ANDREW MOSS – What John Lewis did by describing democracy as an act was to expand the discussion of democracy from issues concerning governmental institutions and political norms to questions of individual ethical choice. Democracy, he helped us understand, is choosing to see truthfully and humanely. It is choosing to act responsibly on the basis of that vision. And sometimes acting in this way will take great courage: to endure the blows of state troopers, as Lewis did in a 1965 march for voting rights; or, years later, to risk deportation and speak out as undocumented (or temporarily documented) individuals in order to claim full rights as human beings – and as fellow Americans.
REBECCA SOLNIT – I began talking about hope in 2003, in the bleak days after the war in Iraq was launched. Fourteen years later, I use the term hope because it navigates a way forward between the false certainties of optimism and of pessimism, and the complacency or passivity that goes with both. Optimism assumes that all will go well without our effort; pessimism assumes itâ€™s all irredeemable; both let us stay home and do nothing. Hope for me has meant a sense that the future is unpredictable, and that we donâ€™t actually know what will happen, but know we may be able write it ourselves.
DAVID HARTSOUGH — I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the 50th reunion of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), April 15-18, 2010, in Raleigh, NC. Over 800 SNCC workers, their families and friends came together for four days to remember, reflect, share stories, inspire a younger generation, and strategize about how to continue the important work that SNCC students started 50 years ago.