Dr. King once said that economic justice is the inseparable twin to racial justice. It makes no difference if you can sit at the lunch counter if you can’t afford the lunch. It makes no difference if a neighborhood is integrated if you can’t afford to buy a home there, or send your child to school there. Dr. King understood that so long as economic justice is denied his dream would be deferred.
Barack Obama, September 27, 2008
Accepting the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Award
The best thing about this quote is I WAS THERE. A friend at the CBC offered me her free ticket to the Annual Legistlative Conference Awards dinner earlier that day. I took it as a sign. So to stay in line with signs from the universe and destiny, I put on the dress I was wearing when I met Senator Obama face2face in 2005.
But Saturday night’s event is coming up on the newsfeeds and blogs short of what I heard in Obama’s acceptance speech. Mentions of the 2008 Phoenix Award to Barack Obama (named for Mayor Harold Washington of Chicago) are circulating. The key topic of the speech was economic justice. But what you may not read in the press articles and releases is his acknowledgement and recognition of “the cycle of poverty” in America. Over the past months “poverty” slipped from the campaign vocabulary since John Edwards abandoned his bid for POTUS. For awhile it was a bargaining chip with Edwards until the National Enquirer gave the MSM a black eye with the scoop on Edward’s affair with a campaign worker….unfortunatley. [“Poverty” is on the barackobama.com website. Click ISSUES.]
I guess people don’t like to hear that there are very poor people in this country. “If so it must be their fault,” is the sweep it under the rug thinking. Or perhaps, heaven forbid, we delude ourselves by buying into a false sense of middle class security. Middle class may be code these days for the “working poor.” But on this night Senator Obama said, “If you work, you shouldn’t be poor.” This is not a niche audience message; it’s a mainstream message.
I was happy Senator Obama last Saturday gave a call to action to eradicate poverty. More so, the speech is now on YouTube (included in this post); 15:45 into the video, Obama talks about poverty. Hopefully he hasn’t forgotten this speech over the past several days. Hopefully, this call for economic justice will color the bill for the financial
bailout recovery that’s on the Senate floor today.
BTW Since Senator Barack Obama credits community organizing as the foundation of his political biography; and for his success in bringing communities together under the big tent during this campaign, registering new voters, building coalitions, and basically setting a new 21st century political campaign and organizing gold standard. And thanks to the swipe Sarah Palin took at community organizers in her VP acceptance speech at the RNC convention, I’ll give Barack Obama the nod to be this week’s Community Organizers Hall of Famer.