Ezra Schomberg:  Remembering to Turn on the Light    

The major social concern that I have is the number of world governments that do not provide basic necessities to their citizens. Our planet produces more than enough food to provide nutritious sustenance for everyone, but, because the distribution system is so unfairly skewed, there are huge areas across the planet that struggle to have enough food to go around.  I am also greatly concerned about the homeless pandemic. There are enough housing units in the U.S. to house everyone. We have more vacant houses than homeless people in our country.  It is possible to provide housing for those unable to provide it for themselves, but the government chooses not to do so. This points to some of the other issues in our country: the minimum but not livable wage, as well as the incredibly high prices of housing, healthcare and education. If there was a way I could change the world, I would like to see the world’s resources properly distributed and for housing to be made available to those unable to afford it, and to have the leaders of countries respond more effectively to those who are struggling, making sure that they provide for their own citizens.

In order to figure out how to respond to these issues, I first had to figure out where I stood financially and socially in the world. This allows me to make sure that I take my bias into account when I think about the lives of others and what it would be like to live the way they do.  Secondly, I took what opportunities I could to learn about the lives of those living in crisis through volunteer groups as well as through my peers and teachers. This allows me to broaden and deepen my understanding of the challenges that people living in poverty or struggling with other crises face daily. Then I had to figure out how exactly I would respond to this information. The largest factor that helped me here was the community that I grew up and live in. This community pushed me to be empathetic, to help where I could, to lend a hand or a word of encouragement, to never turn someone away, and to always help. I embraced that philosophy and strive to do that daily. This has led to, I believe, making me a better person and has helped me to create a positive personality.  In no way is this static.  I am constantly changing and shifting, as are we all, but, at the time of writing this, these have been the largest factors in my life.

I do not believe in god or any all powerful being. I do however believe in the teachings set forth in the Christian faith, at least those that have been taught to me. While I do not worship god, I do have faith in the congregation of Peace church. The community, the love, the compassion, and the sharing of the congregation is what I believe in. To me, it is this group of people who push me to be my best self, to care for others, and to help whenever possible. So that is what I see as my link between my faith and action: having a group of people to push you to be the best you can, in a supportive and kind way.

The quote that stays with me is:  “Light can be found even in the darkest of places if only one remembers to turn on the light,” said by Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. To me it says that there are always some positive things that can be found, and that despite the darkness that you may be in, light will come through. It also says to me that if someone cannot find that light switch, guide them to it or, if they cannot even do that, be their light. Offer them kindness, shine through their darkness and into their life. This quote is the basis for what I currently want to do with my life.  After graduating from high school, I am going into the Americorps to be that light in people’s life.  After that, I  plan to pursue a career in paramedics to help those in need. While I believe that giving people in need monetary assistance is very important, actual human kindness and compassion are even more valuable. So that is what I want to do: lend people my kindness and help them when they are in need.

~Interviewed by Bill Mittlefehldt