After the 2014 elections and facing a Congress determined to dismantle environmental protections and health and social benefits for middle income Americans and the poor in 2015-2016, and after the spate of well-publicized police murders of African American men and grand juries refusing to indict the police, it’s critical that ethically sensitive people develop a strategy to: RECLAIM AMERICA
YOU ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN:
WHAT: A Strategy Discussion
If you can’t make it, create a similar gathering in your community, church, synagogue, mosque, ashram, university, political movement, social change organization, etc. We at the Network of Spiritual Progressives may be able to help you do so. So whether or not you can come to this, please read the full note below!
WHO: Among the presenters at our strategy conference:
Rev. Amos Brown pastor, Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, George Lakoff Prof. of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the UC Berkeley, author of Don’t Think of an Elephant and Moral Politics, Rabbi Michael Lerner Editor of Tikkun, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue, author of The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right and Spirit Matters, Mathew Fox Liberation Theologian, author of Original Blessing and The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, Marianne Williamson author of Healing the Soul of America: A Return to Love and Imagine What America Could Be in the 21st Century, Rhonda Magee Professor of Law at USF teaches Race Law and Policy,Cat Zavis Attorney, Executive Director, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, mediator, and teacher of Empathic Communication, Reginald W. Lyles from Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland and former advisor to Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, Jorge Aquino Liberation Theologianof the Theology and Religious Studies Dept. of USF, Rebecca Kaplan Oakland City Council President, Iftekhar Hai President of United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
(Our speakers will start the discussion, but the most important person to be there is YOU). Whether or not you can come, please send this out to everyone on your lists, paste it on your website and your Facebook or other social media, and send it to people all around the U.S. because if they can’t come themselves, they might be inspired to create a similar gathering where they live, and we will be happy to work with them to assist them in doing so. And they probably have friends in northern California who might love to come if they knew about this!
Pre-registration at: spiritualprogressives.org/reclaimAmerica
The Congress that will shape America in the next two years is committed to defunding government so that it cannot enforce the minimal environmental protections currently in place, provide health care coverage for those who need it, provide safety and health protection for our food and our work places, or protect the old, the young, the vulnerable – while at the same time that Congress will seek to decrease still further the taxes on the super-rich and the corporations they own and control.
This is an ethical, spiritual, and religious crisis of monumental proportions – and calls for secular liberals and progressivesto join with spiritual or religious activists to work together to develop strategies to save our planet earth and protect middle income and working people and the unemployed from the assaults of the selfish. That’s why we, spiritual progressives of every variant (including atheists and secular humanists as well as people in every religious community) must now take action to present a different world view, one based on the Biblical call to “love our neighbor” but also “love the stranger” (the Other / the powerless), and to pursue justice and peace.
AFTER Ferguson, NYC, Cleveland and so many other attacks on African Americans:
Using their power to de-fund critical services, the New Congress will intensify class and race strains in the U.S. Given the fact that African Americans are disproportionately represented among the poorest in the society, they will be facing especially rough times if this Congress gets its way, adding to the racism and violence that people of color face even under “normal” conditions, as exemplified recently in Ferguson and Staten Island. In particular, in light of the justifiable outrage at the racism manifest not just in the verdict from Ferguson but also in the way most Americans don’t seem to have a clue about the racism involved and how pervasive it is, we encourage us all to see fighting racism as not just as issue for African Americans or people of color, but as a priority as well for white people to address: what is the best strategy to both counter and transform that racism? How to do that without seeming to suggest that all whites are bad and hence provoke backlash that actually makes things worse for people of color is part of the discussion we hope to initiate at this conference.
Too many people have responded to the 2014 electoral victories ofthe Right by feeling powerless. “What can I do?” they tell themselves. “The Rightists have the money and are filled with passionate intensity, while those who seek peace and justice too often lack a coherent strat- egy. There are so many groups taking on one little part of the problem or another, but mostly they don’t cooperate with each other and don’t even try to educate people in each specific social justice, humanitarian or environmental struggle about how they are linked to all the other struggles. So to those on the outside it looks like everyone is just fight- ing for their own special interest, but not for the common interests of the rest of us. I can’t see how I can do anything, given this mess.”
