Member at Large - Social Justice
BEBLON G. PARKS
“In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path.” (Proverbs 3:6)
This Bible verse is one my family traditionally says before every meal. As a civil, human rights and social justice advocate in my professional and personal life, I believe God has directed my path to service on the National ECW Board as Member-At-Large for Social Justice. I am excited and energized to be able to serve during the next triennial.
Trying to describe my “passions” for social justice is a somewhat daunting task. I have many passions. One passion focuses on my desire that all persons have adequate healthcare so that we may end childhood malnutrition and obesity. My dream is that all youth, whether homeless on the street or living in shelters, will have access to healthcare. Another passion is that of working for the eradication of breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes. A third passion is the elimination of violence, especially violence against women and girls.
As a younger woman, classroom teacher and education association member, I lobbied legislators and congresspersons to get funding for breast cancer research and to prohibit “drive through” mastectomies and worked for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. The economic survival of, and support for women seeking entrepreneurships and self-sufficiency are close to my heart. (It’s hard to believe that even today, women earn 78 cents for each dollar earned by a man.)
I have worked to get special programs for At-Risk children and those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, especially developing diversity awareness programs to assist educators and others working with youth.
I have served on the Board of Directors for various organizations including The Daughters of Zelophehad – an organization that assisted women transitioning out of prison and presently serve as Vice President of Jackson Feild Homes – a behavioral residential facility for troubled youth.
During my term as Diocesan ECW President, we worked to shine a spotlight on Native American Ministries along with increasing the number and amount of scholarships for youth. I believe we have an obligation to help children who are homeless or living in temporary shelters, realize that they too, can achieve their dreams. Higher Education through scholarships acquisition can be part of their futures, as with any other student.
The National ECW Board has already embraced several social justice initiatives that need to be broadened. Our current work to end violence and to stop human trafficking must be enhanced. It is my intent to ensure that the programs already initiated which need to continue will be continued. Additionally, I will seek the input from our Provinces to determine what, if any, new initiatives should be included in our program.
The acrostic below describes what Social Justice means to me and how we will embrace Social Justice issues at the National ECW level during the next triennial.
S-Spirituality – All we do will begin with prayer and thanksgiving. O-Opening of Opportunity -We will seek opportunities to be of service. C- Compassionate Caring – The care we give and show will be filled with compassion. I-Inclusiveness – We will work to make sure all voices are heard and understood. A-Advocacy & Appreciative Inquiry – We will be the advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves and we respect the dignity and worth of all human beings. L-Love for Humankind - The love we have will show through each and every interaction we have with ourselves and with others.
J- Joy – Our Motto, ”Joy in Service” will permeate our interactions. U-Unwavering Faith – We will rely on our faith to lead us on the path God has set for us. S- Service with a Smile- Our smiles will be the first thing one sees as we begin the work at hand. T-Tender Touches –Our touch will be tender and sincere. I-Involvement – We will seek the input from all who wish their voices heard. C- Courageous Optimism- We will approach each opportunity for service with the excitement and optimism of children racing to look for gifts under a Christmas Tree. E-Electrifying Enthusiasm- We will embrace each new challenge with the enthusiasm of miners who are about to strike “gold”.
I offer these gifts as your National Board Member - at - Large for Social Justice. The National ECW has a grand legacy of addressing social justice issues. As I embrace my new position I hope to build on that legacy.
Beblon G. Parks
July 23, 2015