LISC, we’re answering that call to service. Right now, we are working with our partners to help people with the basic necessities: finding food and immediate shelter; returning to homes and schools; and obtaining resources they need just to live. That force for good, that compassion, that sense of love and service—that is the greatest force known to mankind. That is the force that triumphs over evil.
There will be more storms upon us. Our job is to serve. But also to spread the idea that the only way to overcome hate and tragedy is to come together, to work together, to serve others. This is what LISC has been doing for 40 years.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Gulf Coast, Texas and Virginia who, in different ways, endured trials this summer. We are with you during this season, and we will be with you for seasons to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maurice A. Jones, President & CEO, LISC
Prior to joining LISC, Maurice was the Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where he managed 13 state agencies focused on the economic needs in his native state. Before that, he was second in command at the U.S. Dept. of HUD, serving as deputy secretary in charge of operations. He has also been Commissioner of Virginia’s Dept. of Social Services and Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Gov. Mark Warner. At the U.S. Treasury Dept. during the Clinton Administration, he managed the CDFI fund. His private sector experience includes top positions at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, a Richmond law firm and a private philanthropy investing in community-based efforts to benefit children in Washington, D.C.