BY SHARON MARTIN
My sister, Monette, a minister’s wife, was at a church board meeting in central Mississippi a few Decembers back. The board gathered to decide who would receive the church’s Christmas charity that year.
Monette suggested they pay the utility bills for a family whose breadwinner had been laid off his job.
“Now we can’t go paying the bills for every Tom, Dick, and Harry who’s out of work,” one of the board members said.
“Just what Jesus would have said, I’m sure,” Monette told her.
Later, the reverend received a message requesting he not bring his wife to board meetings. Monette probably wouldn’t be welcome in Congress, either.
Despite our excellent Constitution, there have always been those in our country denied social justice. We have made progress, but lately, even as we press forward, some of that progress is slipping away.
Schools in poor districts operate without libraries and librarians. Forty and 50 students in a classroom insure that some of them will fall through the cracks.
Not to worry, our for-profit prisons will take up the slack. It doesn’t seem to bother plutocrats that prisoners cost more than students.
Hardworking people are uninsured. They lack basic preventive care and the education to make good health choices.
Bankers get bailed out; homeowners who are victims of legal gambling schemes do not.
In a country that exports food, children go hungry.
We maintain the largest military complex in the world. Despite all the money we spend on bases and bombs, returning soldiers with mental issues roam, homeless, in our city streets.
Factory farms and industrial agri-businesses get paid to monopolize the agriculture system.
Legislators and state officials bow down to the ruling class of plutocrats rather than take care of the citizens who voted them into office.
These are dangerous times. Where is Woody Guthrie when we need a voice crying out for social justice? We don’t have Woody, but we do have the Woody Poets who are gathering in Oklahoma City and Okemah this week.
On Saturday, July 13, from 1 to 4 p.m., we will be at St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 202 North 3rd, in Okemah. Poets, including Oklahoma Poet Laureate Nathan Brown, will be accompanied by jazz great David Amram.
If you can’t make it to Okemah, come to Oklahoma City on Friday evening, July 12, from 6:30-7:45 p.m., in the screening room at the Paramount OKC, 701 West Sheridan.
Join us and be inspired to carry on the fight for social justice and equality.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. She also is one of the Woody Poets who will be reading Friday night in OKC and Saturday in Okemah.