Organizations come and go, just like businesses, here today, gone tomorrow. There are many organizations in Greensboro, some better known than others—for a variety of reasons. I had to stop and wonder why? Could it be that some organizations are located on the right side of town? Or is it because some of these places have flat screens in the lobby and an espresso, latte, cappuccino, coffeemaker for their walk-ins? If these are the material things that symbolize the service worth of an organization to the community, then American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) of Greensboro should not be an organization listed in your smart phone.
AFSC’s Greensboro office has none of the flashy office items that you’ll find in most 21st century offices. AFSC’s area coordinator, Ann Lennon and project director, Lori Fernald Khamala, share a modest four-room office; although space is a premium, you wouldn’t know it by the parade of revolving college interns, community volunteers, and a trail of ants, literally. “Yes,” ants.
What you will find behind Lori's and Ann's unassuming smiles are two dedicated, intelligent, humanitarian leaders. Both women have far greater issues than ants that occupy their focus. Things like, North Carolina immigrant rights issues for people of color, addressing concerns about global poverty, social injustice and the cost of war. Oh, and those ants, I view their presence as an indication for us humans to fall in step with AFSC as I have done.
As a Guilford College intern at AFSC, this spring, I was exposed to many of these over-looked social violations that effect many groups of people in our neighboring communities. In my opinion, Ann and Lori do more than operate a local organization. They stand up and are a vocal public voice that confronts systemic political bullying.
I am forever changed, forever grateful, and forever a courageous leader. So, if I happen see a trail of ants. I know it’s okay because a good leader must have followers, even if only ants.