To the Editor:
Monday’s Martin Luther King holiday passed without the Record printing a single word about King’s legacy on economic justice and peace. This, despite ECM’s mission statement to contribute to “individual freedom, peace and justice in the world.” Beyond disappointing, but not surprising.
On King’s holiday, two local non-profits sponsored a motivational speaker to give a “kindness” pep talk to the Little Falls citizenry. The speaker, V.J. Smith, typically charges thousands of dollars for his presentations. Little Falls Community Schools hired Smith to speak to over 1,700 staff and students, the next day.
“Marty,” of whom Smith spoke, was a kind Walmart employee representing a controversial employer. He worked hard to bring customers to a corporation whose employees aren’t provided livable wages or healthcare.
Those non-profit’s board members and school officials essentially put conformity on a pedestal, not King’s message. This only reinforces a weak community norm, rather than challenging us to question and dismantle the unjust economic structures we all-too-easily accept as impenetrable. We’d rather focus on the simpler, nebulous call to “kindness” than deal with the difficult pursuit of justice. We must do both. It’s true kindness to pursue our Christian admonition to seek economic justice and peace. — Robin Hensel, Little Falls