The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.
Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have A Dream, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963
I have just a few pages left to read in my reading of A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis.
Yes, he has a point of view. (Which author does not have a point of view?). But the book is such a clear chronicle of the ways that people who have want to keep as much as they possibly can, and people who have not, and are not heeded, have to resort to actions to get the attention of others. They have to resort to actions because their words and their pleas go so unheeded..
The history of labor strikes, and other labor actions, chronicled in this book, is a gripping history. And it provides a tutorial on the reality of the use of political power.
It also provides a reminder that after every victory, the “losing” side wants to take part of that victory away; thus, the need for perpetual vigilance, and ongoing – always ongoing—organizing.
I read at least one book a month that falls under the general category of “Social Justice” books. I read these books, and prepare synopses of them, for the Urban Engagement Book Club (a monthly book-focused gathering), sponsored by CitySquare in Dallas. I’ve been at this for over a dozen years. And, it has provided me with a much-needed education. I have learned so much about poverty; racism; incarceration issues; education issues; health care issues; gender inequality issues…all of the issues that fall under the general category of social justice.
Recently, I mentioned to a quite conservative man, a man with prominence and influence in Dallas, that in my “book work” I present book synopses on books dealing with social justice. He said: “Social Justice…I don’t know. I don’t get it.”
I wish he would read some of the books that I present at this monthly event. He might get it then.
Here’s one current observation, prompted by my reading and reflecting. It echoes the quote above from Dr. King. We really are in this together. And whenever we are “divided” by class, or ethnicity, or gender, it hurts our society, our communities, our world. As Dr. King put it: “we cannot walk alone.”
Take a good look at the books listed in the flier attached below. Pick out one or two or six books… Read a little more often outside of your comfort zone. It might open up your world a little. It has done that for me.
And, if you are in the Dallas area on a third Thursday of the monthly (noon; near downtown Dallas), come join us as we delve deeply into one of these books.