Susan Goodenough: Helping people help themselves |

Susan Goodenough: Helping people help themselves

In going through some family papers I came across a quote from a letter, written by my mother-in-law, to a newspaper just after the Watts riot.

She wrote, “The only way to solve (the problems of those left behind in America’s growth) is to sit down with our fellow citizens who are suffering and let them tell us how to help them help themselves. Let us — and it does not take college degrees to know how to sit down and talk over problems. It just takes people physically, emotionally and, let’s hope spiritually, frightened enough to know that all the police, guns and gas solve nothing. There is no solution in hate. Each of us has but a short time to live. Let us leave this country a better place for our efforts, in exchange for the wonderful gift of life itself …”

She was a remarkable woman who spent 20 years in the nonprofit field helping people to help themselves. I wonder what she would be thinking about America now. I think she would be disappointed that we haven’t come far enough, but would also still hope that change is still possible.

Susan Goodenough

Grass Valley

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