MAY 10, 1943
WASHINGTON, Sunday—I spent yesterday in New York City chiefly talking to young people's groups. Just before ten in the morning, I was at the Society for Ethical Culture's auditorium. It was the last meeting in a course which they organized largely for high school students.
Various speakers had covered such subjects as civil liberties, race relations, the postwar world, and the students had a discussion on the subject of what students can do while they are still students to make some contribution to this world at war and the future world at peace.
As I looked at the young and eager faces, I thought of how many problems lay before them, and it seemed as though the only thing one could say, no matter how much you embellished and embroidered it, could be contained in the brief words—be honest and have courage.
Afterwards, I looked through the school rooms where the poor children of the vicinity play on the weekends, and which will be open continuously during the summer as a play school.
In the afternoon I spoke at the meeting called by the United States Student Assembly. Forty colleges were represented, and I feel that this young group is moving forward and will build a good organization on a firm foundation. They should learn something through their activities about the citizenship which they will have to practice in the future.
Having had the privilege of a college education, I think they will also feel the obligation of working with the rest of the youth of the country and making as valuable a contribution as they can, because of their added educational opportunities. Mr. James Carey, Secretary of the CIO, made a very excellent, forceful and practical talk.
From the YWCA, where this meeting was held, I went directly to International House, where I had supper with the members of the Chinese Students' Forum. This is the parent forum, but it has offshoots in many other places throughout the United States. They told me the very delicious food we had was typical of an ordinary family meal in China.
Their meeting began at 8:00 with singing by the Chinese students' chorus, and some of them have beautiful voices. This period ended with the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner" and the Chinese national anthem. The flags of the two countries hung behind me as I spoke.
I have great hopes that this group may have the opportunity to know something of the family life of young people in this country and that through them we may learn more of the life and traditions of China.