One Nation Working Together
On October 2nd, a few MFSA members marched for jobs, justice and education as a part of the One Nation Working Together mobilization in Washington, DC. Though small in number, we were glad to be there as an independent voice for justice in the UMC, especially in the absence of any official United Methodist body. As is further noted below, our small, Methodist delegation was greeted positively by many marchers who commented on the regrettably small presence of the faith community. 103 years strong, MFSA continues to take a stand for justice in the face of controversy. Thanks to those who came and those who supported us from afar.
Reflections on the 10.2.10 March on Washington
They came, and they kept coming, by the tens of thousands, until they occupied that vast area from the Lincoln Memorial, down both sides of the long reflecting pool, and on to the Washington Monument.
They came, representing the original organizers – the NAACP and the AFL/CIO – and nearly 400 other organizations that signed on later — representing such diverse groups as Aids Walk, American Federation of Teachers, Bail Out the People, Bring Our War $$ Home, Code Pink, Jobs With Justice, National Council of La Raza, Physicians for a National Health Program, Service Employees International Union, U.S. Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace, and religious constituencies such as Pax Christi, Unitarian Universalists for Peace and Justice, and our Methodist Federation for Social Action.
As I waved an MFSA sign overhead during the late morning Peace Rally to let others know we were there, we found other United Methodists had also come: a young man whose father is a UM pastor in Pennsylvania asked for MFSA literature; an elderly man from Chicago who said he had been a MFSA member like ‘forever’; a UM pastor from Ohio; a retired UM pastor from Michigan who had never before been to a ‘Washington march’ but who is so concerned about the direction of our country that he had ridden a bus all night to come and support this event, all of whom,along with others, were glad to see a Methodist presence in this massive March for “Good Jobs, Equal Justice, and Quality Education for All.”
The Rally for which we had come began at noon, with speaker after speaker advocating concerns related to the overall theme. They called upon Americans to ‘beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks’, to turn from the ways of war to the ways of peace, by curbing the massive expenditures for foreign wars and addressing domestic needs at home. Among the speakers whom I heard articulating these concerns most clearly and forcefully were Mariam Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund, who passionately stressed the need of quality education for ALL of God’s children; Rev. Jesse Jackson, Founder and President of the RainbowPUSH Coalition, who ardently called for investment in jobs in America, and Ben Jealous, NAACP President and CEO, who earnestly called upon Americans to work together as one nation with jobs, justice and education at the top of our agenda to achieve liberty and justice for ALL. Their appeals were cheered with repeated applause and gave voice to many of the signs carried by participants – of which I will cite only two: “Fund Schools Not Bombs” and “End the War Now Good Jobs for All.”
The speakers’ appeals resonated all across the National Mall because those who had come were, for the most part, working class Americans who struggle to get by year by year, and whose sons and daughters fight the rich people’s wars, yet who still believe in the American dream, who know that though the night be dark, joy comes with the dawn. I saw hope, and I was glad I was there.
You can view and experience the Rally online here. You can find the speeches by Edelman, Jealous and Jackson about two-thirds of the way into this four hour rally.
By Hunter Mabry, Virginia chapter MFSA
For more details, visit: www.onenationworkingtogether.org.