Dear Tikkun Ally (aka Tikkunistas–people committed to healing and transforming our world),

I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Cat J. Zavis as Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. As the politics of 2014 unfold in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Russia, the Ukraine, South and Central America, Australia, Israel, Palestine, Africa, Iran, India, and China, you will undoubtedly see how very badly the world needs the ideas and energy of the Network of Spiritual Progressives!

Cat J. Zavis is an attorney who started the Bellingham Washington chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. In the past 7 years, she has focused her practice in the areas of collaborative divorce and mediation for couples considering or going through a divorce process.  She previously served as a staff attorney for the Northwest Women’s Law Center in Seattle, and as an attorney with the Public Defender’s Association in Seattle. She has a Master’s in Gender Studies from the University of British Columbia and teaches Empathic (or Nonviolent, Compassionate Communication) to parents, attorneys, mediators, spiritual centers, teachers, couples and students. In 2009, she won the Whatcom County Peace Builders Award for her business.

The NSP has had several recent victories, including the introduction of a House Resolution endorsing the essence of our proposed Global Marshall Plan (H. Res 439 introduced by Hon. Keith Ellison), and the expanding circle of supporters who understand the power and importance of building a spiritually grounded progressive political movement.  We are, however, still suffering from the decline of NSP chapters occasioned in part by the economic meltdown of 2008-2009, whose consequences are still felt intensely by many middle income people (though not by the super rich who control the media), and by the great disillusionment in Obama, which continues to deepen and drive many of our previous supporters to feel so jaded with anything connected to politics that they are simply unwilling to try again.

Cat’s task is to revive local chapters, build a series of Task Forces in law, medicine, psychotherapy, education, science, technology workers, and other professional fields that can articulate what the New Bottom Line would look like in those professional fields, and to build a national conference of spiritual progressives (hopefully sometime in 2015). No small task! She will need the support and involvement of all of you to make her efforts successful.

I’m hoping you’ll respond to her correspondences with you by helping us create a local chapter of NSP in your area. In your chapter you may work to gain endorsements for our Money Out Of Politics campaign (the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) or for our Global Marshall Plan from your local civic, political, and religious organizations, your elected officials and city councils and state legislatures.  You can read more about these proposals at at www.tikkun.org/ESRA and at www.tikkun.org/GMP.

Or you could take just one part of the ESRA, the idea that local government contracts of $1million or more,  offered for public bidding to various corporations, should require that the competitors for the contract fill in an “Environmental and Social Responsibility Impact Report” describing their performance on issues of environment and social responsibility (including how they treat their employees and how the employees of companies with whom they subcontract are treated), and among those corporations who could otherwise fulfill the terms of the contract at a reasonable cost to the local government entity (city, county or state), the one that gets the contract is the one that has the best history of environmental and social responsibility (with citizens being invited to send in their comments before the city awards the contract). 

If this form of political engagement does not excite you, then we encourage you to create a local NSP study group to read articles in Tikkun each month, discuss ways to bring the New Bottom Line into your community, to study a book recommended by Tikkun and the like. 

To support you in these efforts, we’d be happy to send names and addresses of people in your area if you reassure us that you’ll only use them to create a local chapter or study group!

In the next few months, Cat will begin hosting a monthly conference-call –Putting Spiritual Activism into Practice – to support those of you starting a local chapter or study group.       

If you are interested in learning more or connecting with Cat, you can reach her directly at cat@spiritualprogressives.org.           

Mazel tov (congratulations) to all of us as we begin this new phase of the NSP.

 

Warm regards, love and blessings,

Rabbi Michael Lerner     RabbiLerner.Tikkun@gmail.com


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