Who are you? Who are we? What kind of community do we want? What are the values that our community, our state, our nation must embody and reflect?
If you are like me, this is a confusing, even painful, time.
Every day, it seems the values that, heretofore, seemed to unite and define us – democracy, liberty, justice, equality, opportunity – are increasingly in question, even under attack. Certain truths that previously could be accepted as articles of faith across the civic and political spectrum, are now fodder for debate: the notion that all people are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
As for me, my pain comes not from the awareness that this perceived consensus no longer exists. It is in the grudging acknowledgement that it never did.
Mass incarceration. Family separation. White nationalism. These cancers that wrack our body politic are not new. They are contemporary strains of deeply rooted injustices and inequities that we have never fully acknowledged or addressed.
But if there is a silver lining in this moment, it is that we can only fix a problem of which we are aware; we can only cure an illness that we are willing and able to name.
We, individually and collectively, can choose to chart a different course. We, as a community, can choose to reckon with the reality that our communities, our state and our nation are only as just and equitable as we make them: with our words, through our actions, and in our deeds. This must happen in community.
This is the work of Maine Initiatives.
Maine Initiatives is a growing network of people – hundreds of Mainers – coming together, in community, to ask and answer questions about our shared values of justice, equity, and community. What do these words mean? What is justice? What is equity? What does racial justice look like? What does racial equity require? Who is doing that work? What is our role?
We are engaging in a collective conversation about these questions and taking collective action. We are mobilizing our community’s resources: money, wisdom, vision, values and voice. We are leveraging these resources to support the work that is needed to ensure our community embodies our shared values. It is up to us.
Give of your time and wisdom. Give money. Give a damn.