This week Metis is celebrating its 43rd anniversary (8/17/1977). For more than four decades, we have been driven by our mission and guided by our values to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the children and families served by our clients. We mark this significant milestone with deep gratitude to our numerous clients who, over these many years, have entrusted us to support them in their good and important work.
Inoculated by the passage of time, and perhaps some selective memories, the late 1970s are often viewed as a better time – the “good old days.” There was a warm and generous man in the White House (Carter); technology was soaring (e.g., NASA launched Voyager 1, the SST boomed across the Atlantic, Atari produced its first gaming system, the first personal computers hit the marketplace, and Star Wars exploded on the big screen – well, maybe not as big as today’s Imax); and the American Dream seemed well within reach.
But there clearly was a dark side of 1977 – and I’m not just referring to the now-infamous 25-hour power blackout in NYC. President Carter’s pardon of conscientious objectors to the war in Vietnam symbolized the devastating and lingering toll being paid in the aftermath of the brutal conflict in southeast Asia; James Earl Ray’s escape from federal prison was a painful reminder of the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King ten years earlier; and the economic, educational, housing and other disparities, borne of widespread institutional racism, made it clear that the American Dream was only attainable for some people.
The painful truth is that the very challenges we confronted when Metis began its work in 1977 are not only still present today, but seem larger and even more intractable due to the intervening four decades of relative neglect. Our work and the work of our clients must continue. So, as we enter our 44th year, we rededicate ourselves to the struggle for social justice.