While giving a talk to Georgetown University's Labor Lab on April 30th, renown community organizer Stephen Learner boasted some peculiar parenting accomplishments, while bringing into question his version of the Jewish tradition of Bar Mitzvah.
Lerner began his speech by bragging about his disruption of Washington DC in the Justice for Janitors campaign of the 80's and 90's:
"Do people know about when we shut down Washington, D.C.? Does anybody know that story? So we had this idea to get-- that if we couldn't picket the buildings anymore because of secondary boycott law, maybe we should just shut the city down. So we parked school buses across the bridges into the city and set up classrooms to symbolize that pacts weren't being paid, and the schools were in deterioration."
He then announced a point of personal importance and pride over the protest:
"An important event in my life because my oldest son got arrested for his first time. And it was very big event, [we're] joking now that the leftist bar mitzvah is when your son gets arrested for the first time. And he then-- just a great side story-- at our local elementary school my youngest son, they said during story time, "do you have anything to share?" And he said, "yes, my brother went to jail last night." And the teacher said, "Oh, that's ok it happens to all of us, you know it will get worked out." And my youngest son said, "We're so proud."
Did the mass disruption and family members in prison bother Lerner?
"People um--you know and so yes, people ranted and raved and complained, but in the end, every janitor almost in Washington D.C. is union now."
Suppose the ends justify the means if everyone get s a Union out of it. The moral of the heartwarming story was made clear by Lerner:
"What I'm proposing is that if we don't have an ability to cause pain and cause money to those who have power, that they have no incentive to want to change."
But the legendary SEIU organizer was not content with just his own children's incarceration, he wanted the mostly student audience at Georgetown to share in the experience:
"Whenever I come back, everybody's got to be willing to raise their hand and say, 'I've been arrested' or 'I'm gonna be arrested.'
Lerner closed with further inspiration for the Occupy generation:
"If we are not willing to go to jail, if we are not willing to take that risk, if we are not willing to put our bodies on the line, and if we are not willing to stand up to folks who are literally plundering and raping the earth while enriching themselves, then it's shame at us and that's a world we can't bequeath to our children and grandchildren."
Father of the Year? Watch Below: