To the Editor: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The NYC Managerial Employees Association was founded in October 1968, the same year Dr. King was organizing the Poor People's Campaign before his assassination that April. The Poor People's Campaign promoted an "economic bill of rights for all Americans," which included five pillars: a meaningful job at a living wage; a secure and adequate income; access to land; access to capital, especially for poor people and minorities; and the ability for ordinary people to "play a truly significant role" in the government.

For 52 years the MEA has advocated for economic justice for people of all races, religions and genders. Today we recognize how our lives have been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic suffering that is exacerbating income inequality and witnessing the unconscionable asphyxiation of George Floyd and other unarmed victims of police violence.

The MEA stands in solidarity with all causes to stop and end hatred, racism and police brutality. Apologies are easy; real actions will be difficult but necessary challenges to eliminate the suffering for future generations. This requires true open discussions in all communities to develop meaningful resolutions on how we remove the knee from so many necks, as Reverend Sharpton preached.

Here in New York City, we have almost 400,000 employees who have dedicated their lives to making this the greatest city in the world. We will need to be honest with ourselves and each other to walk together down the difficult road of eliminating the injustices of our time.

The legislative initiatives that are occurring here and across the country are only the public part of the change process. We all need to reach out to our co-workers and neighbors to do the hard work of bending our personal moral universe's arc toward Dr. King's economic bill of rights for all Americans and the justice that will provide.

SHELLY SHULMAN

President, NYC Managerial

Employees Association


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