In the words of Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor who was imprisoned by the Nazis for eight years because he spoke out against Hitler: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist; then they came for the unionists, but I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, but I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, the Rev. Edward Pinkney from Benton Harbor and there was no one left to speak for me.
I am not going to ask for justice for Black Americans, but demand the right for justice for all Americans in our broken court system, that the constitution had already given us. To threaten anyone’s liberty is to threaten everyone’s liberty. What the government can do to anyone, they can also one day do to you.
We need tough minds and tender hearts. Many tough-minded thinkers in America today seem to lack heart and courage, yet many of the most tender-hearted among us need to read a book or two. It is in our heart and mind that we find the key to both our personal and our political healing.
The most important thing for us to consider today is how to harmonize our internal and external thoughts and changes.
If our bottom-line is money, then we have committed to materialistic values, but if our bottom-line is the dream of freedom and justice, then the most important things are not material, and many things are more important than money.
We are currently living at a time when the needs of the rich are placed so high above the needs of the people.
I am passionate about the fact that one-fifth of America’s children live in poverty, that millions of our children go to schools in which there aren’t even working toilets, in slums, where the social and economic conditions are as dire as during the worst days of the Great Depression. Any time you have a system that refuses to feed, clothe, and house the poor, it must be overturned. We must confront all corporations, including Whirlpool, the blood-sucking corporation that has destroyed Benton Harbor.