Working Within Your Power

By Ellie Hitt

“God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

….and the insanity to pursue what I know to be increasingly difficult.

Though I am not religious, I’ve been pondering the quote (and my addendum) a lot lately in a world that seems increasingly outside of my control--a world in which I wake up each morning to the news of another set of rights stripped from one group or peoples to the next.

I’ve been swinging between poles all week. Empowerment to disempowerment. Felicity to frustration. Action to inaction.

I’ve spent time thinking about how to manage the conditions I find myself in and trying to categorize what I do and do not have control over.

This is not a form of acceptance. It’s a concerted effort to distinguish between perceived problems in an attempt to plan better for the things I can control. It is a calling to look deep within myself to realize what I believe and just how deeply I believe in it to distinguish what I will do to ensure the world I live in encourages my generation’s boundless potential.

I’m fired up. Our Urban Refuge team is fired up. With the launch in Amman coming closer with each passing day, I can’t help but to cling to the insanity that we all share that some ideas and all people are worth fighting for.  Just because we cannot control everything, does not mean we do not have power to make a difference.  Working on Urban Refuge has taught me there is much within my power to make an impact and change things for the better.   

Just because we cannot fix a broken international system that seems to be turning its back on refugees and displaced peoples in a day, doesn’t mean we should not try. Just because we can’t single handedly end a civil war or drastically alter systems of aid delivery with an application, doesn’t mean we should not try. Just because we cannot always convince our elected representatives to listen to our voice, does not mean we should not shout.

Every day, we must do what is in our power to create the world that reflects our values. The sheer size of a movement does not dictate its success so we must increasingly work together to strategize, organize, and practice open dissent against injustice that threatens the rights not only of ourselves but of others. We must learn to be more effective allies and to put our bodies on the line in defense of others. We must work within our spheres of influence, within and without institutions and politics, and with each other to learn best practices and build empathy.

We must never succumb and always fight to overcome. We must unite with our commonalities rather than let ourselves be divided by our differences.  Respect, empathy, and love cannot be signed away or blacked out with the stroke of one man’s pen.