By Eboo Patel | Do you remember the first demonstration that your mother and I took you to? It was the fifty-year commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march through the South Side neighborhood of Marquette Park. Do you know what King endured that day? Five thousand people lined the streets of the neighborhood to scream racist slurs and throw bottles and bricks at King and a few hundred peaceful marchers.
It’s flying graduation caps season! We’re not post-pandemic, but graduates are embarking on a world stage that looks different from what it was two or three years ago. Some of those differences are alarming.
A Q&A with Eboo Patel | Always remember: the goal is not a more ferocious revolution; the goal is a more beautiful social order. Those of us in advocacy have signed up to be the architects of a better society, not just tell other people what they are doing wrong. We need to defeat the things we do not love by building the things we do. What does a better school look like? What does a working grocery store in a food desert look like?
Still kicking two years in, COVID brought out the worst from the nation’s populace: racist brutality against marginalized communities. This year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month commemorates the victims of the 2021 spa shootings as well as all other Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders lost to anti-Asian violence during the pandemic and throughout history. This violence is a form of erasure. As historian Catherine Ceniza Choy writes in her forthcoming addition to Beacon Press’s ReVisioning History series, “This positioning of Asians in opposition to American identity and experience is perhaps most powerfully expressed through the erasure of their long-standing presence in the United States and their contributions to its various industries.”