City of Maitland (FL) Council Meeting
25 January 2016

Simon Bravo (380 words)

Thank you for this opportunity to "invoke" a minority point of view. Each of us is a minority in some way. It might be race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, or any other aspect in which we may be regarded as different. Each of us is also part of some majority. It is when we wear our majority hats that we need to be most mindful of how we treat others. We must pledge our best efforts to help one another, and to defend the rights of all of our citizens and residents.

What divides us is not so much our religious differences in this diverse country, but the degree of commitment we have to equal freedom of conscience for all people. Only those remarks that regard the common interests of all in attendance—and not just to the beliefs of some—can embrace the entire room, can speak on behalf of the community as a whole, and will be shared by all those who know Maitland as our Maitland.

We are gathered today, both naturalist and super-naturalist members of our community, with the shared belief that we must treat our fellow human beings with respect and dignity. In this invocation, I don't ask you to close your eyes, but to keep your eyes constantly open to the serious problems that city government can solve or improve. I don't ask you to bow your heads, but to look up at what you can accomplish by applying your considerable talents and experience to the issues that confront us.

As you work together on behalf of all who live in this city, may you draw strength and sustenance from one another through reason and compassion. Your decisions are important to me and my family: we live in Maitland; my wife teaches at a local school, the same school my daughter attends; we play tennis at the Maitland Community Park; we buy our oranges at Hollieanna Groves; and we vote right here in Downtown Maitland. So your Maitland is our Maitland. And that is a happy fact of this natural world.

I'd like to close by quoting a brief definition of peace by the great Benito Juárez: “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others means peace.”

Thank you very much.