Marshall Ganz 3-01-2009
Rawpixel / Shutterstock

rawpixel / Shutterstock 

I grew up in Bakersfield, California, where my father was a rabbi and my mother was a teacher. I went to Harvard in 1960, in part because it was about as far as I could get from Bakersfield, which was the terminus of the dust bowl migration that John Steinbeck made famous in The Grapes of Wrath.

I got my real education, however, when I left Harvard to work in the civil rights movement in Mississippi. I went to Mississippi because, among other things, my father had served as an Army chaplain in Germany right after World War II. His work was with Holocaust survivors, and as a child the Holocaust became a reality in our home. The Holocaust was interpreted to me as a consequence of racism, that racism is an evil, that racism kills. I made a choice to go to Mississippi.

I also was raised on years of Passover Seders. There’s a part in the Passover Seder when they point to the kids and say, “You were a slave in Egypt.” I finally realized the point was to recognize that we were all slaves in Egypt and in our time that same struggle from slavery to freedom is always going on, that you have to choose where you stand in that. The civil rights movement was clearly about that struggle. It was in Mississippi that I learned to be an organizer and about movement-building.

I went to Mississippi because it was a movement of young people, and there’s something very particular about young people, not just that they have time. Walter Brueggemann writes in The Pro­phetic Imagination about the two elements of prophetic vision. One is criticality, recognition of the world’s pain. Second is hope, recognition of the world’s possibilities. Young people come of age with a critical eye and a hopeful heart. It’s that combination of critical eye and hopeful heart that brings change. That’s one reason why so many young people were and are involved in movements for social change.

Logan Isaac 2-26-2009
I am an evangelical Christian who attends church regularly, so I was surprised to see a worship service on the grounds of the Hawaii state capitol this past Sunday.

With the bicentennials of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin the subject of numerous conferences, articles, and television shows this month, we also should remember another important commemoration in 2009: the centennial of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Troy Jackson 2-17-2009

I have been studying the civil rights movement for over a decade, and continue to be amazed by the stories of courage and sacrifice that marked that heroic era in United States history.

Alan Clapsaddle 2-04-2009
Last week, January 27, just a few blocks north of the Sojourners' office on 14th Street in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of our nation's capital, a homeless man was attacked and lay dying on th
Glen Peterson 1-28-2009
Just a few months ago, Christian advocates of immigration reform believed that the political environment in the country would make it very difficult to make the legislative changes necessary to pro
Jim Wallis 1-22-2009

It's a better country than I thought it was. I honestly wouldn't have thought this possible. I guess I would have agreed with the older generation of African Americans in my neighborhood: This day would never come in our lifetimes-but here it is.

Jennifer Svetlik 1-15-2009
Right now at Sojourners we are feeling the energy of all the activities planned around the inauguration-the concerts, worship services, MLK day of service, and of course,
Joseph Lowery 1-14-2009

You would think attempting to summarize my feelings on having been asked to deliver the Benediction at the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama-would be simple. In fact, it's quite a challenge; given the flood of emotions I have experienced ...

Randy Woodley 1-12-2009
We stand at what could be the greatest divide in American history.
Troy Jackson 12-10-2008
1968 was a year filled with tragic deaths, of young leaders lost.

Odetta has gone home.

Artists that touch our hearts help us to see, and they speak for us our own mute truth. A spiritual breath of courage and grace breathes through them and upon us. Our base selves, slouching away from our humanity, stand up straight and recognize that our human being is found in righteous relationships, and we are translated into our more noble selves.

Ronald Williamson 12-01-2008
How a Howard Thurman lecture series has transformed a university -- and much more.
Leroy Barber 11-05-2008
When I was a kid I remember hearing and declaring that I could be anything I wanted to be, which included being the president of the United States.
Jim Wallis 11-03-2008
On the eve of this historic election, let us pause for a moment of thanks.
Abayea Pelt 11-03-2008
I have been fighting tears for the past few days. And as Tuesday draws closer it becomes harder and harder to keep those tears at bay.
Jim Wallis 10-31-2008
Hey Shane, thanks for weighing in. I appreciate it.
Jim Wallis 10-27-2008
The word "movement" is in the air these days.
Troy Jackson 10-16-2008
John McCain is an American hero. In 1967, after his plane was shot down over Hanoi in Vietnam, an injured McCain parachuted into a lake.