I may have mentioned before that I am something of a pack rat, having come by it honestly from my grandparents and father who survived the Great Depression. I have finally started going through the stacks and stacks of things I brought home from my office in May.
My friend Jane sent me this card while we still lived in Abilene, Texas. It held a special place in my office at Hardin-Simmons University from 1993 until I left in 2003. Then, it moved to my office at the University of Mississippi, where it resided through 3 different offices until I retired in May 2020. It has been tacked to a bulletin board, perched on an easel on a shelf, and now, is about to be relocated to my Wall of Fame next to my computer where I work daily.
I had known Jane for several years since I began the MSW program in 1986, but only in relations to the times were were at NASW unit meetings. Jane had been an MSW for several years already, even though she was younger than I. She had invited me to some event she was involved in, and at first, I had declined because I was teaching that night. Then I called her back and asked, “Could I bring my students?” Now granted, that might not have been the greatest plan because you cannot always assume students think the same way the instructor does, but nonetheless, we received approval from the sponsoring agency. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to introduce them to real life civic participation, and for the most part, it was. Thus began our friendship as we moved beyond that event to others.
We had roomed together for the NASW-TX annual conference in Dallas that year, and the keynote speaker was Si Kahn. I had not known of his work in Civil Rights and Social Justice, but from the moment he walked on stage, I was hooked: mesmerized, enraptured, enthralled, whatever adjectives you wanted to throw in. Jane and I looked at each other (as we often came to do when attending significant events together over the years) and said, “Let’s bring him to Abilene.”
During a break after one of his presentations, we approached him and asked “What would it take to get you to come to Abilene?” He responded with a smile, “Well, you would need to have a rich uncle” and went on to explain how his work was regional and that when he accepted an engagement outside of the area he served, there were fees and travel. Jane and I went off and talked a bit, and then came back and asked, “How rich would that uncle have to be?”
As you can tell from the comments in her note, things were happening, and would continue to keep happening. After all,
If you want peace, work for justice.Pope Paul VI