Meet Joseph. He’s one of the first faces you’ll see when you come to the Cafe on most days. His smile sticks with you. His bounce and zip and laugh are contagious. You might find yourself lightening up a bit after he greets you and welcomes you to the Cafe.
Look at the face of this awesome, beautiful black man.
Joseph, who started volunteering here one year ago and who keeps coming back five days a week.
Joseph, who connects our guests to leadership opportunities throughout town.
Joseph, who tended to an injured guest at the Cafe by holding his wound shut until the EMTs arrived.
Joseph, who gives of himself even though we can’t pay him what his time is worth because this is where he wants to be.
Joseph, our Star of the Month for July 2015.
Look at him. Soak in the beauty of his face.
To honor Joseph, we have a call to action. Please watch this video from Diversity Advocate Vernā Myers:
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If you don’t have the 17 minutes now, please schedule them in later and read this synopsis. Ms. Myers suggests we can each take these three steps toward being a part of the solution on healing racism in our nation:
- Get real about our biases/stereotypes and find evidence to disprove them. As Project Implicit at Harvard has found after 5 million test takers, 70% of white people and 50% of black people prefer white faces to black faces. All of us swim in a sea of racial stereotypes against black folks because of the historical reality of our country. Ms. Myers suggests spending time looking at the faces of amazing black men to combat this and provides a stunning slideshow of dozens of black men who have made an incredibly positive impact on the world as a backdrop to her talk. And come by the Cafe anytime… because it’s not just Joseph that can help you transform implicit bias – there’s Al and Norman and Will and Marlon and Terry and Tirrell and Kevin and Ricky and Anthony and I could go on and on. Many, many awesome black men – with their own examples of lives filled with love, resilience, hope, strength, service. And I bet if you look around your life, you too can find folks who can help disprove any bias you have… So, first find those people, and…
- Move toward your discomfort. “You can’t get comfortable without getting uncomfortable first,” Ms. Myers suggests. We know it can be hard to push out of your comfort zone. But that’s where the joy is, that’s where meaningful connection can be found. Be brave and challenge your own fears by reaching out to someone who is “other” and develop a real relationship with them.
- Have the courage to challenge prejudice when you hear it. This is the hardest to do with the people we love, but let’s do our best to let our inherited biases end with our generation – let’s not pass them down to the kids who as you know, watch and listen and learn and absorb what they hear and witness (just as each of us did.)
Marianne Williamson said, “A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.” No wonder the Cafe feels like a miraculous place so often as the work we do isn’t just feeding people, but doing so in an environment of where love replaces fear.
Here’s your call to action: show your gratitude to Joseph for his commitment to the Open Door Cafe by finding ways to make miracles happen in your life. And miracle by miracle, we will work toward a world where all live in peace.