Standing for racial justice on all streets
I have been witnessing the anger and anguish of those in the City, and indeed across the Country as we face the history of our country and its legacy of enslavement. As we pray and search for avenues for systemic change and our ability to better understand our own role within and relationship to this legacy, let us see all of the connections that maintain our current system.
As we have said: Rural & Migrant Ministry's efforts to seek the equality of farmworkers has been a response to a four hundred year racist exploitation of farm labor; labor and exploitation that is often hidden by the distance and mountains of our State. Yet it has been an agricultural system that has, and continues to be, a key pillar of our economy and our own survival. New York at one point had the second most populated slave market in the Country, with the majority of those slaves going upstate to work on our farms.
In the midst of this legacy I give thanks to the three hundred cars and seven hundred people who joined us on Sunday to affirm the presence, contribution, sacrifice and oppression of our brothers and sisters, most of them Black and Brown, who labor to feed us. The Caravans took place in eleven locations across the State, and we were joined by brothers and sisters who toil in the fields and stores as well as allies within the faith, labor, food justice, academic communities and many other walks of life. It was a step toward saying no to the status quo, a step of hope, affirmation and action, a step of seeing others about us, who had perhaps escaped our notice; and connecting. We are grateful to all who drove with us. Our prayer is that we all will continue to commit ourselves to change - change of ourselves, change in how we relate to and see others, and change of our system. It is a long road.