Labor Day Then and Now

In the midst of today’s devastating worldwide pandemic, if it was reported that the majority of Americans in the United States worked 12-hour days, 7-days a week, would you believe it? Of course not! But during the smallpox pandemic from 1877 to 1977, when 500 million lost their lives and the mortality death rate was as high as 35%, that’s exactly what happened. It was not until 1980 that the World Health Organization declared smallpox to be eradicated. 
Source: Google COVID-19 Alert

As of this writing, there are 6.13 million cases and 186,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. with a mortality death rate of 3%. As of June, 30 million lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns, and some think the real numbers are as high as 40 million.
Source: Wall Street Journal

What is startling about these numbers is the resolve of the working class in the last century. Labor Day was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894 to celebrate workers and their achievements. American workers dedicated 12 hours a day, seven days a week to their jobs just to make a living. Even children as young as 5 or 6 worked in mills and factories to help make ends meet. 

Labor Day Parade, New York City, 5 September 1882

Like the protests of today, workers protested, sometimes with violence. On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers made their way to New York City to march from City Hall to Union Square — the first American Labor Day Parade. Eventually labor unions were formed to protect workers from unsafe conditions and their influence caused employers to raise pay and reduce working hours.

Today we still celebrate the American worker on the first Monday in September, thanks to the workers who stood up for fair pay for a decent day’s work, and President Grover Cleveland who signed into law Labor Day as a legal holiday.

As you celebrate this weekend with backyard BBQ’s and picnics, face masks and social distancing, think of the men, women and children whose labor inspired this holiday.

The WOKE Investor

You are likely familiar with the terms “impact investing,” “cause based investing,” “social impact investing,” “socially responsible investing,” and “sustainability investing.” In fact, one of these terms serves as the backbone of the Stewardship Foundation. Nowadays, there’s a new kid on the block — the woke investor.

The Woke investor likes ESG funds for an investment strategy that aligns with personal values, whether those be going green, saving the planet, or protesting for BLM. They want to feel good about improving their financial well-being. 

Woke investors are generally millennials who want their money to go towards making a difference in society and in the world (though, when asked how their money would actually support a good cause, most aren’t sure). 

The Stewardship Foundation is similar in its pursuit of transformational investing, though where we invest may very well be different. We were founded on a set of core beliefs that allow our clients to trust that the decisions we make to grow and protect their wealth are made as though Christ was looking over our shoulder. 

Some investment companies appear to be exchanging the goal of maximizing shareholder value for maximizing societal value, a kind of social justice (source: The Federalist). Does this mean that SF has been way ahead of the curve? Perhaps. Since 2009, we have served only clients who share our Credo.

We faithfully serve clients who also believe…

  • in transformational giving.
  • that giving is a collaborative act between the donor, the charity, and their God.
  • that transformational giving is not about the bottom line, but about the heart.
  • that transformational giving creates partnerships that impact entire communities.
  • in the sanctity of human life, marriage and sexual morality, and religious freedom and the rights of conscience.
  • that it is our responsibility to care for the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, and to use our talents for the betterment of mankind through education, opportunity and freedom.

Our clients are not WOKE investors. They were never asleep.

Robert Royal: Today

You may have heard of Robert Royal. For those who have not, allow us to introduce him. Robert Royal is a Catholic author and the current editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, an online publication of essays and thought on religion in the modern world. He’s conservative and thought provoking. Like Royal says, “we make arguments; we don’t hold up the bible.”

The commentary written by Royal on June 15 is a reflection of the ongoing unrest which began in Minneapolis in response to the killing of George Floyd. By June 13, over 2,000 cities and towns across the United States and around the world saw protests, demonstrations, and widespread looting.

Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings

The article is titled Today is Not That Day. We will give our loyal readers of this blog the courtesy of a simple link to the entire article, but are compelled to share more openly a small sample:

On some calmer day, I may write another column in which I’ll try to define terms like systemic racism, privilege, violence, crime, justice, so that maybe we can start to understand what we’re arguing over. Such words fly past us all, as if they were merely rocks you pick up to throw in a street fight, not things needing to be carefully considered.

But today is not that day.

Readers may recognize the phrase, Aragorn urging the troops into battle in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003):

Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Men of the West!

Every day on Earth is a day of battle for women and men of true spirit against various evils – for Christians, that includes the evils lurking in our own hearts.

But not every day on Earth is a day for outward engagement, even to remedy historic injustices or to defend law and order. There are days of inner battle and silence as well, that may even be more important and more challenging than an outward clash.

Now, more than ever in recent times, is a moment for reflection. Public clashes are raucous – and on some days refreshing and invigorating for that very reason. Today is not that day.

From the Stewardship Foundation, we wish all our friends God’s peace and heartfelt prayer in these difficult times.