Fierce Urgency of Now

We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now… We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action…. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.

Martin Luther King, Jr. “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” Riverside Church, New York, April 4, 1967

A prayer by César Chávez, in Spanish and English

Oración del campesino en la lucha

Enséñame el sufrimiento de los más desafortunados;
así conoceré el dolor de mi pueblo.
Líbrame a orar por los demás
porque estás presente en cada persona.
Ayúdame a tomar responsabilidad de mi propia vida;
sólo así, seré libre al fin.
Concédeme valentía para servir al prójimo
porque en la entrega hay vida verdadera.
Concédeme honradez y paciencia
para que yo pueda trabajar junto con otros trabajadores.
Alúmbranos con el canto y la celebración
para que se eleve el espíritu entre nosotros.
Que el espíritu florezca y crezca
para que no nos cansemos de la lucha.
Acordémonos de los que han caído por la justicia
porque a nosotros han entregado la vida.
Ayúdanos a amar aun a los que nos odian;
así podremos cambiar el mundo.

Amen. Continue Reading

Myanmar Update: Continued Citizen Nonviolence Met by Deadly Military Violence

Nonviolent protests against the Myanmar junta, symbolized by the three-finger gesture

Yangon, February 2021: VOA Burmese, Public domain

Last week, on March 11, Thomas H. Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar reported to the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council that at least 70 people have been murdered by Myanmar security forces (the Tatmadaw) since the military junta seized power in an illegal coup d’état on February 1, 2021 (United Nations Human Rights Council). Continue Reading

Democracy Under Siege — the Freedom House 2021 Report

Protestors holding a banner.

Protest rally against Lukashenko, 16 August, 2020, Minsk, Belarus; Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1941 to support the fight against fascism in Europe, Freedom House has promoted democracy, human rights, and rule of law globally throughout the intervening decades. (Freedom House) In December 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the leading figure responsible for drafting the declaration, Eleanor Roosevelt, served as Freedom House’s first honorary co-chair.   The preamble of the Declaration affirms “the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women,” and Article 1 states “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Continue Reading

Speak the Truth and Walk with Hope

photo of Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman recites her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II) from Wikipedia Commons

From Amanda Gorman’s Twitter account yesterday evening:  “A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because ‘you look suspicious.’ I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology. This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat.”

In a follow up tweet she wrote:  “In a sense, he was right. I AM A THREAT: a threat to injustice, to inequality, to ignorance. Anyone who speaks the truth and walks with hope is an obvious and fatal danger to the powers that be.”

Civil disobedience and solidarity in Hong Kong

Protestors in Hong Kong with one person holding up a sign reading, "Never give up. Show justice to the world."

Etan Lam, Flickr

In the most aggressive application of Beijing’s new national security law, the Hong Kong government has recently arrested scores of pro-democracy leaders who did nothing more than organize peacefully and nonviolently in support of voting rights and freedom of expression. Yesterday, hundreds of courageous protestors peacefully assembled outside the court where 47 arrested activists were being charged with “conspiracy to commit subversion. Holding signs demanding that all political prisoners be released, they were eventually dispersed by police. We express our solidarity with them, and with the arrested democracy leaders.