MARCH 22, 1954
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Thursday night I went to Newark for an evening meeting sponsored by the Newark chapter of the American Association for the U.N. and the Mayor's Council on Human Relations. This council has been doing very good work. The chapter of AAUN is only one year old and, while they are a small group, they make up in energy and imagination for lack of numbers. They have an information center on the second floor of Bamberger's store. It is staffed with volunteers, who are also there on the two evenings a week when the store is open.
The meeting was attended by 2,000 people, who filled to overflowing the largest room in the Essex House. Another room was opened up in which the speeches could be heard and where I went to make a personal appearance at the end of the meeting in the main hall. The mayor arrived breathless because, he said, the crowds were so great he had to climb up four flights of back stairs to get in at all. Our chapter members were pleased, I can assure you, by the turnout. It speaks well for the interest people have in the U.N. and in improving human relations at home and abroad.
The most imaginative and striking part of the evening was a presentation by a narrator who explained that their entire community was awakening to the value of improved human relations and the necessity of making the U.S. work in order to have a peaceful world. To demonstrate how the community felt, they had organized spokesmen for different groups, and these spokesmen were called on in turn. Beginning with "The church says," the representative of the Newark churches arose on the balcony and spoke over a microphone. He told how the church felt about improved relations between people in the community and between people in the world. Then someone spoke for education, for business, for labor, for women—and even the youth were not forgotten. A young voice said that they were ready to meet the challenge of thinking about improving the present and developing a better future. It was a really dramatic presentation and one, I think, that could be made in every community in the United States to remind us of what strengths we have on which to draw.
I came home well after 11 o'clock, feeling that the evening had been well worth it in the interest which had been awakened. I hope the AAUN chapter will use this interest to increase its membership to a very great extent during the drive which takes place in the month of April.
Let me say here to any of my readers who may not belong to a local chapter of AAUN that I hope they will join. If there is no local chapter in their community, I hope they will join by writing to the AAUN in the Carnegie Endowment Building, 345 East 46th Street, New York City.