Celebrating Justice

It is also good to celebrate.

Three years ago on a hot July day I, along with 50 other hotel workers and clergy sat down in the middle of Sunset Boulevard and when told by police to move we refused. The point of ourĀ civil disobedience (and subsequent arrest) was to protest the belligerently intransigent stance of the Hyatt Corporation toward their workers. This was part of a national action at a low point in a long-running campaign for dignity, just compensation, and a healthy work environment for hospitality workers. Despite the fact that people demonstrated across the country and in Canada; despite the fact that people were arrested across North America, Hyatt was seemingly unmoved.

But the workers were also strong, and persistent. It took another three years, but today the Hyatt Corporation and Unite-Here, the union representing the workers, announced an agreement. There will be a contract.

God revealed Godself at Sinai in justice. “I am the Lord your God who took you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” God’s presence in the world is dependent on justice. It is not a geographical space that can hold God’s presence, but the existence of justice. As justice spreads in the world, the Divine presence is revealed to that extent.

And so today, a day when gay and lesbian folks are finally recognized by the State of California as full human beings, the day when the Hyatt Corporation has recognized the humanity and dignity of its workers, is a day to celebrate the growing presence of God in the world.

There are, of course, as there always are, clouds above and more on the horizon. However, we are also obligated to celebrate the growing province of dignity, the growing house of justice, the growing Temple wherein God may one day rest.

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