Silver linings in the dark clouds

Published 5:56pm Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In every dark cloud there is a silver lining. Our old folk repeated this saying almost every time something bad happened, which was often. The saying was powerful when I was growing up. It’s even more powerful now.

I was reminded of this saying on several occasions during this week: one on Sunday; two on Thursday; and one on Friday. Each event reflected silver linings in dark clouds.

First, allow me to explain this old folk saying. If we see real dark clouds, our usual response is to think something bad is going to happen. We think of the destructiveness of storms and the potential for damage. However, the old folk understood that if we could look on the other side of the dark clouds, they would be so bright they shined like silver. If we look beyond the dark clouds, the sun is shining brightly. If we look beyond the moment of impending storms with the thunder, lightning and slashing rain, we see the cooling waters replenishing the Earth. Every time we look beyond the dark clouds, we see the silver linings.

On Sunday, I went to Montgomery to speak at a rally followed by a march from the State Capitol to the Governor’s Mansion. Nearly 2,000 were present. Most were Hispanic, but some were white and some were black. I went to support the Hispanics struggling against unjust immigration laws. However, I said this is our struggle as well because their struggle is our struggle and vice versa. As a result of this, we are supporting each other and working together for a better Alabama. It is a blessing that came out of the terrible injustices known as HB56 and HB658. It is a silver lining in the dark clouds of attacks rained upon Alabama in the last 18 months.

On Thursday, I drove to Biloxi, Miss. to make a presentation at the International Association of Machinists and Aero Space Workers. They were all white except for four or five. When I was introduced, I received a sustained standing ovation. I was shocked because I did not understand why I was receiving such a powerful reception. I later discovered that many of the labor union leaders in the room had participated in the Selma to Montgomery March earlier this year.

These labor leaders, along with thousands of others, had joined the Selma to Montgomery March because of the dark clouds wrought by unjust immigration laws, repeated attacks on workers’ rights, ongoing attacks on voting rights and rising attacks on public education. We had bonded together, becoming stronger in our struggles. Our increasing strength is a silver lining in the dark clouds of terrible attacks.

On Thursday night, I participated in a conference call that involved the Save Ourselves Summit. African Americans, Hispanics and Whites were on the call. We were planning a Summit for June 30 in Montgomery with leaders from across the state and across lines of differences coming together to save ourselves. All 27 organizations have been laboring separately in the justice vineyards for years, but these recent attacks helped us understand that we must unite to fight. Understanding, cooperation and unity are silver linings in the dark clouds.

On Friday, I met with Faya Rose Toure’ and several Hispanic leaders. We discussed how we can make our black, brown and white coalition stronger. We discussed how to rid our communities of the prejudices that exist.The sources of all these attacks are more recognizable. The obstacles preventing our working together are being bridged. The dark clouds of attacks are producing silver linings of understanding, unity and strength.

The most effective strategy in keeping us down in the past were divide and conquer. It would be effective now except for the attacks: attacks on African Americans’ right to vote with voter photo ID and other techniques; attacks on workers’ rights with laws against public education employees and their organizations; attacks on public education by while attempting to establish charter schools; and more.

Epilogue — Every action produces an equal opposite reaction is a powerful scientific principle. It not only applies to the physical realms but the cultural and spiritual realms. This principle is at work in all the various actions taken and/or attempted in the last 18 months by the Alabama Legislature. However, when this many actions are taken, they come together in ways we cannot predict producing silver linings.

 

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