Not you, not me, just We

Graphic by Interaction Design

We live in challenging times. In fact, we have always faced challenges, and with courage, conviction, love and struggle we have moved forward as a society. This progress is demonstrably true: more humans have more rights now than 200 years ago; violence over the centuries is declining; and humans are actually decreasing use of energy, water, land and material resources. Of course, these gains were not achieved without intention, organization and action. If we do not stay focussed, we may see these gains lost. In his vital book, The End of Protest, Micah White, co-founder of Occupy, reminds us that “no freedom has ever been given freely; protest is the price we pay for democracy.”

And so, here we are. Us. All people. A rainbow of beauty, passion, creativity and talent of every stripe. At times ungainly in our diversity of opinion, but undeniably, irrevocably human. Each one of us carrying the same basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, touch, joy and love, along with the suffering that comes when those needs are unmet. In these challenging times, as humanity faces its demons, we at CivicMakers believe that this common ground ultimately defines the implicit values of our humanity — namely, that all humans are truly equal, and deserve respect equally. Further, we cherish this shared humanity, and are willing to fight to see it upheld, striking out against any and all attempts to minimize our values through the normalization of hate, division, fear and falsehoods.

We realize not all our fellow humans have the privilege of feeling safe where they live, or knowing that their rights are unwavering. We take pride that our home city of San Francisco has stood up as a Sanctuary City, alongside others like Chicago and New York City that remind us government is here to serve all people, not a select few. Just maybe, if we can help people come together with curiosity about each other, open-minded empathy may triumph over closed-minded defensiveness. In this way, we see a path to build mutual respect and find commonality across ideological divides to strengthen our communities and co-create a better future.

So what do we do? Challenge ourselves, everyday. Stop vilifying others. Start listening to everyone. Protest hate with empathy. Design for all humans. Take care of each other. Love with power.

With sleeves rolled up,
The CivicMakers Team