No one picks the the date, time, and place of their birth

No one should be judged by the date, time, and place of their birth.

The house we are born into is a dynamic that none of us can control, yet virtually everyone is labeled to some degree by their unique point of entry into this world. Thus, it is ironically easy to describe people that we don’t actually know.

My experiences at Pine Ridge have been transformative in this regard. Across dozens of trips to the reservation I have come to know lots of people there. As a result, I see what systemic oppression does to a community filled with otherwise amazing human beings. In the absence of this direct connectivity I would likely make many incorrect assumptions about the people of the Rez.

No one picks the the date, time, and place of their birth quote bubble

Many residents of Pine Ridge are low-income, so that must mean they aren’t hardworking.

The school dropout rates are high, so that must mean education is not valued there.

I know that these assumptions are not true because of the time I have invested in getting to know the people who live there. Their community, just like yours, is filled with thoughtfulness, resilience, love, and talent.

I hope my time at Pine Ridge has broken the barriers of assumption in two directions. As a statistic, I am the white male CEO / 1 percent guy that you read about. It would be equally easy to label me—unless we’ve met.

No one should be judged by the date, time, and place of their birth.

Writing carved into rockside