Monday, August 4, 2014

Accentuate the Positive
Recently I began following the Facebook page of Bread and Roses, a non-profit organization " established in 2010 to help with the planning, coordination, and fundraising necessary to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Great Lawrence Strike of 1912, popularly referred to as the Bread & Roses Strike."  They post material about US labor history, some of it current, with arresting graphics, and from time to time I share their posts on my timeline, as a corrective to the nostalgia that many people my age indulge promote.  Some of my favorite items, like the one above, depict child labor, and I link to them with snarky comments about how these kids weren't spoiled with cell phones, game consoles, and other luxuries, unlike Kids Today.

Today, though, I held back.  I wondered if anyone thinks I'm being negative when I pass this stuff along. I don't intend to be.  Pictures and stories like these make me feel hopeful about all the people (too often forgotten) who resisted the powerful and worked for positive change. No, they weren't perfect. Sometimes they were closed-minded. (But does anyone nowadays really believe that they're free of prejudices and other opinions that will look embarrassing fifty or a hundred years from now? I certainly don't.) Worst of all, a lot of the changes that they gave time and sometimes their lives to bring about, are taken for granted now. We often forget that the good things we have now had to be worked for and fought for, against fierce resistance. Until we have to work and fight for them again -- but the example of people like these can give us hope that we can do it, just as they did.

I was pleased. by the way, that several friends responded favorably.  History is interesting, if it's presented the right way.