Stronger together!

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We are stronger together!

In a spot in the old city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, there is a place called Plazuela de la Rogativa. It stands on a high spot just inside the wall on the west end of the island and it looks out onto the harbor. The statue -pictured here – commemorates a night in 1797 when the island was being attacked by British warships while most of the city’s men were off fighting elsewhere. Here is the story, as told on PuertoRico.com:

So the bishop and his congregation took it upon themselves to march through the city in an attempt to get the saints to help them. While they marched through the city they sang hymns and carried torches in their attempt to invoke help against the potential attack.

This procession of unarmed men and women was more effective then they had ever hoped it would be. On seeing the torches of the procession the British fleet came under the impression that the reinforcements had unexpectedly arrived early. The march scared off the potential invaders who left immediately abandoning their siege.

This story is often told as a way of demonstrating the power of religious faith. I am not a religious person, but I understand the power of being committed to a community and a set of ideals. This story is powerful not because of its religious message, but because it illustrates the way that a small group of organized, committed individuals working together can overcome an objectively more powerful group. In this story, cooperation trumps force. This is similar to what is meant by a quote generally attributed to Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

organization-152809_640It is what the “Organize!” fish poster illustrates, and it is the logic of unions and social movements.

When you look at the goals you are trying to achieve, look around you and try to identify allies that you might have overlooked, and ask whether the goal you are trying to achieve might be of importance to others. Even purely personal goals can be easier to achieve when we have the support and commitment of allies. I would not have been able to finish My Mother’s Cross without a team of people who believed I could do it and offered support and encouragement along the way.

We are stronger together!

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