Being a BIG CITIZEN: Taking Part in an Active Public Life

Gov. Gary Locke, Being a BIG CITIZEN: Taking  Part in an Active Public Life, 37 Gon. L. Rev. 11 (2002).

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Thank you Dean Morrissey for that introduction and thank you for inviting me here today. Thanks also to Father Spitzer, Karin Olsen and Susan Harmon. I am honored to speak at Gonzaga Law School, a great law school and institution grounded in the principles of liberty, social justice, and human rights. The Jesuit tradition seeks to harmonize the temporal and the spiritual-and Gonzaga Law School is a great manifestation of that tradition.

I want to talk to you today about social justice in the Pacific Northwest and in this country, about the “City of the Haves” versus the “City of the Have-Nots.” What does this divide-this growing polarization based on class, race and geography-say about our priorities and values as a society? And what can we do, as community members, future attorneys, and citizens active in the public sphere, to bind the wounds and rip down the walls that are dividing us?

Some of you probably know the story of Saint Francis of Assisi. His way of ripping down the walls was to strip naked … hand his clothing to his wealthy father … and walk out the door of his fine house into a lifetime of service to the voiceless poor. I am not saying we must all follow the way of Saint Francis in order to address social injustice: we can do much from just where we stand. We can look and then we can act. . . . Read More

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