Dando Gracias

Posted on 11/22/2012 @ 07:00 AM

Dando Gracias

Today we are thankful for our incredible board members for your continued support of our work and for always pushing us forward. Please take a moment and read this email message that we received by our board member, Matthew Schwartz.

Please allow me to bore you with a short story about something that happened just a few years ago.

You may remember that in 2009 during confirmation hearings, some members of the Senate and some entertainment personalities accused then Judge (now Justice) Sotomayor of having been a member of a left-wing radical group in her younger days. That organization was the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (now LatinoJustice PRLDEF), a civil rights group dedicated to using the power of the law and education to champion an equitable society, protecting opportunities for people to succeed in school and work, to fulfill their dreams and to sustain their families and communities.

Not long after these accusations were aired, I attended the annual meeting and retreat of the board of directors of LatinoJustice on which I have the honor to serve. Since the meeting was at a resort area, several of my fellow board members brought their families, including spouses, toddlers and infants. I was watching these young families and was filled with hope and pride that the people with whom I was associated were committed to striving for a better world for their children and for all the underserved among us. I also noted the irony of watching mothers and fathers talking about raising their families, childhood milestones and illnesses and all of the little details of family life, while being part of an organization accused of a radical agenda.

When did loving families, raising children and working for a better future become a radical agenda?

I was once asked why I serve on the board of LatinoJustice PRLDEF. I replied that I do so because I’m a patriot. My questioner looked puzzled and I explained:

At every major event I attend, including my weekly Lions Club meetings, we say the Pledge of Allegiance. The final words of the Pledge are not “with liberty and justice for some,” or “with liberty and justice for people who look like me.” No. The words are “with liberty and justice for ALL.” Some people merely say these words and some people choose to live these words. By supporting LatinoJustice, I choose to live the words and the spirit of the Pledge. I am a patriot.

Now celebrating its 40th year of living the Pledge, Latino Justice has expanded from its New York roots and played a significant role in encouraging Florida voters in the recent election, devoting significant time and resources with great success. However, LatinoJustice has not forgotten its northeast roots and is now crossing the river from New York to come to New Jersey.

Please join me on November 29 in Newark to welcome and honor LatinoJustice on its Legacy Tour as it continues to advocate for an equitable society in which everyone has the opportunity to succeed and prosper.

I hope to see you there.

Matthew Schwartz

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