The Affero Blog
I hear this question repeatedly when I attempt to explain what the Affero Project is doing. I often get so wrapped up in what we’re doing that I gloss right over what the name actually means.
I think we forget sometimes how important names can be. I’m sure if you ask your parents there is some story that explains why you were named what you were named. Maybe it connects you back to a family member or friend of the family, rooting you in tradition or hoping that the individual’s noblest of traits become a part of your character.
Perhaps you hate your name and the whole idea of being connected back to your heritage makes your skin crawl and because of this, you make up a story. Perhaps you like to imagine that in traffic riddled drive to the hospital your future parents were struggling against the wave of cars to bring you into this world in a delivery room and not a taxi cab. Perhaps two cars over, former astronaut Randall Freewater* sees your perilous plight and decides to use his engineering skills and charming personality to direct traffic in order for your parents to clearly navigate towards their destination. Because of this scenario your parents have named you Randall. This story makes you feel much more at peace with your name than the story where they named you after your dad’s cousin Randy whom he had recently been on a fishing trip with and caught the largest bass of his life.
This is all to say that a name carries a lot of weight to it, whether you are naming your intramural softball team or your car, you want a name that means something and connects you to an idea that is bigger than yourself. Affero is no different in this respect; the name was not chosen just because it sounded cool or would look good on a bumper sticker or t-shirt. (Although all of those things happen to be true)
In a nutshell Affero means; to contribute, to bring about change, to proclaim, to empower. That seems like a lot of work for such a little word, but that’s exactly why it fits the projects ideas. Too many times I think we feel as if we are too small to overcome injustice in our world, that we are essentially powerless and tiny.
When we join together though, we can leave behind our inferiority and sense of smallness. We can bring about real change and empower people who need our help. When you contribute whatever you can, and that’s added to your dad’s cousin Randy contributing whatever he can, and that’s added to former astronaut Randall Freewater contributing whatever he can, it starts to add up. And that’s what the word Affero means.
To be honest I had no clue what the word affero meant until I did a little research. However, once I found out I knew I needed to share it. Words exploded out of me and onto my laptop screen. That’s just kind of how my brain works, I love to dive into things I don’t know about, find out everything I can about them and share it all with others. I’m hoping that future posts find me exploring ideas, people, places and the world that I don’t know, and coming back here to share it with all of you. I look forward to getting to know all of you.
*Former astronaut Randall Freewater may or may not exist solely for the purpose of this post.