DECEMBER 11, 1961
SAN FRANCISCO—I took a hurried trip to Miami on Friday to receive from AFL-CIO President George Meany the checks labor has collected in its cancer campaign. I was shown a 50-lb. bundle of envelopes containing checks that represented $680,000, and I was assured that the balance of the million dollars pledged would soon come in. This seemed very probable when Mr. Meany read off the list of unions which had sent in their donations and those still to be heard from. Every union was given a quota based on a 10-cent subscription per member. One especially encouraging thing about this campaign is that the Cancer Foundation has received a very large number of requests for their little leaflet which tells people what to watch for and advises them to have health check-ups so that cancer will not have a chance to develop without detection.
All the leaders I spoke with were very happy with the President's speech the day before, and as I looked at the sea of faces of these men and women who represent such a large group of our population I could not help thinking how important it was for them to be informed. Some unions do a better job through their education sections than some others, but it is something to be grateful for when leaders in the union field encourage their members to be better informed. This information is important not only for citizenship but also in those fields of knowledge which often in the past have been closed to the greater number of American workers. Now, because of shorter hours and better working conditions, many fields of knowledge and enjoyment have become available which can make life much more interesting and rewarding.
I also hope this convention of the AFL-CIO can vote more help for organization in the white collar groups and in the farm labor groups, particularly among the migratory workers. Understandably, the rewards to be reaped from the membership dues of these groups may not repay quickly the money invested by the labor movement as a whole in organization, but one hopes that labor will point the way for greater service in improving the living standards of those among us who seem too weak to bring about the necessary changes for themselves.
Besides the checks, which I turned over at once to Mr. Glazier, the representative of the Cancer Foundation, I received a pin for 25 years of membership in the Newspaper Guild. I had not realized that so many years had passed since I originally joined, but I was very happy to be reminded of these years in such a pleasant way.
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The DAR has again demonstrated its faculty for making itself an object of public laughter.
Apparently they sent out a notice to their members urging them not to buy UNICEF Christmas cards becase these were alleged to be "part of a Communist plan to destroy all religious beliefs and customs." Mrs. John F. Kennedy, by letting it be known that she had bought 10 boxes of these cards, started a rush for the purchase of similar ones. At the U.N., where they are sold, I was told UNICEF had to send a hurried call to the British printers for more of the cards to be sent over. I am sure that if there is a rush at the headquarters here, a similar rush will develop all over the country in the different communities where the cards are sold. It will be a great surprise to some of them to find that, far from destroying all religious beliefs, these cards often have religious motifs. One of the things they try to do is to put "Merry Christmas" into many different languages. Other designs certainly will show that while our Christmas celebration has adopted many secular customs from all around the world, the religious idea rarely is completely absent.