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The Rev. James Lawson: Reflections on workers’ rights and dignity


The Rev. James Lawson is a retired United Methodist pastor and civil rights icon who worked to organize low-wage workers and help the marginalized in society find their voice. “We have to work as human beings because it feeds our dignity. It feeds our sense of making a contribution,” says Lawson.

Lawson was a close ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and remains a pivotal player in the nonviolence movement. In a documentary called "Love and Solidarity," Rev. Lawson recounts in his own words the lessons learned from the movement in the 1960’s and how nonviolence still works in struggles against racism, violence and economic injustice.

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The Rev. James Lawson: “The laborer deserves his wages. I think wages of the people who do the work is an essential ingredient of justice and of community. I think the human species was created primarily to learn to work: physical work, intellectual work, artistic work, community work, social work. We have to work as human beings because it feeds our dignity. It feeds our sense of making a contribution. It feeds our sense of taking care of ourselves. And so, ‘All work has dignity to it,’ is what Martin King said, ‘All labor has dignity.’ And so, work is not primarily for wages, but we ought to be able to benefit from our work, especially the work that we do outside of the home and in the larger community. They cannot support the simple right of the ordinary man and woman in this society to have the full dignity of their work and their wages.”

This is an excerpt from the documentary trailer for "Love & Solidarity." Individuals, community groups, and educational institutions can purchase the film or rights to show it to groups through Bullfrog Communities.

This video was shared by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.
Media contact is Fran Walsh, 615-742-5458.

This video was first posted on August 4, 2017.