Letter from a Birmingham Jail

I am largely motivated to “do” public health because of the social justice elements that underpin the work.  I credit my time at the Community for Creative Non-Violence homeless shelter for teaching me important lessons in fairness, right and wrong, and my role is in this movement as a white, privileged woman.

I re-read Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham a Jail as a tool for my own reflection as we confront racism in this country.  I reflected on how, in many ways, the work of public health intends (or should intend) to continue on the legacy of MLK.

I am particularly moved by this line: “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in BirminghamInjustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

How are you agitating from the inside?

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