The following is an Op-Ed piece by Elyse Bruce, Founder and Creator of the MIDNIGHT IN CHICAGO initiative. MIDNIGHT IN CHICAGO does not endorse any political party , political leader, political candidate or politician.
My friends, love is better than anger.
Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair.
So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.
And we’ll change the world.
Leader of the Opposition
1950 – 2011
Early yesterday morning, Canadians at home and abroad learned that Jack Layton succumbed to cancer at 4:45 AM. Whether you agreed or disagreed with the New Democratic Party, the fact remains that Jack Layton left an impact on the landscape of Canadian politics. But more than that, he left a legacy that speaks to the compassion and empathy he, as an individual, felt for others especially the underdog, the disadvantaged, the disabled, the immigrant, and more.
Two days before his passing, he took pen to paper and wrote a heartfelt letter to Canadians in the hopes that they would rise up and work together to make this world a better place in which to live. This wasn’t a letter about politics as much as it was a letter about humanity.
To those who suffer from cancer as he did, he wrote:
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.
Even in the last few hours of his life, he thought to comfort and encourage others who fight valiantly against all forms of cancer. He wanted to make sure others could see the figurative good health lifeboats on the horizon. He wanted to give those with cancer and their families a reason to keep on fighting the good fight each and every day.
To the youth of Canada, many of whom are disenchanted with what the power of one can do to change the world in which we live one small effort at a time, he wrote:
There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.
But most importantly, he wrote these words that resonate with people around the world tonight:
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
Not much will change in the days to come. Jack Layton will be laid to rest on Saturday with a State funeral. The NDP will choose a new party leader. Hopefully the one thing that will count is that Jack Layton’s words will inspire others to pick up where he left off and to do things that will change the world for the better … to Make It Count, regardless of what “it” might be.
Early yesterday morning, Canadians at home and abroad learned that Jack Layton succumbed to cancer at 4:45 AM. Whether you agreed or disagreed with the New Democratic Party, the fact remains that Jack Layton was Jack Layton and for that reason alone, the world is a much better place because he was actively involved in making this world a much better place while he was living among us.
Founder and Creator
MIDNIGHT IN CHICAGO