We travel East each year to see my husband’s family in Pennsylvania, where we spend two weeks in the verdant, fertile, sticky forests and fields of the eastern states – eating fresh blackberries on the trail by the stream, fresh corn from the roadside stands, peaches that drip juice down your chin. It is glorious.
The creatures in the ocean were dying. An old woman sneaked up to the shoreline and quietly picked up a few emaciated fish – red ones and blue ones. She put them in her pockets and took them away. She nurtured them back to health in a clean pond where they thrived and propagated. When she had a large number of each, she took them back to the sea.
I want to start by distancing myself from the concept of objectivity, as any good feminist would – that is, I want to start by naming my point of view. I choose to focus on certain themes, movements, and social actors because I come from a working class background in the United States. I began developing an anarchist, anti-capitalist philosophy at an early age.
The following text is an assemblage of excerpts from a public presentation that Lee and Asia Bennett made to the Horizon House community on June 4, 2017. For the complete text of their presentation, see: westernfriend.org/media/faith-life-story.
This past year, I started coming to grips with the fact that I am not a political scientist; I am not a sociologist. I have finally, after more than a decade, let go of some of those college textbooks. I accept that I will never rewrite the thesis I should have written for Poli-Sci. I am not a debater. I am not a diplomat. As it turns out, I am a musician.
I learned about the power of nonviolence and nonviolent action in the spring of 1960, while participating in sit-ins at lunch counters in Maryland and Virginia with African American fellow students at Howard University. Most Saturdays we would go to a People’s Drug store, sit down at a lunch counter, get arrested, and then sing freedom songs in our jail cells all weekend.
“We are tired of smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society,” said Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963). To address this crisis, Dr. King (along with Quaker activist Bayard Rustin) launched the Poor People’s Campaign, focusing on economic justice, especially around jobs and housing.