Middle school students participating in an after school music/theater program in DC
Women from Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon and Uganda working in HIV/AIDS here in the states while supporting children in their home countries
A DC resident artist from Cameroon
8 exchange students from China
8 students from a PA private school
3 high school students from Hiroshima
1 Holocaust survivor
This is just a sampling of the range of people I have had the honor of crossing paths with, working with and sharing meals with over the past 6 weeks.
One of the things I am really learning to appreciate about working at William Penn House is the amazing diversity of people that we get to meet, and how, in meeting all these people, we see not how different we are, but how similar we are.
What is so incredibly moving to me is that people really do want to be a part of making the world a better place despite, in some cases, incredible adversity. The adversity of each person also brings a different level of gift to the world. The students from Hiroshima and the Holocaust survivor are/were visiting DC as part of telling stories of reconciliation and healing. The artist and the music/theater students are using the opportunities of the creative arts to tell stories and to bring their voices to the world - stories not of gloom and doom, but of hope and love.
In our most recent newsletter, Faith Kelley wrote that what we do at William Penn House is provide a space for conversation and a place of welcomeness, and then get out of the way so that new things can happen. I am really learning to appreciate this as a means of making the world a more peaceful and hopeful place. It means making a conscious effort and commitment to being open to the possibilities - not an easy task and not always achievable, but as the past few months have shown me, well worth the effort.