Bearing Witness

by Billy Shore

Paris, the day after

Monday, November 16, 2015


Dear Share Our Strength and Community Wealth Partners colleagues
When we left the office Friday afternoon, wishing one another a good weekend, Paris was the way it had been for most of our lives, and almost even before we got home it was another, and will be for much of the rest of our lives. 
There are no words equal to what happened in Paris, but there are actions equal to it – actions of hope, commitment, faith, and love.  You commit such acts every day.  As heavy as my heart is for the people of France, it is heavy for you too because the Paris attacks were an assault on the idealism you embrace and embody, on the belief that doing good matters.  That belief today, in the face of inexplicable evil, is even more important than before.
As you know, restaurants were targeted for many of the attacks. 30 years ago Share Our Strength singled out restaurants as a new source of support for alleviating hunger, poverty and despair – places of joy where those engaged in the culinary community could contribute in a positive way, literally sharing their strength.  As our values are tested, threatened and challenged, the spirit of sharing strength – here at home and around the world –  will be called for again and again.
Shortly after the attacks, my dear friend Carolyn Casey sent me a 1968 speech given by Sargent Shriver, John Kennedy’s brother-in-law who ran the Peace Corps as well as the War on Poverty for President Johnson. @ I found some solace his words:  “Peace is like war: If enough men want it, enough men can cause it. They can cause peace to happen in a leper ward in Asia, in a health center in Alabama, on a lonely island in Alaska, in the Bowery of New York. Each of us has the power to bring peace not only to the world, but to our hearts.  Is peace an impossible goal? A lot of people tell me it is. But I am reminded of what Unamuno (Spanish philosopher) once said: “Unless you strive after the impossible, the possible you achieve will be scarcely worth the effort.”