Labor Day: the outcome of an organized labor movement determined to disrupt what they believed to be an unjust and exploitive economic system. It was a social justice movement.
Labor Day began out of a protest, resulting in more protests that disturbed the status quo. The economy was disrupted. Some businesses, like railroads, were burned down. Tragically, in some circumstances people died.
As the movement took shape its organizers and protestors were called unpatriotic and criminal. They were dismissed, demeaned, dehumanized, and criminalized. But they pressed on.
Now we celebrate Labor Day as part of the “American story.”
Labor Day reminds me that a movements for social change must persist. Its greatest resistance will always be the neighbors of its own generation. In time, if the movement has life, the resistance will give way to some among future generations. They will rise up to embrace it for what it is. Whether it’s selective amnesia or simply not knowing, the benefit of the movement is eventually recognized. In time, the origin story, with all its struggle, also gets lost. When that happens society is poised to repeat the same behaviors when new movements arise crying out for social justice.
I’m thankful for Labor Day, a holiday I once thought was random and obscure. I am learning to see the cost, the struggle, and the purpose. Once again I am reminded how the better side of our nation has always been built on the backs of movements for social justice.
Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience.
Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas.
Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.