It might seem like being proud and being nervous might not go together – but today those two emotions were the main emotions that I felt.
I am proud of so many people! I am proud to be a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. I am very proud of each of the Young Adult Delegation that has showed up here with us. They are an amazing group of people. They prayed the litany at the Wall of Injustice that EPF used to demonstrate how we can break down the barriers to life that injustice create in our world. Today the EPF honored Newland Smith with the Sayre Award. Hearing about his dedication to peace and justice and then hearing him speak so humbly about his own influences and his own dedication to anti-racism activism, as a privileged white male made me proud of EPF. We are an organization that values the work that people put in over their entire lives to activism. We encourage and support those that give their lives for peace – not through dying – but by living a life that embodies peace. What would you give your life for? Perhaps this question should be “What would you live for?” It creates a different meaning and different context. Newland is a person that has given his life for peace. He is such a joy to be around. I am proud that my organization honored him. I am also proud that the EPF encourages people, like me, to try to make a difference too.
I am trying to make a difference by testifying for legislation even if it makes me nervous. I found C048 just a few hours ago. This resolution proposes that the Episcopal Church formally endorse a policy of a minimum wage of $15/hr. I was one of two people who testified for this resolution. The other person, also from EPF, although not part of our Young Adult Delegation (YAD), also endorsed it. In my testimony I pointed out that the Federal minimum wage for tipped workers is only $2.13/hr while the minimum wage for non-tipped workers is $7.25 an hour. The resolution does not specify that this $15/hr stance would be towards those that are tipped as well. By being present and testifying I was able to bring to the table a different view point. I was able to bring to this committee the viewpoint of someone that earns minimum wage. It made me nervous to speak in front of them. After I spoke, I sat down and my hands were shaking. I had trouble holding my small notebook. I was not very nervous before I spoke, but it was the nerves being settled afterwards that made me shake.
Today was a day full of pride – pride in the group that I am shepherding; pride in the organization that is sponsoring us; pride in myself for overcoming my nervousness to take a stance that is important to me and important for creating a more just world. As we said in our litany we will focus and be able to fight injustice with God’s help.