[Elie] Wiesel fought “against all injustice.”
Dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
It’s a heavy burden, but I’m asking you to always stand up for what is right. Silence favors the bullies and the oppressors. Silence is assent. Never lend bullies your support.
Now, I’m not talking about fighting blindly and stupidly. Use your head. Pick your battles, and find your allies. Remember to always find allies and/or create coalitions to help you.
For example, when I fought against the $40 billion (its annual revenue at that time) Enron of Healthcare, finding no internal support for my efforts to stop the years-long violations of consumer protection laws, I worked with government regulators to protect the sick and dying. Regulators not only validated my allegations, but discovered additional violations, thereby affording greater protection to the vulnerable population than I had hoped. Likewise, I have volunteered with Legal Aid to provide free legal services to protect women and children who are victims of domestic violence; invited Mr. Chip, Ms. Shannon, and a dozen other parents in our efforts to get Sonrise to move its weekly ministry for 120 convicted sex offenders and other convicted criminals to a location that is not next door to one elementary school and within 500 yards of a second elementary school; worked with the Immigration Clinic, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services, and other non-profit organizations to help asylum seekers gain refugee status; volunteered with homeless shelters and other non-profit organizations to help feed and provide for the homeless; etc.
Help those less fortunate than you. Find like-minded people and organizations to help you help them. Go it alone if, and only if, you must — and then, only when you are strong enough to do so. The road I ask of you will be a challenging, but very rewarding, one. You need friends to help you during your journey.
More importantly, with respect to fighting injustice, never let yourself be bullied. Ever. Always stand up for yourself. If you won’t, who will? Why would anyone step forward to fight your fight when you won’t even do it yourself.
A recent article about a school board member filing a complaint with the federal government to demand fair and equal education quality for minority children in Portland, Oregon, is a perfect example. http://www.wweek.com/news/2016/07/05/a-school-board-member-complains-to-the-feds-about-the-quality-of-education-for-minority-kids-in-portland/. The recently-elected school board member discovered
marked disparities between the classes Portland Public Schools offers white students and those it makes available to their black and Latino peers…. [For example, a]t high-poverty George Middle School in North Portland, where just over half the students are black or Latino, kids can choose from 27 classes. At predominantly white West Sylvan Middle School on the westside, students pick from 55 different courses [sic].
When he presented the evidence to the Superintendent of the Portland School District, Carole Smith,
[s]he wiggled her fingers at them and giggled and said, ‘I know all about them.’
Finding no internal support for his efforts, he eventually turned to the federal government for help to protect the weak and vulnerable. Be like Paul Anthony.
When you are young and small, take on small issues. For example, you could befriending a new classmate who doesn’t know anyone and is in need of a friend. As you get older, take on appropriately greater issues.
Always leave your little corner of the world a little nicer than when you first found it. If everyone did that, the world would be a nicer place. But, even if others don’t, you could still make your corner of the world a nicer place. Remember, you can only control what you do, not what others do.
All my love, always,