Don’t get mad or sad, get smart with “Sixate.”
Professor Howard Tolley’s remarks at the IJPC Annual Meeting, November 15, 2016 St. John’s Unitarian Universalist Church
Knowledge is power. Turning off the news disempowers us. Get beyond your news silo, educate yourself fully to the ideas and passions of more than your soul mates. Learn how white supremacy and anti-black racism began in 17th Century Virginia and continues today, manipulated to keep wages low by dividing workers on ethnic lines. Educate others in that history to promote understanding of the urgent current need for a multi-racial grass roots movement for economic justice.
Organize a few soul mates to connect face to face with your elected state and local lawmakers in the home district. Communicate your deepest passions and advocate for specific legislative action. The November lame duck session of the Ohio General Assembly is underway, and meetings should be arranged no later than the beginning of the 2017 state and local legislative sessions when newly elected representatives take office.
Civilize it. Savvy advocates have no permanent enemies. Members of both major parties in Ohio oppose capital punishment, support Medicaid expansion, and seek to reduce mass incarceration and to remove collateral sanctions for returning citizens. Learn of any areas of agreement with your representative, whether Republican or Democrat, and offer support.
Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us the critical importance of mass protest and non-violent civil disobedience, courting arrest in the cause of justice. Repairers of the Breach led by Rev. William Barber in North Carolina has launched a national Moral Revival campaign after suffering repeated jailing with others in Raleigh. Whether or not willing to court arrest yourself, show up on behalf of non-violent agitators whose street protests deserve our support.
The ACLU is committed to challenging anticipated reactionary laws in court. Ohioans to Stop Executions is collaborating in prospective litigation to prevent the resumption of executions in January 2017. Volunteer to serve as a plaintiff or to assist with financial contributions or expertise.
Fusion politics at the grassroots level, the Pre-School Promise Coalition, made Issue 44 an extraordinary success. Let’s build on that model. North Carolina’s Moral Monday’s Movement forged a coalition of 50 organizations working on varied issues who understood the need for a united effort to challenge common adversaries.
Our local interfaith justice organizations – MARCC, IJPC, AMOS Project and others – need to collaborate far more effectively in event scheduling and demands of time and money from supporters of all three. Local faith communities have secular partners critical to the success of a local coalition. Which leaders will step up to make that possible in Cincinnati?
Give more than lip service to organizations desperately in need of resources to combat injustice. Leave to others the feelings of virtue by association who are fulfilled by simply observing the movement without experiencing more than pious entertainment.
Give your business to African-American and Hispanic/Latino companies. Justiceministry@stjohnsuu.org is compiling a Cincinnati Business Diversity Directory. A first draft of 60 African-American and Hispanic/Latin businesses is available on request, and recommendations are welcome for smaller businesses to be added.