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Dignity all around


Updated: May 28, 2022

Simply put, justice space is needed because racial segregation and color lines still exist. Not in the way they once did under Jim Crow laws, but there remains very real ways segregation is present in our society.

Since the Civil Rights Movement over 50 years ago, we have surely seen some change. The black middle-class grew, access to higher education and a wider range of jobs became available and, in theory, black and brown folks can go where they like, do anything they like, and live anywhere they like.

And yet, the reality of things shows us that is not the lived experience for many in our country.

Elementary, middle, and high schools are mostly very predominantly either white children or black/brown children. For some real reflection on this topic, watch

Neighborhoods, of course, the same.

White people still most often run large corporations and smaller businesses. Many people have a circle of friends only of the same skin color or background.

America is slowly coming to terms with the ingrained supremacy of being white, of the systems within our society that continue to fuel segregation and inequality through practice rather than laws (and sometimes still laws less obvious), and Americans want better for our country. Americans want the words “liberty and justice for all” to be our practice, not just our creed.

Yet we find it challenging to know what to do…how to cross these invisible yet real color lines and do it in a meaningful, transformative way.

Dignity in Action aims to have a Just Creating Space, where we can journey together, create together, and grow together. Where the space is created by all and for all.

It is necessary for us to do life differently; to make conscious choices to open doors, walk through new doors, and invite each other to join in the journey of creating a genuinely just and equitable society.

Let's start here and now.

Journey with us. Click here to let us know you are coming along!

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Updated: May 28, 2022

To answer a question like “What is Justice Space”, it will be useful to name what it is NOT.

It is not white space.

The concept of black space and white space is detailed in an article by Elijah Anderson of Yale University titled “The White Space”, published by the American Sociological Association in 2014.

White space, as described in the article, is not necessarily defined as such by white people. White folks think of this space as just restaurants, public parks, churches and other associations, neighborhoods, and schools. White people may even think of these places as diverse, as there may be folks from various backgrounds or other countries. But to a black person entering one of these spaces, it will be noticeable to them that the vast majority are not black and may therefore feel cautious or uncomfortable and disinclined to frequent the space. There may be subtle or overt actions or comments that indicate that the black person’s presence is unexpected or unwelcome.

Justice Space is not only for the wealthy or accomplished. It is not only for the poor or unskilled. It is not only for those who identify as straight or those who identify as queer. It is not only for the older or the young.

It is not a place where the “haves” give to the “have nots”.

Justice Space, then, is space where folks wearing various shades or ages of skin feel safe, comfortable, and part of a community that supports them. Where the voices of those typically marginalized by society are heard, respected, and acted upon. Where equity is the foundational structure.

Justice Space recognizes that every person has gifts, talents and resources, allows for those gifts and talents to be seen, and facilitates the sharing of those as each person wishes. It is a place for genuine interactions, learning and growth. It is space where “mistakes” are learning, where trying something new doesn’t feel so scary, where gratitude and appreciation for each person flows freely. Where the worth and dignity of each person is upheld.

It is space where folks are creating their best life and contributing to a healthier, more equitable community.

Let’s create justice space in our communities. Join with Dignity in Action to create such space.

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There was a quote in Sunday's church service that captured my imagination.

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”Gustav Mahler

With so much of my time spent with the long-term homeless in the winter months at Summit Warm Hearts, the place this quote took me is a place that weighs heavy on my heart and inspires my actions.

At Summit Warm Hearts, a daytime warming center, I slowly learn the guests' stories. They reveal, little by little, stories of childhood, experiences in school, failed relationships, issues with substance abuse, and in some cases, how mental illness plagues them.

A common theme is failure. Failure of their parents to raise them in a secure home. Failures learning in school. Failed romantic relationships that devastated them. Jobs that they couldn't keep. Interviews that went nowhere. Arrests. Sometimes jail time. So many instances where they failed again and again and ended up homeless. And remain homeless for many years.

These are the things that come to define them, externally and internally. Worship of ashes.

But in these stories, there are also glimpses of the fire. Attending college. The fierce love of children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents. Pride of past work. The love of cooking. Playing school sports. The preservation of fire.

That is my hope. That we -- as individuals, as a community, as a society -- can learn better how to preserve the fire, not worship the ashes.

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