Jimmy’s brother, Bill, talks about gaining a new perspective on the international impact of Jimmy’s story, and the frustration that drives him to create safer communities
Late last year, I was invited to take part in a week long trip to India, organised by Leaders Quest, a social enterprise that works with leaders to create a more sustainable world. During this trip I gained a new perspective on the international impact of Jimmy’s story, and in the most unexpected of places.
It was the fourth day and a group of us were on a visit to urban Jaipur to visit three organisations, the third of which was Jaipur Elephant Paper. There we met its founder, Vijendra and his family who make eco-friendly, sustainable paper from 75% Elephant dung in a small factory below the family home. Upon arrival we were greeted by Vijendra and his daughter, and then given a presentation on the process of making the paper. We were all invited to have a go, and when it was almost my turn, I was told to come out of the queue and was directed to a premade frame leaning up against the wall with the words For Jimmy in it. It was a gift from Vijendra, who had learnt of Jimmy’s story before the visit. He explained to me how the story had impacted on him and he spoke about missing a brother he didn’t get to see too often.
“He was where he was supposed to be, in his local bakery on a Saturday afternoon. Like your home or your school, your community is somewhere you should be safe. This is the thing that drives me every day.”
There are so many different aspects of Jimmy’s story that connect with people. Jimmy was a 16-year-old, a son, brother and friend. We can all relate to his story and the idea of loss in a different way. It was really fascinating to see how that story is borderless, with the power to break the divide of culture and language in quite subtle and powerful ways.
The purpose of my time in India was to join leaders from around the world and explore the bridge between cleverness and wisdom. The idea being that the bridge between cleverness and wisdom is compassion. Vijendra’s act of compassion reminded me that what we were doing in Jimmy’s memory mattered.
The trip taught me that we all have moments where we can go from cleverness to wisdom, and for me my moment comes back to when people talk about Jimmy being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and realising that he wasn’t. He was where he was supposed to be, in his local bakery on a Saturday afternoon. Like your home or your school, your community is somewhere you should be safe. This is the thing that drives me every day.