And they ask a question, and the question is: How can these people be so passionate? A poor person, a low-income person, somebody in Cancer Alley, somebody in Watts, somebody in Harlem, somebody on an Indian reservation, might say to themselves — and rightfully so –
“How can these people be so passionate about making sure that a plastic bottle has a second chance in life, or an aluminum can has a second chance, and yet, when my child gets in trouble and goes to prison, he doesn’t get a second chance? How can this movement be so passionate about saying we don’t have throwaway stuff, no throwaway dead materials, and yet accept throwaway lives and throwaway communities like Cancer Alley?”
And so, we now get a chance to be truly proud of this movement. When we take on topics like this, it gives us that extra call to reach out to other movements and to become more inclusive and to grow, and we can finally get out of this crazy dilemma that we’ve been in.
Most of you are good, softhearted people. When you were younger, you cared about the whole world, and at some point, somebody said you had to pick an issue, you had to boil your love down to an issue. “Can’t love the whole world — you’ve got to work on trees or you’ve got to work on immigration. You’ve got to shrink it down and be about one issue.”
And really, they fundamentally told you, “Are you going to hug a tree? Or are you going to hug a child? Pick.”
Well, when you start working on issues like plastic, you realize the whole thing is connected. And luckily, most of us are blessed to have two arms — we can hug both.
Thank you very much.