By J.R. Green
Hyatt workers have been at this for three years. They’re fighting for their right to work without fear of injury. They’re fighting for their right to work for a living wage. In some places, they’re fighting to work as an actual employee rather than as “permanent-temps.” They’re fighting for dignity and basic human rights. IWJ and our supporters are working with UNITE HERE to bring about the Kingdom of God here on Earth and support these workers as they call for justice and dignity at work.
On Nov. 17, in the middle of the annual joint conference of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature, a group of orthodox rabbis and teachers will be honoring their commitment to boycott the Hyatt Corporation. On Saturday, in order to observe the Sabbath, these prophetic worker advocates won’t be able to use any form of transportation. Instead, they will walk from their hotel in downtown Chicago to McCormick Place in order to join the conference. We have the opportunity to support them and walk in solidarity with them.
As people of faith, we have the obligation to support in prayer and in action any act that stands against oppression and injustice. These rabbis and teachers will be sending a message that convenience and ease is no match for justice and honor. The walk may be long but it will be full of joy as we walk in solidarity with those who are willing to sacrifice their ease for the sake of another.
I am a Christian, so I’m just going to frame this in a Christian manner. The Kingdom of God is already here and all around us and still not yet fulfilled. “Already but not yet,” theology is a cornerstone in active faith. When we have opportunities to bring about the Kingdom of God in our daily life, we should be moved to participate. Not everyone can be present physically, but everyone, no matter their faith, can support the workers, rabbis, teachers and supporters in prayer. Join us in prayer and/or in person as we sing and march our way through Chicago, making the statement that justice is coming and the fight will soon be over.
J.R. Green is a seminary student at North Park University and an organizing intern with IWJ. J.R. is working with our union friends on a number of national worker justice campaigns.