Breaking Silence on Syria
The Ella Baker Center works to ensure dignity and opportunity in low-income communities of color by working to advance racial and economic justice. We work to promote alternatives to violence and incarceration inside the United States. And we are committed to seeing these same principles carried out internationally.
As Pentagon officials move warships into position to drop bombs on Syria, it is important to lift up our values for alternatives to violence, rather than a blind rush into war by our government. In this moment, I am reminded of words by musician Michael Franti: "you tell the youth not to be so violent, then you drop bombs on every single continent." How can we ever achieve peace and safety within our nation, if we are promoting violence and destruction around the world?
The question should not be, “Did the Syrian government use chemical weapons on its civilians?” Instead, we should all be asking ourselves: “What good can come from a US military intervention in Syria?”
Just one week ago, U.S. leaders across the political spectrum celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s message and vision by attending the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Unfortunately, Dr. King's message appears to have been lost on too many. In Beyond Vietnam Dr. King said, "I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today--my own government." Nor can we.
For too long, those of us who work in civil society, in unions, in non-profits, and in other organizations that should stand up and oppose wars abroad have been silent and "stayed in our lane." Neither Dr. Martin Luther King nor our namesake, Miss Ella Jo Baker, would want us to remain silent now.
Break your silence now.