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Keynote Inspiration

Posted on 11/09/2010 @ 11:27 AM

Meeting Mr. Simon Greer

Read more about The Big EASY through the eyes of a teen participant, Hannah Perry, Omaha, NE.

Our first night, we met with Simon Greer, the CEO & President of The Jewish Funds for Justice. Mr. Greer came to speak with us about what he’s done to save the environment, why we should advocate to conserve it, and what he believed was holding people back from doing that. As the CEO for Jewish Funds for Justice, he had already done many things like preventing a company called Waste Management from building bio-hazardous waste incinerators in poor neighborhoods in California, among others. Even more recently, he’s working with other organizations to help save the Bayou of New Orleans, preventing pollution from killing the wildlife and helping make the oil spill more tolerable for those who slave away cleaning it up every day.

He’s already working on many things to change the world, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else is. During his presentation, he showed us a video called, “Al-Tirah! Fear!” Like Greer, I believe fear holds people back from truly making a change in the world. We naturally fear the unknown, whether it’s “immigrants, gay people, robots or bears,” as Stephen Colbert said. The unknown is a scary thing, like in New Orleans how they thought they were evacuating for three days, then ended up away from their homes for months and ended up in an unknown state of limbo, without a place to live or clothes to wear.

From Mr. Greer’s presentation I learned exactly why things that don’t work, or are unjust to people never change. People must learn to work past their fear and make change happen. When I go home later today, I know exactly what to tell my BBYO council, my peers at school, and all the adults in my life who care to listen. I’ll tell them to stop being so scared to reform their beliefs, and to accept other people without being so afraid of the fact that we don’t understand them or don’t know what the results will be. Thank you, PANIM for helping me reach my goal to learn how to make change happen.

This is the Place to Keep Up With Panim el Panim!

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