During these important days for the United States in the midst of a presidential election, Julia Demaree, the former director of Emmaus Harlem and a member of Emmaus H.O.M.E. (Homeworkers Organized for More Employment) shares her feelings about her country. She writes to us from Maine, where she works in the handicraft workshops at Emmaus H.O.M.E.
“I woke up this morning with mud caked on my face. It was not a beauty mask. It was not a Covid mask. It was a mask of terror of how extreme our country has become. My mask is” streaked with lines of shame.
Peering out of its cracks I see more than I can bear. I see our country unable to shake off the shackles of its beginnings. The slave paradigm has a strangle hold on our culture. We got rich by enslaving other human beings. Now we are slaves to the buying power of money. For us, government and corporations function as twinned evils. We have squandered the rich potential of our land.
Money cannot buy morality or enlightenment. We need to listen and learn from those we have denigrated and continue to marginalize. We need to honor treaties, respect elders, protect children, make reparations, take joy in immigrants. We have so much to do to wash the mud from our faces.
The blanket of greed is thickly woven into our DNA. I believe that change can only come from some kind of revolution. Young people understand this and they are not buying into our quagmire. They are in the streets, in our jails, and on the land fighting for more just social contracts. Our air is thick with the pollution of injustice. Mother Nature herself is insisting on a purge.
I am on the old side of life in years but try to keep my young side alive as I commit myself to the community at H.O.M.E. There I have the privilege and the challenge of fighting for the common good. It takes away some of the ache of feeling helpless.”
Former director of Emmaus Harlem