There are more justice causes than there are people in this room. There are those who have recently made this endeavor into the work of justice spurred by the unfairness of our system of capitalism, often elitist politics and abuse of power. We find ourselves staring at communities disregarded by those who only see it as means to a prosperous financial end. We hear the voices of those who are used as a cheap labor force but denied citizenship. When you mix that with corporate folly that threatens the livelihood of some and environment of all, we find ourselves fitting multiple battles. We look at these and many more situations without a cause to retreat, but as fuel to speak, stand, cry out and fight. We bellow a heralding cry to those who could stand with us.
Voices from the Community [Sally Bevill, MIRA and Thao Vu, Vietnamese Fisher Folk and Families]
The more we pick at an issue the more we discover that the problem has layers. Social justice issues are compounded with unfair David and Goliath-style battles that are characterized not by a lack of power but by a lack of collective vision. We sometimes misguidedly think that a person or organization we can conquer the injustices of the system and meet the immediate and long-term needs of the community. We settle into a falsehood that others in the community know what we are doing and should join “if they care”, but the truth is sometimes in our own organizations, one department isn’t ineptly aware of what the other is doing. So why place the power of telepathy on one another by expecting them to sit at the table without renewing the invitation?
From Steps Coalition to all of you, may we break bread together? Not just now as we eat but as we move forward. As we solidify calendar initiatives for the upcoming year, let us not forgo standing with our brothers and sisters in this room for the distant allusion of a solo victory. Strength is found in collective effort. May we break open justice. May we break down injustices and barriers that trap a person’s livelihood. May we break down stereotypes, racism, exploitation, oppression and human suppression in all forms. May we as Steps Coalition, allies and partners make fervent, unyielding steps to strengthen our community as a cohesive force of justice and unsilenced voices.