The innovations, the really new ideas that profoundly change our hearts, our ways of thinking and, consequently, our structures and our systems, these ideas understandably can no longer come from us. They can only stem from the most disadvantaged people, those who are excluded, outcast, the Fourth World.
They alone have a complete and totally original insight into all that is going wrong with our lives, with our communities. They alone carry all the hopes, all the social and political intuitions that can guide us towards a new society.
Only they who live in darkness really know the significance of light; only they whose very rights are denied really know the meaning of justice and the fulfilment of human rights.
The thirst for a deep renewal that we all carry within us, our longing for the poorest to stand up and take their destiny into their own hands, will not be satisfied solely by the creation of better services, amendments to a law, or the creation of a new type of housing or schooling.
All this is necessary, of course, but it would be fruitless if we ourselves did not engage in the emergency and social housing projects, if we did not meet those who live there, listen to them and hold firm on their ideas.
A man once told me, “I know all about hunger. I could talk about it, but I’m never asked to. When I do talk of my hunger, people just give me food tokens.”
Unless we create new bonds that allow the poorest to believe in us, in our friendship and solidarity, democracy will not progress.
They have to be convinced that society needs them to become more human and fraternal. This is why we must reach out to them and strive together so they might fulfil their role, revealing the true meaning of justice.