Lament and Hope: A Pan African Quad-Centennial Devotional Guide - Page 19



LAMENT AND HOPE
The Policy of the Social Security Act of 1935
Weekly Scripture Lessons:
First Sunday: “Pleading the Case for Just Policies for All” (Isaiah 1:17)
Second Sunday: “Partnering with the Most Affected Matters” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Third Sunday: “Good News Despite Policy Denials and Discrimination” (Luke 4:18-19)
Fourth Sunday: “The Spirit of the Lord Is With Us” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
Biblical Reflection:
In the aftermath of the Great Depression and near the beginning of World War II, the United States witnessed
rapid industrialization. With industrialization came immigrants from eastern and southern Europe. During this time,
immigration and migration were viewed as positive for the country—although not for all. The United States afforded many
people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Drs. Charles Hirschman and Elizabeth Hogsford in their article about immigration stated: “The size and selectivity of
the immigrant community, as well as their disproportionate residence in large cities, meant they were the mainstay of the
American industrial workforce. Immigrants and their children comprised over half of manufacturing workers in 1920,
and if the third generation (the grandchildren of immigrants) are included, then more than two-thirds of workers in the
manufacturing sector were of recent immigrant stock.”
It is in this context that Congress passed, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed, the Social Security Act of 1935. The
legislation codified many government initiatives that protected immigrants and others who were already in the United
States. Today, however, immigrants and migrants with Hispanic and African heritages are being demeaned, demonized, and
degraded. They, too, seek equitable work with dignity like the immigrants who came before them. Our federal government
needs to protect the rights of immigrants and migrants. Need moves God to act. Today, let it move you to advocate for this.
Prayer:
Almighty God, there are great needs in our society today. Injustice abounds as poverty is on the rise, violence grips our
neighborhoods, and racism and discrimination plague our lives. In a land of plenty, so many experience widening economic
and social inequity wrought by bad policy and selfish desires on the part of a few. Empower us to show hope through acts of
love towards all of your Creation. We pray this in the name of Christ and through Your Spirit. Amen.
Reflection Questions:
Week 1: What is your church teaching you about seeking justice? Whose cause should we take up and whose case should we
plead most often—our own or others?
Week 2: In your advocacy, are you speaking with and for those relegated to the margins? How are you partnering with those
experiencing injustice?
Week 3: What motivates your advocacy—religion, tradition, the Spirit? And, what is some “good news” that should be shared?
Week 4: If there is freedom where the Spirit of the Lord is, why is there still so much bondage in our land? Where is the Spirit
of the Lord?
Derick D. Dailey, Esq. is a corporate litigation attorney and national convener of the Pan-African Young Adult Network (PAYAN) at
Bread for the World
Bread for the World
JUNE
13

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