Youth….”A New and Unsettling Force”

I feel called to work on the role of faith communities in social movements to end poverty, led by the poor.  Martin Luther King, Jr said, as he initiated the Poor People’s Campaign:

“We can’t back up, we will overcome. We are overcoming because ours is a revolution of the mind and heart. –César Chávez” A sign at The Union of the Entire People (LUPE), founded by César Chávez, in McAllen, TX.

“The dispossessed of this nation…live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize…against the injustice, not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty. There are millions of poor people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they will do so with a freedom and a power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life.”  (MLK, Jr, 1967)

I have burning in my bones just a little taste of the rage that must burn in the undocumented youth and their families, and indeed the whole Latin@ community.  Immigrants and Latin@s are the object of so many injustices and downright hate.  Consider the youth.  Half of the population in this S. Texas county are under 23.  Immigrants and Latin@s are, on average young, young people with vigor that can be developed as leaders that bring about change.   Immigrants have as core values buying land, building houses, and staying, committed to creating a better life for their families.  US Hispanics are hard-working, in fact, the hardest-working people group at this time in our country—look around at who’s carrying, cleaning, picking, and sweating these days.  Numbers of Latin@s in the US are increasing rapidly, becoming majorities in many areas.  And they are culturally a communal people, valuing strong communities, families, and relationships.  I recognize potential in all these factors for a base for a “new and unsettling force”, a social movement that can lead change for the most poor in society, if the silent rage, youth, hard-work, relationality, and growing numbers can be made purposeful and leadership developed.

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