Letter from ALBA: Know history to change history
Bryan Stevenson stood on the stage at ALBA’s reunion in New York City on April 27 and shined his light on justice. His message reverberated with everyone present. His voice moved us to tears—and to action.
Bryan’s message was a simple one. This country and the world are deeply scarred by histories of injustice. But the past is also full of inspirational examples of effective struggles against that injustice. If we believe in truth and justice and reconciliation, then those histories cannot be buried or hidden or sugar-coated. They need to be acknowledged. They need to be taught. They need to be understood. This is why his Equal Injustice Initiative combines hands-on work in prisons and courts with an ambitious educational program.
Education is what ALBA is all about. The new ALBA T-shirt puts it well: “Know History to Change History.” In March, we spent an incredibly productive day with high-school teachers from Massachusetts (see p. 9). They will soon be teaching their students about the need to stand up for their beliefs, inspired by the volunteers of the Lincoln Brigade. Another teacher from Stuyvesant High School who attended our New York institute in the fall developed a stunning project in which her students studied the Lincolns and the Spanish Civil War and designed their own political posters (see p. 11). In addition, a group of her students attended our event. And another teacher from Springboro, Ohio, who attended our institute in 2010, has been teaching the subject every year since and is organizing a fundraising drive for ALBA.
Bryan Stevenson didn’t just talk about the need to acknowledge the uncomfortable past and its enduring legacy of injustice. He also talked about the need for solidarity, alliances, and commitment. Those are terms we understand. After all, few people in American history exemplify those three values better than the volunteers of the Lincoln Brigade, whose internationalist solidarity was the force that drove them to join the alliance against fascism and racism.
We know you are committed, too. To continue our important educational work, to reach young people who hold the future of our ideals, we need your support now. We need your help to ensure that your legacy, our legacy, the Lincolns’ legacy, will endure as we bring our lessons into classrooms to inspire younger generations, as we, too have been inspired and remain inspired. As always, the easiest way to support ALBA is witha tax-deductible gift through our secure donation site.
Chair of the Board of Governors
PS: Please feel free to share the wonderful audio and video materials from our New York event: