Connections 2000 January

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Race, Class, and Civil Rights
Poverty, Homelessness, and Unemployment
Imperialism and Economic Injustice
Nuclear weapons
Education, Information, and Communication 
Democracy and Religion
Hunger and Health Care
People of various races picnic joyously together. Pen and ink,  2000, Kara Priest.
January: Race, Class, and Civil Rights -- Some closely related topics are: (remember, all topics are related to all other topics) indigenous people's exploitation, gender, overt prejudice (e.g. KKK, neo-Nazis), covert prejudice (covert prejudice is everywhere) military targets, drug war, courts-prisons, death penalty, inner cities, family disintegration, capitalism, police-crime, drugs, reproductive rights, the competition between and among people, including the idea of one-upsmanship, all of the "isms", male-female relationships. . .and on and on.
I have a dream, that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood... . I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Martin Luther King, Speech at Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963
Martin Luther King was brilliant and passionate on this vast and deep problem of securing equal rights and opportunities for every single baby born. What we have now is CEO's making 419 times what a typical production worker makes. Why don't we have King's dream? Why hasn't it happened? According to Ronald Colman in an article from the Buddhist journal "Shambhala Sun" we measure the "progress" of our nation by the Gross Domestic Product, which contains all monies produced, traded or spent, from the burgeoning prison industry, from the Exxon-Valdez cleanup, to tobacco sales. The GNP doesn't measure the health of our children, the warmth of our relationships, the species we have saved from extinction or the vitality of our community life. Certainly this rapacious economy we have has everything to do with inequalities.

Coleman refers to a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), developed in 1995, that adds gains such as sustainable agriculture, educational attainments, or our health, for example. It measures economic costs such as crime, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and other liabilities and subtracts them. The index would rise if our society were to become more equal, whereas in the GDP, a peaceful society would be a liability.

Inequality in income at the low end spawns poor education, no parents at home, poor nutrition, children raised by commercial TV, poor health, boredom, depression, gang activity, drug-use, criminal behavior, and one could go on and on. Imagine the opposite. Imagine starting to go to sleep at night, mentally scanning the well-being of your own beloved people, thinking of them being at peace, well fed, warm, living interesting, fulfilling lives, being safe. Then, extend those wishes to everyone in our nation: isn't that what humans need to do for each other? If you dare, extend those wishes to the whole world. Isn't that what humans need to do for each other?

Write letters about these topics from your own area of activism, whether it is the rescue of ancient forests, protection of Arctic wildlife, prevention of domestic abuse or global warming. Weave the threads together. They are all connected. Write about the connections.

Flood America's papers with your thoughts.

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