We’re prepping for the clean up weekend. We are getting out the rakes, reserving a dumpster, emailing old friends and telling them to come by. The clean-up of these homes is a nice tangible way to participate in the Write A House project, putting us actually on the ground with the homes and neighborhoods we are working with. It is a reminder that our goals are very simple, we are a not “big solution” organization, we are focused on providing very small solutions, one at a time. This is not to say we don’t believe we can’t be effective or have impact. I was reading a great article in the New York Review of Books called “The Man Who Shaped History” about Aryeh Neier:
and in the article it described how Amnety International made a point initially of not being an organization that worked on the large theoretical issues of human rights, but rather focused instead on the specific peaceful individuals who were being held by oppressive regimes. In staying focused, they did end up becoming emblematic of the larger cause of human rights, but that was because they let the specific define the general, which meant that the general was rooted in the real, actionable, human issues, not lofty idealism.
At our most ambitious, by working on the specific, we hope to help raise up awareness of the general. First though we gotta fill these dumpsters.