Talking about Social Change from Fort Myers to Chattanooga

Well the last few weeks have been eventful to say the least! I was finishing up teaching another two fantastic summer courses–always amazing students and equally engaging conversation. I also  managed to work in a family reunion and two out-of-town talks.

On Sunday, July 29, I shared my perspective on the value of feminism for men with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers. This gave me the opportunity to talk about the importance of bringing gender into the public conversation about mass murders and social violence. The sad fact of the matter is that not only are most mass murders men, most perpetrators of rape, murder, arson, domestic abuse are also disproportionately men. As men continue to make violence an important component of their identity, they lose out along with the women and children around them.

The following week our family of five—soon to be six!—was off for a family reunion in Calhoun, Georgia. After a great time reconnecting with uncles, grown-up cousins, and family I hardly knew, we headed up the Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga. When we stepped out of our car onto the slopes of the church grounds we looked a lot like sea voyagers stepping on dry land after a year at sea. Can you blame us? We’re south Floridians! Anyway, we met a number of kind folks who were wonderfully receptive to my talk on stereotyping the poor. During the talk I encouraged poor people to follow in the footsteps of the gay rights movement in coming out of the closet of shame. Too many hardworking poor people feel like failures or believe they don’t deserve basic respect. This has got to change. Poor folks need to have some pride, even when those who benefit from their toil refuse to appreciate them. As I said at the close, I’m not ashamed of being poor. I’m ashamed of living in a society that tolerates poverty.

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