Educating Myself

by Jonathan Krall

This post is personal. I’ve been reading a lot of books and attending a lot of meetings. A constant theme has been “intersectionality.” Intersectionality is the simple fact that social justice issues intersect. Improved healthcare creates economic opportunities. Restorative justice in our schools strengthens our communities to better withstand over-policing. To do this work I have to learn, constantly. My fellow volunteers do the same, sharing what they’ve learned. If we’re going to get through this, together, we’ve got a lot of learning to do.

My first glimmer of the scope of the problem came in the Occupy Wall Street days. I wasn’t occupying anything, but did want to understand. I picked up a thick book on economics. Within a few pages, I learned that I am not an enthusiastic student of economics. I learned that the economy is a mess because the people in charge of making it work aren’t. I learned that many of those people are Congressmen. Long before finishing the book, I concluded that clobbering a Congressman with a thick book on economics is a pretty appealing idea, especially in comparison to the thought of reading it.

Since joining Grassroots Alexandria, I’ve learned more than I ever thought I wanted to know about fascism, healthcare, Israel & Palestine, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, over-policing, welfare reform, and white supremacy. On the other hand, I’ve been privileged to learn about civil rights,┬árestorative justice, police reform, gender, and intersectionality. I’ve been privileged to meet and learn from amazing people. I’ve learned to narrow my work to just a few issues. I’ve learned that I’m not the only one who feels we are standing on the verge of a new civil rights movement.

As we move forward, we will share what we learn, and see how others help us integrate our ideas with their own. To do this, we need to speak up in public. We will also speak up in Congress, but I won’t bring along that thick book on economics. I might be tempted to use it. This is a nonviolent movement.

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