A Mission Statement for the Social Conscience
The Pre Ramble:
I believe that I can be a better person tomorrow than I was yesterday only if I recognize my own faults and weaknesses today, and strive to be better. Sometimes I achieve that goal but frequently I do not. When I see injustices and abuses of other human beings though, I cannot just throw up my hands and say ‘oh well, I’m not perfect either’, walk away and forget about it. I am persistently driven to work to better my own life, AND the lives of others. Below is the mission statement I have made for myself.
The Mission Statement:
It is my mission in life to care about, and for, all people regardless of their background, the color of their skin, their educational level, their nationality, sexual orientation or religion. I feel called to stand up for and beside those who are being marginalized, oppressed, condemned or otherwise treated unequally in society, such as my LBGT friends and fellow human beings. I feel called to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, such as children in compromising, unsafe and/or dangerous situations for which they cannot escape, as well as children in poverty who have very few options and limited opportunities to change their destiny. I feel called to stand up for my sisters who are (still!) fighting for the right to make their own healthcare and family planning decisions.
It is my responsibility to become educated and speak out about difficult and controversial issues which plague our nation and our world. I recognize that part of becoming educated on an issue is learning about opposing positions, as well as listening with an open mind to other points of view and absorbing ideas I had not previously considered. I experience a great deal of pleasure learning about new concepts, ideas and issues that I had not formerly known of or understood. I put a significant amount of effort into learning about the issues that are the most meaningful to me. I also check my sources for legitimacy, and do not believe everything I read or see. I recognize that statistics can be skewed, and research can be found to support just about anything you want it to. It is important to have legitimate information that is NOT distorted. There are many “news” sources that are mainly just concerned with scare tactics and creating hysteria to get ratings, verses truly reporting reliable and unbiased news about the most important issues.
As much as I feel called to help those in need, however, I could not possibly have extensive knowledge and work on behalf of every single terrible world issue, because there are too many. Most often the issues that I do take under my wing are ones in which policies are denying human beings one of the basic rights we have here in America, which is the right to pursue happiness. Living in poverty, being denied by law the right to marry the person you love, not having access to affordable healthcare and reliable birth control; these issues affect the ability to pursue happiness. The fact that I put my energy and effort into just those few issues close to my heart means that I can do a better job of serving those issues and the people affected by them. Spreading oneself too thin does not help anyone. Achieving the right balance is a constant work in progress.
I consider it my honored duty to use my circle of influence to educate others on the issues in which I already have education and knowledge. I feel compelled to bring information and awareness of these issues to the people around me, friends, family and community members, as well as my representatives and legislators, and other leaders. As an advocate for human rights and equality I am obliged to encourage others to open their minds to new information, and to think critically about that information in connection with their deeply held beliefs, even if it challenges those beliefs.
I truly do not believe in negative campaigning, and I make a concerted effort not to do that. I do not think it is helpful to name call, finger point and place blame, because in reality very rarely is one single person or group or event responsible for an issue. Issues usually arise slowly over time, and have a complex array of contributing factors, and so in turn it makes sense that it often takes many different contributing solutions to make things better. When I want to bring awareness about an issue or subject I try to put forth positive ideas about how things can be made better, although sometimes the negative side does need to be shown to help in understanding the importance of an issue.
The Post Ramble:
I realize this all sounds very idealistic, maybe to some it sounds unrealistic. However history shows us that no change for the better was ever made by sitting back and waiting for someone else to make it happen. No change was ever made by believing those who said it could not be done. No change was ever made without growing pains. Our history in the United States shows that often before major changes began, those involved in the movement experienced extreme opposition, outrage and even violence. Fortunately for Americans, that did not stop our forefathers from breaking away from British rule, it did not stop abolitionists from fighting for freedom of African American slaves, it did not stop the suffragists from fighting for women’s right to vote. The list goes on.
I have written this mission statement to more clearly define for myself what my goals are in this short life of mine. I also write and publish it to help my friends, family and others who may read it understand me better. I wish to be understood. I want those who call me a friend to know that when I criticize a system, or a law, or an attitude, it is not because I am unhappy with my life, or that I am unhappy to be an American. In actuality it is because I am proud to be an American. I am incredibly fortunate to have been born here, in a place where a woman has the right to stand up and speak out. It is because I am a proud American woman that I want us to be the best nation we can be, to treat our people with respect and equality, and offer all of our children opportunities to rise to their highest potential.
I encourage each person who reads this to consider your own mission statement for the issues that are important to you and your life.
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