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Thursday, June 12, 2008


Picture of poor families who participated in the Poor People's Campaign in Washington D.C. This campaign, which was led by Reverend Ralph Abernathy and other people close to Reverend Doctor King began June 19th, 1968, one hundred and three years after slavery had official ended in the state of Texas, and three months after Reverend Doctor King had been assassinated in Memphis Tennessee... what happened to the hopes and dreams of those time (Are they still blowing in the wind?)

Let me begin this post by sharing with you the editorial by Leonard Pitts which was published this Thursday, June 12, in the Tacoma News Tribune, hard copy and website editions:

One of the gifts I get frequently as a chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital is the opportunity to listen to poor people of very race who comes there for help...
Frequently they share with me stories about gender/race/economics effects their lives...

Often, as I reflect on the struggles and triumphs of the lives of the people who tell me their stories, I find myself recalling Martin Luther King and his dream for the Poor People's Campaign... that we would see that we were all members of God's Beloved Community, placed on this earth to support one another in leading healthy, happy lives.

Dear, dear Revered Dr. Martin Luther King was killed just before he was going to lead another March on Washington where the concerns of poor people of every race would be highlighted.

When I first read King's reflections on the Poor People's Campaign in 1976, something inside of me said that Revered Doctor Martin Luther King was right on the money.

Here is a picture of Reverend Ralph Abernathy setting up a tent in Washington D.C. during the Poor People's Campaign... he appears to be hopeful in this picture... I am saddened how his last days ended... (Is that the way the lives of all of those who try to help us grow closer to one another finally ends... bitter and broken}

As I have watched my poor, beautiful, wonderful country battling so very hard to keep people like me materially satisfied, I have often looked at the people we were battling throughout the world, I have seen children and poor people being killed.

I have listened to sincere Americans who have come back from various countries and, to a person, those who have had spent any time with ordinary people on the streets (not on post, embassies, leaders, nor with the economically well off of those countries) have told me:
1. Americans are held in high regard
2. The poor are confused and disappointed by the ways force is being used to keep them from gathering together to get their needs met
3. They need our support to have those needs met

I think the more we come together honestly, humbly, and sincerely with all the members of our rural and urban communities to address our common needs for food, shelter, safety, and respect, the more we all shall find, together, that we shall choose to live simpler, happy, and peaceful lives...

What do you think?

Here is a section taken from the documentary, Eyes On The Prize, where Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King reflected on this focus of his life, ministry, and work..
It is long and moving...


EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

What do I think? I think there are bigger forces at work in the world than anything we can control. We are on the brink of a global food shortage and crisis. Disease can take hold and be carried worldwide in a matter of hours to a global population.

Almost in the blink of an eye everything we may think or have thought of as being secure can be shut-off, cut-off, and shut-down.

How much longer can truckers transport groceries to markets?

How much longer can farmers continue to operate their farm machinery to produce and harvest their crops?

Cattlemen in Texas cannot afford to purchase fertilizer to grow enough hay to feed their livestock, because the price of it and the scarcity of it have made it prohibitively expensive. Predictions are for a 50% reduction in production of beef over the next year for just that reason alone.

An $11 jump in the price of a barrel of oil in one day? String a few more of those together and nothing will be moving anywhere.

It's already at the point where people are stealing used cooking oil to convert into their own stash of biodiesel.

There may come a time when someone will decide that all of the excess body fat on obese Americans who die is a wasted resource. Instead of incinerating it in the crematorium they may start marketing it as the ultimate biodiesel.

JosephMcG said...

Thank you for your comment... I agree that listing the various issues we must deal with for our own well being, including our sanity, needs our constant attending to those issues.

Each one of us, individually and in groups that focus on meeting these issues, are making a difference in our own lives because we are not passively accepting the frustration and pain that comes when our needs or the needs of people we know are not being met.

Conversations like ours where we take time to share our concerns and experiences are most helpful...
they are stimulating, educational, and inspiring. And always there are those among us who shall name the specific individuals and groups who are making and can make a difference on a larger level than we perceive we can make ourselves.

The challenge we face as a nation is that many of us cannot read, are being used in such a way that we choose to isolate ourselves from others who are suffering in similar ways from the same causes... we end up divided and angry and think each other is the cause of our troubles...

Illiteracy, sexual, physical,and psychological abuse, geographical separation, color difference, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of medical care, and control of our natural resources by a few
are some of the reasons why the poor are divided from one another.

It make take generations for us to meet these needs; we may never choose to provide services for all our brothers and sisters in our country, but a key step is to
do what we can, personally and communally to:

a. decide whether we believe that each human being in our country should be seen to be our beloved brother or sister.

b. If we decide that we are each other's beloved brother or sister, then we need to commit ourselves to do all we can to make sure the resources this country possess are used to help all of us become literate, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy, self-directing, and community oriented.

Let's keep our conversations and our actions real...

Stephanie Frieze said...

I believe that everything everyone does either works for the better or worse for the planet and mankind. It is not beyond our control, it is in the choices we make each day. The world is the way it is due to human choices and it can change the same way.

JosephMcG said...

May the conversation continue