Pay for someone who is yet to come
How to change the world is a question that we are immersed in daily at Acumen. We ask how because we believe and have seen that there is a need for change in our world. We do not fool ourselves that it is easy, but we believe we must try.
A podcast by Maya Angelou particularly resonated with me as poignantly relevant to these questions that are core to Acumen’s mission and vision, and that we each wrestle with daily. She is addressing an audience of MacArthur and Rhodes and Zuckerman scholars:
“Young men and women, it is important for you to know that you are worth it. In fact, all your lives have already been paid for. It is imperative that you know, singly know it… Whether the ancestors came from Ireland in the 1840’s trying to escape the potato blight. Whether they came from Eastern Europe trying to escape the pogroms. Whether they came from Asia in the 1850’s to build a country, to build the railroads, their spouses not legally allowed to join them for eight decades… Whether they came from South America trying to find a better place, a better land, so that they could make a better life, better lives for themselves and their progeny. Whether they came fom Africa lying spoon fashion in the filthy hatches of slave ships. They have already paid for you.
Without any chance of ever knowing what your faces would look like, what personalities you would carry, what dreams, what magnificent breakthroughs you would make. You have already been paid for.
And then, all you have to do is prepare yourselves. Always prepare yourselves so that you can go out and pay for someone who is yet to come.”
Stephanie Bridges is a Portfolio Senior Associate at Acumen Fund, focusing on the health sector.