Report on “Americans for Humanity: A Declaration” – 1/30/19

A prominent author, editor, and activist wrote:

I’ve been going back through our past e-mail exchanges. A quick check. I am assuming that you wrote both of these pieces. Is that correct?

https://www.transformthesystem.org/commitment/

https://www.transformthesystem.org/blog-1/2018/7/30/your-privilege-is-showing

…If you are the author of this material, you are a person I want to know and would welcome the opportunity to explore with you your strategy for engaging the world in the discussions you seek to foster. I suspect that writing declarations or manifestos may not be the best way to proceed.

I replied:

I just now saw your email, which is very encouraging. Yes, holding you in very high regard, I would welcome the opportunity for us to get to know each other and explore strategies for engaging the world. I see “Americans for Humanity: A Declaration” or some similar brief manifesto merely as a first step. Soon I plan to review New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World — and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Tims. When I read it months ago, I was very impressed….

We plan a Skype call tomorrow.

A prominent academic and activist wrote:

This is great! I could sign it if it were edited to qualify the language in the item that references pressuring the government to implement policies supported by “strong majorities” so that we are *explicitly* here talking about “dignity-based,” “humanity-based” or otherwise valued-aligned policies backed by strong majorities. As you know, majorities are sometimes part of the problem in a democratic society (as regards unpopular or vulnerable minorities).

I replied:

Great to hear. Good point about majorities. Previously I’ve qualified the idea with “compassionate,” but overlooked the issue this time. Does that work? That word is used elsewhere only once, so using it here would not be too redundant. It would read: pressures Washington to implement compassionate policies supported by strong majorities of the American people.

A young, dynamic grassroots activist wrote:

I think this is amazing. It should be turned into a sticker or postcard people can use.

I replied:

Good to hear. Great idea. I’ll share it with a respondent who offered to help with graphics. Maybe the three of us will be able to collaborate if and when the Declaration is final and goes live.

Another activist responded:

Thanks for continuing to work on this. This is exactly the kind of document that would be affixed to the wall of a meeting or community room for an organization I’d actually be inspired to join. However, just seeing the document itself would not be sufficient for me to have confidence that the organization truly lives by these ideals….

A long-term associate from the East Coast commented:

Wade, I’ve put suggested additions or replacements in caps and deletions in brackets. My hesitation in responding to this declaration is that i have a full plate and, though i can send emails or info, I don’t see room for additional activism….

I replied:

I substituted “accomplishments” for “gains.” Thanks. But the other suggestions don’t quite work for me. I included all of your suggestions in the Log, however, so maybe others will second some of them.

A long-term prominent peace activist and author commented:

I would be happy to sign it, but would strongly encourage that we include something like commit to living in a world where  the US ends all the wars and threats of wars the US is involved in around the world and sign and agrees to the abide by the international treaty to abolish all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth, and agree to commit to solving all disputes by mediation, negotiation and justice for all parties in all conflicts.

International relations is an important issue, so email this led to a series of exchanges. The latest draft of the declaration now includes:

nurtures supportive relationships with other countries, backs their right to self-determination, and encourages the peaceful resolution of conflicts with mediation and negotiation.

A long-term correspondent wrote:

I don’t agree with every word but every word isn’t important to me.  We’re kindred spirits who desire to live our lives in accord with life-affirming principles like these.  I understand that you want to organize people around peace and love and fairness in this declaration. I’m grateful to know you and be in a circle of people that values these principles.   I support you and would sign this statement without change…. I’m planning a trip to CA around September to bury my father-in-laws ashes in Salinas. Perhaps we can get together then?

Another long-term activist emailed:

These are of course wonderful aspirations for a sane world! I am glad to sign, but can’t do anything else.

Another respondent commented:

Maybe missing more on the link between the way we treat the environment and each other, but it’s a good start! And I would sign it. Thanks for pursuing this project.

I replied:

I’m glad you would sign and appreciate the appreciation. I made a note on “The Case for “Americans for Humanity: A Declaration about your good point: “Maybe missing more on the link between the way we treat the environment and each other.”

I’m sending this report to the 28 of the 32 respondents who expressed strong interest in the project (most of the others were supportive but too busy to participate now). All comments and my responses are included in the Declaration Dialog Log. The latest draft will always be Americans for Humanity: A Declaration.

The response so far heartens me considerably. Many seasoned activists and several academics have offered strong support. Thanks again to all of you, including those who suggested changes that have helped improve the declaration. I’ll be back in touch soon.

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