Together We Are Stronger

Feb 9, 2017

circle of hands
Dear New School Friends,
This time in America poses many challenges for the Commonweal community and for each of us. The first challenge is how we live through this time personally. The second challenge is how we respond to it in our work. And the third challenge is how we join with others in responding in the most effective way possible.

Commonweal is a non-partisan organization, but we have values. We have fought for health, environment, and justice for 40 years. We believe in the preciousness of constitutional democracy, diversity, and the right to love who we love.

This Administration challenges our values in fundamental ways. So the question we ask ourselves is: how do we want to respond?

I will speak only for myself. I am not a Quaker, but I believe that the Quakers are a model of non-violent action on behalf of human dignity. They believe in universal access to “that of God in every person.” There are less than 400,000 adult Quakers, yet their quiet witness has been felt in the West for more than 350 years. They played a vital role in ending slavery. They have worked for peace, prison reform, and social justice — all causes dear to our hearts at Commonweal. They worship in silence together, speaking their truth into the center of their circles. These practices are central to our healing work.

We are surrounded by so much violence right now. The way of the Quakers, of Gandhi,
and of Martin Luther King is the way that beckons to me.

I must stand witness to the work of healing ourselves and healing the earth that has shaped our community at Commonweal for 40 years. I must hold this witness peacefully yet with deep clarity of purpose. I believe our country is better than this. I believe we are, together, stronger than this. I cannot be silent. I believe we shall overcome.

I hope you find your way as I seek to find mine.

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