Twenty-one Thoughts on Peace and Justice1
Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.
How can one not speak about war, poverty, and inequality when people who suffer from these afflictions don’t have a voice to speak?
No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger that its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise.
This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.
The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.
Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.
Susan B. Anthony
Action is the antidote to despair.
Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.
When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.
Basil the Great
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.
Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.
Daniel Berrigan, SJ
This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.
If you want peace, work for justice.
H. L. Mencken
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.
I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
The challenge of social justice is to evoke a sense of community that we need to make our nation a better place, just as we make it a safer place.
Marian Wright Edelman
Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
From the Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.
Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten. And seeing them, he cried, “Great God, how is it that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?” God said, “I did do something. I made you.”
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Last updated on Saturday, October 29, 2011.