View this post on Instagram
"The Ali family has been TimeBank members for years, with their sons earning hundreds of hours helping seniors and doing community work. In 2015 an arsonist burned down their garage and badly damaged the house. They’ve been slowly rebuilding as they’ve been able to purchase supplies. The parents are Yemeni immigrants and the mother doesn’t speak any English and the father is out of work. A TimeBank member helped them get some of the supplies needed to secure the back of the house and a partner organization made a pick up truck available for picking up those supplies. A few months into rebuilding they were threatened with a city ticket for debris from the fire, a ticket they could not afford. TimeBank members jumped into action. We organized to have a group work day to help bag and stack the remaining debris. Mr. Ali said that after we left he and his wife just sat down and laughed, for the first time in weeks, at how crazy it was that all these people, black people, white people, Christian people, Jewish people, Muslim people, that they didn’t know, or barely knew, just appeared seemingly from nowhere to help them do all that work." - Unity In Our Community TimeBank, Michigan bridgingcommunities.org/who-we-are.html #timebankingis #community #50storiesin50days #timebanks #storytelling #timeasmoney #detroit #cleanup #yemeni
Reflection by Edgar Cahn
Today, as I read this story, New Zealand comes to mind. You may ask: “What could New Zealand possibly have to do with a Yemini couple living in Michigan?” I was recalling an earlier trip to New Zealand. It had been a celebration: the tenth anniversary of the critical role that TimeBanking had played in helping that nation recover from a major earthquake. TimeBank pioneers, Margaret Jeffries, Helen Dew, and their band of change agents had played a critical role, piggy-backing and transforming the process of physical recovery into a more fundamental renewal: using TimeBanking to make a commitment to life and life forces, to renewal of community, and a rejection of colonial materialism and ethnic subordination.
But this year, in 2019, the values, celebrated by that continued renewal had just been threatened by an act of intentional and explicit racism. A white supremacist had just murdered 49 Muslims at prayer. His act was intended to put in jeopardy the trust, the connectedness and the historic healing that New Zealanders were using the TimeBanking movement to renew and advance. He had sought to dismantle an extraordinary ecosystem of care, respect, and interdependence that New Zealanders had been intentionally fashioning from different cultures, old and new.
He failed. His action violated more than the criminal law. We now understood his action as amounting to an act of sacrilege. We became conscious that what we were doing by seemingly small actions constituted our way of affirming a higher order – one that requires us to respect our continuing debt to each other, to other species, and to the planet.
So my first thought upon encountering this Michigan story was how, by embracing the Ali family, the Michigan TimeBank was affirming our common humanity, advancing the healing, affirming the love, rekindling the trust, and renewing the determination to affirm the same life forces that I saw in New Zealand. They are global and fundamental.
On March 23rd, TimeBanks around the world will celebrate International TimeBanking Day as an assertion that we have the capacity to create, renew, and strengthen a world which enables every living being to honor and advance the capacity of every other living being to be all that it can be.
Yes. There will be earthquakes. Yes. There will be violent, twisted spirits in Michigan and in New Zealand that undertake to destroy that balance. But together, there is resilience. We shall overcome by reaffirming and renewing the bonds that sustain us all on this tiny, fragile planet.
May this note be regarded as my personal prayer: for the restoration, the healing, the renewal that comes when we are reminded both by celebration and by tragedy of how precious and miraculous life is – moment by moment.