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Person to Watch in 2012: Reverend James Manship and all Crusaders for Social Justice



Joined: 1/31/2012
Posts: 3
jimmyrick21
Racial inequality has been an issue in American society since the first European settlers encountered the native inhabitants of the continent. In 2012, five hundred and twenty years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue and became the first European to set foot in the "New World", the United States has experienced race riots, Jim Crow laws, and a bloody civil war due to issues of racial subjugation. Does this and the fact that racial profiling in America's police forces and social inequality still exist prove that human beings cannot cooperate peacefully and build a better world despite our differences? Reverend James Manship of St. Rose's Catholic Church in New Haven, Connecticut certainly doesn't think so.
Five years ago, the Reverend stood in front of the presidents of nine universities and made the case for prospective students who wished to attend college. Ordinarily, the students wouldn't have needed their parish priest to make their case to a university president but these students had a problem in common. Not only did they lack the financial resources to go to college and get a better job, but they were undocumented and did not have status as an official United States citizen. The arbitrary dictations of international borders didn't stop Reverend James Manship from helping his community and after several meetings with colleges interested in reaching out, a symposium was set up with twenty New England colleges in an attempt to bring higher education to undocumented and under-privileged young adults.
Not everyone accepted the Reverend's campaigns for social justice as readily as the universities did. Manship was arrested in 2009 after he filmed an encounter between police and one of his Hispanic parishioners who runs a shop in New Haven. The charges against him were dropped when police testimony conflicted with the video he had recorded. As evidence of police profiling and harassment of Latino storeowners in New Haven, the video inspired outrage across the country and a petition to the United States Justice Department to investigate racial harassment in New Haven. A lawsuit is pending while a grand jury investigates possible wrong-doing by the predominantly white New Haven Police Department.
The Reverend was named "Person of the Year" by the New Haven register for his community service and activism. He accepted the honor graciously but said that the real recognition should go to the parishioners who struggled to help the cause, and is right in insisting that the importance of these issues isn't about one man but about all activists who get out there and do their part. Manship said,
"I think to be a patriot is to contribute to the public debate."
2012 is a year ripe for crusaders and patriots. By furthering the cause of equality in America, the Reverend is a true patriot, as is anyone who fights for equality and justice, and it is that patriot who we should all watch in the upcoming year.



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