Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Faith Voices for the Common Good

I partipated in early stages of drafting these statements of purpose, along with other women from many religious backgrounds:

Women’s Public Vision

As women leaders, we are guided by a public vision based on justice, dignity, equality, empathy, respect, love, peace, sufficiency, sustainability, relationality, reciprocity, and communication.

This vision calls for greater women's leadership and responsibility. It calls for universal access to food, water, housing, health care, education, and employment. It calls for inclusive participation of all disadvantaged groups in decision making; restoration of natural ecosystems; payment for caregivers, and good wages for all. It calls for a reallocation of resources, fair elections, and corporate accountability. It calls for pluralism in all its forms, including religious pluralism, to be embraced as learning opportunities, not as justification for conflict and war.

We seek meaningful individual and local community control over and access to: political power, public funds, clean air and water, safe neighborhoods, outstanding child care, education and creative outlets, nutritional foods, excellent health care, safe housing, non-commercialized media outlets, satisfying personal occupations (whether paid or unpaid), and a multitude of environmentally sustainable consumer choices. We seek a world of balanced participation by men and women of all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, physical abilities, and religious affiliations. We seek healing and spirit and love.

In order for these to occur, We commit ourselves to promoting women's leadership. We seek to build a movement that bridges our diversities and supports leaders who promote our values. In particular, we seek to recruit and support the leadership of talented, diverse women. We seek to create support structures for women in leadership, and especially to promote greater public leadership by mothers, young women, women of color, poor women, and other under-represented women.

As women leaders, we commit ourselves to accomplishing these goals with integrity, self-reflexivity, grace, and love.

Women's public values insist that we recognize equal rights and opportunities for all, within a context of shared responsibility for each other and our communities. As women, we demand that values such as interdependence, shared responsibility, equal opportunity, personal growth, compassion, and respect for individual worth and dignity are relevant and important to public life. These values ask that we give voice to those left out of power and politics, so that we can all define our rights, concerns, and interests, rather than have them defined for us.

We can live out these values in politics, policy, and our own lives, by creating responsive and respectful institutions and organizations; by developing policies that respect individual agency and encourage a sense of compassion and responsibility for community; by personally engaging in community life; and by choosing to live our lives in ways that reach out to others and respect the agency of people of all backgrounds.

Our Values

We acknowledge that all people are interdependent; what happens to the most disadvantaged affects us all. Therefore, each person is mutually responsible for the well-being of others and our communities. Individual rights are important & must be respected, but they must also be understood within the greater context of the well-being of all.

Each person must have equal opportunities for access to education, jobs, political involvement, and other political and economic rights. All of us should have the opportunity to help define those rights, and to pursue what delights and inspires us, while respecting the rights, needs, and desires of others.

Living Our Values Out Loud

We can live our values out in public life by creating more responsive political channels for accessing elected officials, particularly by those left out of power, and by developing ways for community & political groups to listen to how women & men define their concerns. We ask that structures for social welfare, police, & other services are also responsive and respectful of all of us.

We support policies that encourage every person to reach their full potential, and that recognize women's own moral and political agency to make choices about their lives. We insist that public policies give priority to ensuring our physical safety, caring for our mental and physical health, supporting childrearing, providing access to education from childhood through adulthood, respecting our reproductive choices, and ensuring work with dignity for all.

We pledge to live this ethic ourselves, by analyzing the impact of whom we reach out to and what we say and do; by changing our own habits to model what we want to see in the world; and by recognizing that alliances across race, class, religion, disability, and other lines are good for individuals, communities, and movements for social change.

We will speak out to ensure that our concerns and needs, as well as the concerns and needs of others, are heard. And when others cannot speak for themselves, we will help them claim a voice by listening, reflecting, and advocating for them. With their permission!

Finally, we pledge to ensure respect for individuality and diversity in decision making. We will challenge racism, sexism, and other prejudices whenever and wherever we are confronted by them, and we will insist that all people can be heard and considered in decisions affecting their lives and communities.


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