Walter Jaques is a guy who lives what he talks. He doesn’t talk about social injustice. He fixes it. One person, one block, one city street at a time.
In today’s world of Facebook, Instagram, and texting, it is easy for us to talk about social injustice, to pound our first on the virtual social media table and say “this is not right”. We can gather at a local brew pub and lament over social injustice, drink fresh ground coffee from a local roaster who buys first hand from Egyptian coffee growers while we plan marches against government power abuses, hunch over our cell phones and group-attack our favorite villain/politician, or travel to third world countries on trips to save the starving and poor – or we can do what Walter does – we can get off our butts, get into our local communities, and help others in need. Right here. Right now. Without running a race to raise funds for our trip. Without posting our accomplishments on Instagram.
Walter lives by what he preaches. You might catch Walter out laying bricks at a neighborhood school so they kids have places to sit. He might be pouring concrete so a poor person in a wheelchair can get to the grocery store. You might stumble upon him at a local wildlife refuge, picking up trash. You may even hear him speak about his low-cost designs for solar panels, rainwater barrels, or other conservation efforts.
Walter does’t go around spouting his opinions about hunger in Africa or the injustice of third world countries or the unfairness of big business. Instead he hunkers down, grits his teeth, and digs in to help people around him who are less fortunate, one person at a time, on brick at a time, one social injustice at a time.
Walter and I are on the opposite end of the political spectrum. I highly doubt we vote for the same candidates. Our backgrounds are quite different. We actually have very little in common. We have different ideas about how to fix the problems of society. Our passions are quite different – save one – photography. I met Walter quite a few years ago at a Metro Camera Club meeting. Since that time we have remained friends. We don’t really agree much on politics so we just keep our conversations to our passion for photography.
Despite our differences, Walter is someone I highly admire. He has his own strong convictions, he believes in those convictions, he doesn’t pound the table and demand that others believe like him, he doesn’t boast on Facebook of his every accomplishment or take a selfie every time he fixes a sidewalk or photographs a challenging subject.
No, Walter is a doer, not a talker. He just fixes stuff and follows his convictions. Locally. Right in his own neighborhood and city. One solution at a time.
We should all aspire to be more like Walter.