But there is something you can do, not alone, but with a move- ment that we are creating.The liberal and progressive forces have made some big mistakes – but we can change that, and we have a strategy for how to do that and how to Reclaim America. And we need you to be part of it – and to learn from you as well, because we know we don’t have all the answers! We approach this task with humility, but also with excitement about the possibility of forging a new direc- tion, bringing together all those people who really yearns for a society based on love, kindness, generosity, social and economic justice, and peace. We call this goal “the New Bottom Line.”
We will mourn what has happened to our country and to the planet, acknowledge our own responsibility (rather than just blame the super-rich and their ability to manipulate media and spend millions on candidates who serve their interests), challenge liberals and progressives to think more deeply about what changes are needed in the ways that they present themselves (attention office holders – you are invited to be part of this), draw upon the wisdom of secular humanists, religious traditions (all of them), and spiritual-but-not-religious think- ers, and the work of the (interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming) Network of Spiritual Progressives. We will hear each other’s ideas for how to move forward, build ties among the vast array of social change organizations, progressive religious and spiritual communities, andlearn skills for improving our ability to have our most visionary ideas really taken seriously by our families, neighbors, co-workers, and even some of our most cynical friends.
Part of our intention is to reintroduce into public discourse the ethical values that could contribute to rebuilding a society based on love, care, generosity, awe and wonder. And you can play an important role by challenging progressive organizations to introduce into all their activi- ties a shared vision of the world we want – not just focusing on what is wrong with the way things are now, but presenting a positive vision of the world as it needs to be – a New Bottom Line of love, caring, kind- ness, generosity, social justice, peace, environmental sanity and aweand wonder at the grandeur and preciousness of our planet earth and the universe of which we are part.
We invite liberals and progressives of every possible stripe to come together and strategize about how these kinds of values can reshape public life in the US. We ask you, the reader of this, tohelp us get leaders, activists, and members of progressive movements for social and economic justice, peace, environmental sanity, civil rights, feminism, lgbtq rights, immigrant rights, unions, liberal and progressive political parties and elected officials to meet and strategize together.
We need physicians, lawyers, therapists, Silicon Valley techies, working people in offices and factories and skilled trades, small business owners, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and every other minority community, philanthro- pists, financial and investment experts, scientists, engineers, high school and college students, teachers and academics, researchers, seniors, millennials, boomers, and everyone in between who can fully commit to nonviolence and empathyas strict guidelines for how to approach those with whom we disagree. Please invite your friends – afterwards, when they hear how exciting it was for you, they’ll be disappointed that you didn’t try to convince them to come!
We cannot afford to stay in our separate silos working on single-issue politics, or immerse ourselves in cynicism and despair about the possibility of making significant change. At the very least, we need to articulate a shared vision of the world we want – not just the world we are against – so that even as each of us continues in our focused activities to address specific ways that the world and its people are hurting, we simultaneously articulate a positive vision that we all share.We need a new unity and a new psychological and spiritual sophistication to heal and repair our very broken society. Won’t you join us?
Registration required at:spiritualprogressives.org/reclaimAmerica
Cost: $15 for students and incomes under $30/k yr. Incomes over $30k/yr: $35
By mail: make check to Tikkun and mail to 2342 Shattack Ave, #1200, Berkeley, CA 94704, or call510-644-1200Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m Pacific Standard Time
More info: Cat@spiritualprogressives.org
Directions: For directions to the event, clickhere. Please note this is the Jesuit School – University of San Francisco and not San Francisco State University.
Follow-Up Meeting: The Network of Spiritual Progressives will hold a follow-up meeting on Tuesday, January 20th at 6:30pm, location to be determined. If you are unable to attend the event on the 14th but would like to continue to participate in these discussions, please email cat firstname.lastname@example.org she will send you an email with more information. If you are attending the event and have registered online, we will send you a follow-up email after the event with more information.
Background and Preparatory Readings:We encourage you to read the following documents in preparation for the Town Meeting and for future conversations, which you’ll find on our home page atwww.tikkun.org. These documents provide an outline of our strategy for how to Reclaim America and build a world based on love, kindness, generosity, economic and social justice, environmental sanity, and celebration of the awe, wonder and radical amazement of the universe. We look forward to exploring these ideas together!
1.Why the Right Keeps Winning
Hosted by the Theology and Religious Studies Dept. of USF and sponsored by Tikkun, www.tikkun.org, and by the (interfaith and secular-humanist-and- atheist-and religious-welcoming) Network of Spiritual Progressives, The Metta Center for Non-Violence, Global Exchange, and many others.