While there’s no shortage of social issues that tug at our conscience, the U.S. Social Conscience goal is to make social conscience a more visible and vibrant part of American culture—to counter the rampant self-interest, individualism and greed. Fundamental human needs must be met for healthy individuals and families, and sustainable, democratic societies to thrive. Specifically, we must reduce income inequality, ensure a social safety net, foster inclusiveness and opportunity, reduce violence, and get big money out of politics.
Clearly defining a problem is critical to solving it. That’s the purpose of the articles presented here–research and feature stories that dig into the issues. Some of the articles discuss solutions to a particular social problem. Others are blog posts or essays that offer social and cultural commentary to help make sense of this tumultuous time.
This publication’s commentary will:
- Explore taken-for-granted assumptions and platitudes that divide us and obscure issues
- Get beneath labels (for example, Democrat, Republican, liberal) to uncover concrete meaning
- Counter the mantra “greed is good”
- Examine the social and cultural effects of political decisions
- Define problems, to help focus on solutions rather than ideological power struggles
- Promote real, fact-based problem-solving
U.S. Social Conscience Publisher & Blogger, Christina Leimer
Like many Americans, the day after the 2016 U.S. presidential election I woke startled, distraught and compelled to find a way to mitigate looming disaster. I never wanted to run for office, lobby or do any other political work. I’ve been frustrated with elected officials and policies for years. Even so, I only voted and kept up with issues I care about. But, that changed this year. I had to jump in. I ran for and won a position as a 10th Assembly District Delegate in California’s Democratic Party. While I don’t yet know what influence this position can have (I’m one of 3,000 delegates, just in California), it’s a way to try. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’m a sociologist by training and, though I don’t teach, I’m motivated by the same passion that drives many teachers, the desire to see human potential flourish. Understanding societies and organizations undergoing massive change drives my scholarship. I want the policies and social arrangements of our culture to foster human growth, not stunt it. When people are disrespected and robbed of dignity, they feel powerless. They develop a sense that the world is unfair. The damage this causes limits the individual, affects family members, and gets passed on for generations. And who knows what the rest of us have lost, collectively, when the world needs all the talent, vision and ideas that can be mustered. My commitment to social justice is the reason I’m a Marin County Human Rights Commissioner.
U.S. Social Conscience Editor, Jul Lowery
A retired professor and counselor, I now release my inner curmudgeon as editor of US Social Conscience. Having watched the slow strangulation of our education and healthcare systems through defunding over the years, I worry about how we will continue to transmit the values of reason, generosity and compassion to our children and each other. There is growing pressure to replace these principles with narrower standards that emphasize individual gain over community, profit over people, and harshness over healing. I hope that in these pages you will find confirmation of your own deepest values, new ways to express them, and a deeper appreciation of the diversity, intelligence and humanity still to be found in this country.
U.S. Social Conscience Outreach Director, Jane Winter
I’m a passionate feminist and human rights advocate who leads YWCA San Francisco & Marin, an organization on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women.
My compassion for other people was set early when I defended and protected my childhood best friend, a boy who was bullied for playing with a girl. This experience opened me to the joy of diversity and inclusion in my life and planted a seed for calling out bad behavior.
In high school and college my activism blossomed by participating in the important movements of the time – women’s rights, antiwar, environmental and civil rights. I’m proud of the progress my Baby Boomer generation achieved in making our world a better place. I believe the Millenial generation shares a similar orientation towards activism.
I think the Millenials will continue changing the social consciousness of our country, finishing the work the Boomers started. To support them on this path, I mentor young women for future leadership roles. Listening to them, I’ve learned to appreciate the strengths of this exciting generation.
In the face of the exploitive, inhumane climate we find so disturbing, we are speaking out. We hope you’ll join us. Contribute posts, participate in civil conversations, share the U.S. Social Conscience posts and articles with your friends, and most of all, let’s do whatever we can in our communities to raise (and revive) the U.S. social conscience. Let’s let the world know, We’re Here!