Whether you have been part of the Empower Missouri advocacy network for a long time or just joined our mailing list this week, there has never been a more important time to be a social justice advocate. Our planet is rocked by three crises simultaneously that interact with each other with synergistic power:
- The novel coronavirus is continuing to cause illness and death, with cases doubling in some global locations during the past two weeks.
- Nearly 21 million workers in the U.S. have filed jobless claims since the end of May, and the World Bank has said of our changed world that “The crisis highlights the need for urgent action to cushion the pandemic’s health and economic consequences, protect vulnerable populations, and set the stage for a lasting recovery.”
- Black Lives Matter protests have spread literally around the world following the death of George Floyd. Some have theorized that the horrific video of his last moments and the anguished cries for his mother awakened the parental energy in us all and “inspired an urge to act that transcended boundaries of class, ethnicity, and nation.”
As public policy advocates, we are needed, as a kind of essential personnel, for such a time as this. Public policy is not a hard bound book, but rather is a three-ring binder. We can take out pages that are not working and insert new pages to respond to human need. We, as people who are deeply committed to social justice for all of us, not just for some, will play a special role in shaping the pages that are next inserted into the binder of agreements that will help our nation and world navigate through our supersized crisis.
I have been blessed to have public policy making as my vocation for more than three decades, and I was led to this work by spiritual discernment. Whether you share my sense of “spiritual call” to this work or not, your advocacy is absolutely crucial just now. How would you remake the world?
I’ve been thinking with others this week about ways to reshape policing, and the Smart Sentencing Coalition will spend some time today discussing “the 8 that can’t wait” and other police reform proposals. Certainly our voices are also needed to ask Senators Blunt and Hawley to take action in the U.S. Senate to pass federal legislation to help Missouri climb out of our budget woes.
We’d like to hear from you, as you dream dreams about how to make a better world through public policy shaped by justice. The Empower Missouri staff will be taking a three day weekend with the Independence Day holiday, so our July 3 Weekly Perspective column will be dedicated to your thoughts about how to organize our common life for the sake of all. We’ll even award $25 dollar gift certificates to Left Bank Books to the top three 100 word essays (since we like to support independent book stores).
To submit your public policy suggestions for the three-ring-binder playbook to create a better world, write info@EmpowerMissouri.org, and put July 3 Contest Entry in the subject line. We believe all of our voices are needed just now, and we are anxious to hear what you are thinking!
Jeanette Mott Oxford
Director of Policy and Organizing