DAYL President’s Page
The Power of Our Own Caring
Just over a year ago, my wife Rachael and I lost a friend in an accident. His loss was quick and unexpected. A complete shock, even. But we were left with a surprising privilege: in his absence, our friendship with his partner blossomed. We have witnessed only a fraction of his sorrow. But we are now in awe at the poetry that has come from his pain.
Last month, we learned that our friend had begun mass-producing dinners in his kitchen, boxing them up, and delivering them to homeless folks in Dallas. All at his own expense, which he has gotten down to $1.00-$1.15 per meal, thankyouverymuch. He also recently signed up to join our Aid to the Homeless Committee the evening of January 24 for the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance’s Homeless Count.
This prompted me to ask him about his meal drive and how DAYL could help. After a brief discussion of logistics, our friend explained why he began cooking meals for total strangers: “I’ve become very sensitive to other people’s pain…It’s difficult to explain, but when I saw the pain they were going through, I could relate. Our pain is different, mine being the loss of [my partner] and theirs being hunger, both just as strong to each individual, but different in type.”
Aside from our friend’s eloquence, the only thing more impressive than his kindness is his wisdom. His words above remind all of us of truths that are self-evident, but sadly forgotten. We are all connected. We are all responsible. And we are all so, so capable. Each of us is capable of generosity, compassion, and courage that can explain our world’s greatest miracles.
Last year, our Immediate Past President, Jennifer Ryback, led all of us to answer a simple question: Why DAYL? The many answers are too long to list, but here’s one that inspires me: it’s a tremendous vehicle– a vessel– for good. I’ve seen more people than I can count pass through the DAYL, and I have seen the tremendous good achieved because of it. I’ve seen a new member suddenly rise to lead a coat drive across 20+ law firms that collects enough coats and blankets to fill three SUV’s and provide comfort and warmth to hundreds of our neighbors in need. I’ve witnessed our Elder Law committee march into an elder care and rehab center to present an annual ice cream social and bingo night, bringing joy and dignity to dozens of elderly rehab patients who probably have more fun in one night than they may have the rest of the year. And I’ve watched our Lawyers Against Domestic Violence committee’s co-chairs conspire to raise thousands of dollars, buy a huge playground set with the money, and then construct the playground for Mosaic Family Services, an area shelter for refugee and immigrant victims of domestic violence.
The power of our members– of YOU– to impact true good and meaningful change is beyond our measure. Lawyers are problem solvers. Young lawyers are the most creative and productive problem solvers. Your gift for bringing light to the darkness is hardly fake news. I urge you not to shrink from this possibility– this charge– to unleash the immense power of our own caring. To change a life, to fix a problem, to heal a wound.
Our community’s need for your help is immense. Over 35% of children in Dallas live in poverty– and that’s the second-highest child poverty rate among large US cities. Children as young as 3 appear without an attorney for deportation hearings along our southern border. The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (“DVAP”) reports struggles to staff its weekly walk-in clinics across Dallas. The list goes on and on.
Our work must start now and build on the work of decades of young lawyer leaders in DAYL. We can address these problems and solve these issues together. Join us. We need your help! Come to our Pro Bono Starter Kit program at noon on January 24 at the Belo Mansion to learn how you can help someone in need of pro bono legal services. Join DAYL that same evening for the Homeless Count. Or, heck, come to a meeting of one of our 30+ committees and special interest groups. Come to a committee with a new idea and rally your colleagues to make it a reality. Join us at our social on January 31, or shoot a quick note to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), any member of our Board (http://www.dayl.com/board-of-directors/), or our Executive Director, Cherie Harris (CherieH@dayl.com) to ask how you can help.
We don’t have much time– our time together, and our window of opportunity to help others and to change lives, is painfully short. The DAYL stands ready to give us that chance. Let’s #BuildDAYL together in 2019!