Make the journey from the slave trade of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the plight of African Americans in inner-city America in the South Bronx. Learn about the ravages and disadvantages of residence there and its lifelong impact upon an entire population. Recognize that this continuing situation has a sad and shameful historical path shaped by society’s blindness to humanity. This malaise of blindness exacted an unfair, immoral, and immeasurable human cost upon generations; a blindness which denied entry to the opportunities afforded others as a birthright.
The aggregated cost in the South Bronx is staggering beyond belief. There is, however, a collateral cost to the reservoir of national resources caused by a failure to recognize—and, therefore, unrealized and unavailable—the creativity, talents, skills, and potential of inner-city residents.
Hear those voices that have addressed the inequities of this situation; learn of individuals who believe in the humanity of every individual. Despite these voices, the deplorable inner-city situation continues and even worsens. Is anybody listening? There are listeners who have taken up the cause, albeit in the face of a lack of political, humanitarian, and spiritual wills. Learn about those listeners in a New England church community that made the trek to the South Bronx for a decade. One may perceive these two communities as radically different; experience the merger of two communities into a single family via the grace of a spiritual ministry.
Think about how you can make a difference—somewhere, sometime, somehow—and discover the difference in your being.
Proceeds from book sales will be directed to an educational fund specifically for the children of St. Ann’s community in the South Bronx.
The story to follow is a living fabric that has its genesis in Amazing Grace  and Ordinary Resurrections , both by Jonathan Kozol. These two books addressed the needs of children who are disadvantaged for life because of their birthplace and their younger years in a segregated environment that has also earned the infamous label of ‘third world equivalence’ and all its innate disadvantages. One would think that, 10 years later, a significant measure of progress would have been made to alleviate these disadvantages that have a life-long impact upon the lives of the children. However, Kozol’s The Shame of the Nation  depicts not only little improvement but also a worsening situation. This story-this special fabric-is also made up of the threads of human kindness and goodness, indivifual and collective spiritual journeys, the belief that life itself is a unique gift, a sharing of a myriad gifts of this life with those in need, a collateral passion [aka ‘the fire in one’s belly’], thanksgiving, a perseverance of character that overcomes these unsought and undeserved disadvantages, faith in a greater power……..,a societal mandate as well as a moral and spiritual. This story certainly provides an answer to that age-old question: “What is the real meaning of life?” It is a story of inspiration, making a difference, mutual enrichment of those in need and those who choose to serve. It is history. More importantly, it is a story of humanity and human goodness. It is a love story. It can also serve as a moral compass. It is a spiritual journey for all involved!
Al Colella believes that an individual can make a difference and that the world provides an abundance of opportunities to do so. This proactive belief comes from fifty years of experience in the arenas of family, community, church, and societal ministries, paralleled by professional/academic careers. Colella lives in Bristol, Rhode Island.
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Use the PDF file with Adobe Acrobat on a personal computer.