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Accumulated feathers sink the boat

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Accumulated feathers sink the boat. It took me twenty-seven years to find, embrace and internalize that truism, posted on an Amnesty International calendar. 

Likewise, stand on the shoulders of past and present giants rather than reinventing the wheel. Only arrogance would lead people otherwise. I have been arrogant for too long, even while honoring and deeply thanking such giants as my trial law gurus Steve Rench and Sunwolf; taijiquan teachers Julian Chu, Ben Lo, and Len and Ellen Kennedy; and such in-the-moment masters as Ram Dass, Cecil Taylor, and Dizzy Gillespie.

In this society that focuses so heavily on socializing everyone for individualism, including the rarity of allowing groups to do school exams rather than individuals, the rarity of truly integrated villages where neighbors positively join in achieving mutual betterment, and even the focus on individual liberties (which remains essential to collective benefits), looking beyond our individual selves can be all the more challenging.

In that context, it is all the more remarkable that a slew of prisoners accumulated their collective feathers so heavily that their multiple pro se handwritten court filings alleging wretched jail conditions in Suffolk County, New York, led the court to ask the ACLU to step in. Kudos and thanks to the ACLU and the mainstream corporate law firm Shearman & Sterling that rose to the challenge.

Thanks most of all to the inmates who never gave up and never gave in on this challenge.