Friday, March 7, 2014

Equality and the many faces of inequality

AFSC's work is informed by Quaker values, or as the tagline on the logo says, it tries to be Quaker values in action.  One of the core values or testimonies is that of equality.  In the New England Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice, 1985 edition, the introduction to the section on equality reads:
Friends believe the divine Light is accessible to all people, regardless of race, sex, age, or material wealth. Everyone has the potential to respond to God within. All persons ought to have the opportunity to develop their talents and skills under the leadings of the Spirit. Equality is not sameness. It is equality of respect. Every person is a child of God.
Evidence of our collective failure to live up to the ideal of equality that is also stated as a core ideal in our country, is all around us.  Profound poverty next door to extreme wealth, unequal education, structures that perpetuate racism, military occupations, violence in many forms against women, unequal opportunities to be come who we might be if given a chance ...
But these structures are human creations.  Working together we can change them.  And working together we can change the attitudes and address the fears that cling, sometimes fiercely, to those structures.  It is always ongoing work, as fears and greed will always be working to create structures to protect those who have more.  It is work that asks much of us - it asks us to be honest about our fears, about the priveleges we may not even be fully aware of, and it asks us to understand that our security is only as real as the shared security of the larger community.
The coming week holds a variety of activities that all in some way name varies faces of inequality and present opportunities to change attitudes and structures to make a more equal and just world. They range from the Women of All Colors assembly to programs on nonviolent resistence to occupation to screenings of the films Inequality for All and A Place at the Table and a discussion of what we mean by Shared Security.  I hope you will join us at one of these events.  Check out the AFSC-SENE website for event details.

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