“I have a hope that we can raise a generation of white children who do believe there are structural impediments to equality that do produce injustices based upon class and race. I have to hope this generation will see that it is their work to do something about this condition. And I have to hope we can raise a generation of black children who know this to be true, know their part in it, know they cannot solve the problem alone, and are willing to work with others to do so. We do not have that generation yet but I have to believe it is possible.”
—Tony Massengale, co-creator of civic organizing model
The events surrounding Charlottesville, Virginia recalls this conversation with Tony Massengale as we responded to media images showing the heartbreaking and disproportionate impact of Hurricane Katrina on African Americans in New Orleans. Our reflection focused on the inability to address these factors in a constructive manner.
The human tragedies reflected complex, entrenched and systemic racial and economic disparities and, though Tony and I had different associations with that reality, we shared a common despair in our ability to address the problem, a common hope that it has to be possible, and common lifelong commitment to developing a new kind of organizing to put our belief to the test.