Gracie Reaux, former LYS Staffer and member of the Five Year Club, is spending a year abroad living and working in Australia. She wrote the below Tuesday as she ached for her city and state as she wished she could be with the incredible youth of Louisiana at the Louisiana Youth Seminar.
As I've sat a world away from home, I've been nothing but speechless for the past few weeks - a rarity for me if you know me. Seeing my sweet Baton Rouge on the international news not once but twice in such a short time has been harrowing. I find it no coincidence, however, that on the same day as the most recent tragedy in BR, over 300 Louisiana high school students were starting their journey of a week at the Louisiana Youth Seminar where No Man Is An Island is the theme song every year. In a time where there is more darkness than light, more sorrow than happiness, more hate than love, 300+ students from every race, religion, socioeconomic background and region of our state are being brought together and taught these words. More importantly, they're being taught to LIVE these words. Taught that regardless of the aforementioned human characteristics, each man's joy is joy to them and each man's grief is their own. My heart has been breaking for my state and that I'm not in a red shirt and white shorts holding the youth of our sweet Louisiana tight this week in a time of so much anger, confusion, heartbreak and tension. But I'm hopeful because a place like LYS exists. Because at the end of this week, I know those 300+ delegates will leave taking each man's grief as their own. They will leave changed for the better because LYS is a place where they can speak freely about their burdens and their trials. But most importantly, they will be taught that the only way to overcome is to do it TOGETHER. They will leave understanding that we NEED one another, now more than ever. And not only that, they will go on to teach their classmates and teachers and parents and one day, their children, that message. And that's a lesson I feel confident in - especially when it's being taught to the future of our state and nation. Finally, they'll leave having pledged to defend each man as their brother and each man as their friend. Something we should all do today and everyday and a bit more often these days. So if you have ever read #NMIAI and wondered...this...this is why I love my LYS. ️#callingBatonRouge #prayersfortheUSA
Gracie, thank you for sharing such powerful words with us from afar. Your LYS family misses you!