As I migrate my old blog to Wholeness4Love I am encouraged to see that certain injustices I have written about have been changed or are in the process of improving. Today at yet another City Hall Rally I commented to a co-worker that you know times are bad when you are at City Hall rallies every other week. Sometimes as a organizer I can get discouraged because each day it appears that our rights are being eroded more and more, but as I read past blog post I see God is faithful and that justice will prevail! For instance Domestic Workers United(DWU) helped to get a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights passed in 2010, through the organizing efforts of United Workers members and organizers the ESPN Zone workers are in a class action lawsuit and Smithfield Farms had to change their labor practices after a successful campaign for worker justice (see the blog post below). Though times are hard we have to remember that as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached: “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
* First posted on Sojourners God’s Politics Blog in October 2008 as apart of a larger conversation about Christian Intentional Communities (or New Monastic Communities), race and class.
The settlement house movement is the foundation of public welfare in the United States. Beginning in the early 19th century within the immigrant enclaves of New York City and Chicago, this movement was led predominately by white middle class Christians who relocated to these communities to live together, serve, and evangelize the poor. During this period the immigrant enclaves of America’s major cities were the abandoned places of the empire. The settlement house movement was the foundation for the field of social work and quite possibly the earliest form of “inner-city ministry.” Out of this work of relocation and social service came the “settlement house,” which was an institution that provided for the social, physical, and spiritual needs of the immigrant poor. The “settlement house movement” became very popular during this era, and some of these institutions have endured until today. I spent many summers working for Hamilton Madison House, one of New York City’s oldest and largest settlement houses. My work at this institution gave me the opportunity to serve immigrant populations who were facing the same issues of poverty that my inner-city African-American community faced.
This is a Bible Study I co-authored for The Poverty Initiative which is apart of a series of Bible Studies and Devotionals on the Last Week of Jesus’ Life and the Last Year of Rev. King’s life which was co-published by members of the Poverty Initiative.Though we are not placing the Rev. King on the same level as Jesus, by examining a modern day prophet such as the Rev. King we can gain encouragement and practical insight into how to live a life dedicated to Jesus’ message of Liberation, Justice and Prophetic Love. Be Blessed!
“I do the work of justice not out of a disdain for the privileged but out of a love for Life.” Womanist Theologian Dr. Kelly Douglas Brown
In 2007 I joined an ecumenical movement in New York City called NY Faith & Justice, and I can say that this work is an answer to prayers. Early in my Christian walk I desired to do social justice from a Christ-centered perspective. This desire is birthed out of a deep gratitude for the total salvation I experienced at age 14 after four years of being led by the Holy Spirit to pray and read the Bible (outside of the church). I was not raised in a Christian home and had only been to church two times during my entire childhood. Christ did not just save my soul but he saved me from the unjust systems that enacted violence on my very being as a young black woman growing up in the inner-city community of East New York.
Note: DWU won a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in NY State which was a historic win; but now the organization is working on duplication in other states and implementation, so please continue to support their work! Though DWU works on issues affecting domestic workers in the U.S. the issues faced by its membership are shared by women worldwide. The exploitation of women workers is an international human rights issue. According to Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the U.N. :
- (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
- (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
- (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
- (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. THEY will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. THEY will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; THEY will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. -Isaiah 61:1-4
Scripture Reading: John 12:1-11
If asked to name who were the first followers of Jesus or the first leaders of Christianity most would name: Peter (the rock), John (the disciple that Jesus loved), or even the Apostle Paul (who spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire). Though all of these men played important roles in establishing the church the first person to actually figure out the full capacity of who Jesus was and act on this knowledge was a woman named Mary by anointing Jesus with her alabaster jar of perfume that was worth a year’s salary this woman was not just serving Jesus with a random act of kindness but she was acknowledging who he was and what he was about to undergo.
this post is an updated version written for The Union Call & God’s Politics, originally published in The Black Commentator this article incorporated the recent healthcare reform developments.
Our country has a long history of underserving and mistreating African-Americans and other marginalized groups. We are seeing this history come to a head in cases such as the 2007 death of a twelve-year-old African-American child, Deamonte Driver of Prince George’s County. Driver died because his mother could not find a Medicaid dentist who would see him for an infected tooth.
Sadly, Driver’s death is one example of many in which, from its inception, America’s health-care system has treated African-Americans unjustly. Although I am specifically addressing disparities in the health-care system for African-Americans, the issue of health care affects Americans of all races and economic backgrounds. It is my hope that by examining health-care injustice in the African-American community, we can see the need for universal health care for all.