In this election season, we must seek to build the Beloved Community
by David Atwood
2016 is a critical year for the United States. It is a year when we will either continue progress in creating a nation that benefits all Americans or a nation in which the rich continue to get richer while the rest of the nation continues to get poorer.
We still have have millions of people in this country living in poverty without affordable health care. This includes millions of children. We cannot allow this to continue.
Our nation has the highest incarceration rate in the world. We have millions of people in prison and under court supervision although they have not committed a violent crime. We have thousands of people living in solitary confinement for long periods of time. We are the only western, industrialized nation that still executes our citizens, and sometimes the citizens of other countries. We cannot allow this to continue.
We have a broken immigration system – a system that breaks up families and sends thousand of people back to dangerous situations in their home countries. We cannot allow this to continue.
Thousands of our children cannot get the high quality education that they desire and deserve, and those who are fortunate enough to go to college often end up with enormous financial debts. We cannot allow this to continue.
Thousand of people in our nation die through gun violence every year and yet our political leaders refuse to pass sensible gun safety legislation. We cannot allow this to continue.
Money has infiltrated our political system to an inordinate degree, destroying our democracy, determining who gets elected and what laws are passed by the government. We cannot allow this to continue.
Is there hope for a brighter future for the Amercan people? Yes, but only if there is a true revolution of values in our nation. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed us in the right direction when he spoke of the Beloved Community.
In the Beloved Community, all people are treated with dignity and respect regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, economic status, immigration status, age or gender. No one is allowed to live in degrading conditions of poverty with no hope for a brighter future.
In the Beloved Community, all children are nurtured and cared for as precious children of God. No child is allowed to grow up in poverty or in an abusive and neglectful enviroment.
In the Beloved Community, human life is considered sacred and violence is rejected as a way of solving problems. Diplomacy is embraced and injustices that may lead to violence are addressed and corrected.
In the Beloved Community, the earth and all of creation are treated with respect.
If the American people embrace the concept of the Beloved Community as described by Dr. King and others, a brighter future awaits all of us.
David Atwood serves on the HPJC executive committee and is a former president of HPJC. Dave is the chair of the Working Group for Human Rights & Criminal Justice.