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Blog: Remembering Our True North

Blog: Remembering Our True North

By Erin Bennett
9to5 Colorado Director

The 9to5 staff is in Atlanta this week for two days of training on strategic communications. What fun! We kicked off our time together with an anti-oppression field trip to the King Center. In one of the buildings honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there was a wall of quotes by the amazing Coretta Scott King. As I read through them all, I was struck by one quote in particular:

“Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.” – Mrs. Coretta Scott King

And it reminded me of a quote I recently heard from another inspiring woman:

“The powers we are up against are huge. When we shrink our demands to what we think is politically achievable, it actually undermines our ability to succeed.” – Ai-Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caring Across Generations.

All too often, we are forced to settle for small, incremental wins because that’s what is politically possible in our current climate. While any win, no matter the size, is still movement forward – we have to really consider what Corettta and Ai-Jen’s statements mean for our work today. We cannot lose sight of our long-term vision for ensuring that our communities have the security, equality, and justice that we deserve.

Our opposition will try to divide us. They will try to push us down and drown our goals. They will do everything they can to stop us from continuing to make progress, especially by forcing us to take two steps back every time we take one step. I can handle this reality, and we can continue to make progress where possible. But we cannot let our opposition influence our vision and our path to victory. We must remember our true north by staying united and striving for justice for everyone. We will not settle for less.

As I come back to Denver, I will keep the wisdom of Coretta and Ai-Jen close to my heart and on the wall of my office so that I never forget.