delivered December 1998, Grand Parade Square, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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[Text submitted by Mr. Longueépée]
On this day we celebrate the great distance we have come in this country and yet there is a great distance to go. We are only half way to our goal while others in this country are without purpose, dignity and decency of work. A country where people feel powerless to change their place or to make a better one for their children. This is the breaking of spirit denying them the chance to stand as fathers and mothers among other men and women in our country.
What this country needs now is a new hope...a renewed
faith in work. Jobs with dignity, self reliance and integrity of
family. When the rights of one are denied all are endangered. Our
commitment now must lie in our decision to be stronger than our
condition. In understanding what unites us, rather than what
separates us from one another.
Albert Camus once wrote that truth
needs witnesses and testimony. This will come with slow deliberation
of time and a temperance of spirit. The struggles of the past are
still with us today. They define the reasons why we are gathered
here. We cannot forget the profound effects the condition of an
individual has on the will of the community. The community itself is
not the greatest asset, but rather its individuals are. The greatest
challenge we now face is the violence of institution indifference,
inaction and slow decay. The salvation of our community and programs
lie in terms of each individual. Responsibility is the price we must
all pay for freedom.
Perhaps we will not prevent this from being a world where human
tragedy exists, but in the least come to understand our own power to
effect the amount of human suffering. The journey lies not before
us, but within us. If we fail to seek control of a disciplined
community spirit, our efforts may end enslaved by our own inactions.
We must always make our efforts to understand, to comprehend and
replace violence with compassion and love, helping others to return
to a more human time and place in their lives, where the promises of
these programs are at last fulfilled for all.
1 U.S. House of Representatives.1964. Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Hearings Before the Subcommittee on the War on Poverty Program of the Committee on Education and Labor, 88th Congress, 2nd Session, on H.R. 10440, 17 March 1064.
For more on Mr. Longueépée and his vision, please visit: http://restoringdignity.org/
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