Getting Back Our Rights

Don’t Brood and Despair. Organize!

The organizations above—along with other groups, high school and college students, the Ralph Nader supporters, and the unorganized around the country who currently feel powerless to regain their rights—can stop this desecration of constitutional democracy. But names on a masthead and writing letters to a newspaper alone won't do it.

In 1963, A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin organized what became the historic March on Washington that shook the late-awakening John F. Kennedy and Congress. I was in Rustin's jerry-built Harlem headquarters when the organizing was just getting under way. There were some volunteers and an enormous determination not only to speak truth to power but also to make Washington accountable to what this country was supposedly all about.

To paraphrase Joe Hill: Don't brood and despair, organize! Bayard Rustin was a master organizer, but surely, among the groups on the above list, there are some strategists who can help get us back our rights. They already have a head start, in much greater numbers than Bayard had. Now is the time!

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