Saleem Chapman's SustainPHL speech will pick you up if you're feeling low - Generocity Philly

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Aug. 22, 2016 10:52 am

Saleem Chapman’s SustainPHL speech will pick you up if you’re feeling low

"What our path for equality demands is that we do not simply look at the way the world is and why, but that we look at the way the world should be and ask why not?"

Saleem Chapman receives a SustainPHL award in 2016.

(Photo by Julie Zeglen)

Sustainable Business Network‘s Saleem Chapman understands that real social change happens with time and patience.

It’s a concept the advocate and lobbyist knows intimately as he leads the fight to create economic equality from the sustainability front.

That’s easier said than done, and when Chapman, a constant cheerleader for the impact community, won the inaugural SustainPHL award for Local Advocate, he took the opportunity to remind the audience that what they’re doing is indeed making a difference.

Chapman made sure to let his fellow nominees know that “there is no effort not worth celebrating or applauding” between them, and continued to thank SBN for the opportunity to pursue his “childhood dream.”

“As a young boy in West Philadelphia, like many who find themselves in economic distress and serve poverty do, my eyes attuned to the possibilities that lied beyond the fog of my uncertain future,” he said. “But even then I knew that the best things I could do for my people when I was rich were to endeavor after those things I entertained when I was poor.”

Then, Chapman hit ’em with a kicker.

The young lobbyist has a knack for knowing how to push fellow impact makers when they’re running on empty, and in his SustainPHL speech, Chapman let the sustainability community know they’re moving the needle forward — no matter how Sisyphean a task that can feel:

“I wouldn’t be the advocate you have believed me to be if I didn’t take this opportunity to challenge us to push further, to expand the reach of our cause. Because our success is dependent not on the changing of minds of those in high office, but a critical mass of ordinary people committing themselves to extraordinary acts of courage. And there will be a certain amount of people who will doubt their capacity to bring about change and I tell you to tell them this: Continue to do what you’ve always done, to continue to dream more, to imagine something better, to think about what lies beyond the clouds of uncertainty because what will ultimately define us, what our path for equality demands is that we do not simply look at the way the world is and why but that we look at the way the world should be and ask why not.”

Preach.

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Tony Abraham

Tony Abraham is Technically Media's special projects reporter, where he currently edits Technical.ly's Grow PA series. He reports for both Technical.ly and Generocity and was a Philly News Award winner for Community Reporting of the Year in 2016. A proud native of Allentown, Pa., the Temple University alumnus calls Fishtown home.

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