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United We Can founder Ken Lyotier on Vancouver's Jim Green

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United We Can founder Ken Lyotier shared these words at a tribute for Jim Green on Saturday, April 14 at the Orpheum in Vancouver -- Green lost his battle with lung cancer earlier this year.

Jim, and all of us here today were born into a violent world.

- It is a world where tyranny too often rules and where billions live in poverty and suffering.

- It is a world where ignorance and greed destroy nature,
- where children perish for want of food and clean water,
- and where toxic waste piles up around our cities everywhere.

It is a difficult world - one that does not open itself easily to change -

A world that sometimes seems to pit us against each other in a kind of ruthless competition to feed global systems that throw millions out of work, out of homes, out of schools, out of community, out of life.

-Systems that threaten health,

-systems that threaten security,

-systems that threaten to destroy us,

destroy our fellow creatures,

and destroy our mother nature.

It is in this kind of world that we work - that he worked -

Believing as he did, that it is possible to shape our futures by our own efforts - knowing in fact, that we are the only ones who can change the systems that oppress and threaten us.

There is a kind of strength that Jim had, maybe that all agents of change have

- a kind of moral courage

- a quality stronger than the brute in us and more hopeful than the cleverest of our technical achievements.

This kind of strength does not grovel to please the popular opinion or feign humility to cover its hubris.

It stands in the face of ridicule, amid mistakes, and commits to persevere.

It recognizes that it is human imperfection that makes humanity loveable.

It says - that because of this - because we are human,
- because we are imperfect, - because we are loveable
- and -

perhaps sometimes, even in spite of this - that we really can make a better world.

I think that Jim believed this and would not think it unusual if we were to begin to see ourselves this way.

- not so much trying to be good, but at least being real, as he has been real to us. This is always the first step in changing anything.

He would probably say, that if we could,

- even for day,

- even for a moment,

- truly see each other as we are,

- brothers and sisters, all of us

- we might soon overcome each other's immaturities and even get past a few of our own

- then we could -and can - and will - build a better world together.

I think he would have welcomed that.

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