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Core Values

Social Responsibility
  • We believe that social responsibility is a nonnegotiable component of personal responsibility, which we strive to fulfill through informed and strategic public participation, civic engagement, and social action. Underlying this responsibility is a moral obligation to improve the human condition by prioritizing the public good. To this end, we advocate for high-quality public education, meaningful work opportunities, individual and public health, and freedom from oppression and suffering. 
  • Upholding this value also requires commitment to the continual process of raising one’s own awareness and consciousness by purposefully seeking opportunities to learn from and empathize with others’ lived experiences, especially those who are members of historically oppressed groups. 
  • This commitment to social responsibility is further exhibited in our empathy and respect in social interactions, particularly in the presence of conflict, which we accept as normal and unavoidable. 

Cooperation
  • We recognize the interdependence of members of our community, meaning that we are mutually dependent on one another. We reject isolation and segregation as responses to social issues, instead believing that dialogue, collaboration, and cooperation will strengthen our individual and community capacity to connect and thrive. 
  • We celebrate diversity, which we acknowledge as a core democratic value, and seek to foster an increase in understanding between diverse peoples and communities both by acknowledging our similarities and learning from our differences of experience and perspective. 

Justice
  • We recognize the inherent worth and dignity of all people. 
  • We acknowledge the role that privilege, discrimination, and intersectionality play in our lives and others' lives, and believe that individuals have a moral obligation to challenge oppression and injustice. 
  • We practice awareness of how we contribute to others' oppression and work to positively progress in mindset and behavior so as to become active and effective allies to members of oppressed groups. 
  • We understand that everyone's liberation from oppression is connected and believe that members of dominant, privileged groups also suffer as long as others are oppressed. 
  • In seeking justice, we promote equity and solidarity by advocating for and collaborating with members of non-powerful, non-elite, and oppressed groups whose voices are typically silenced, stifled, and misrepresented by those in positions of power and authority. 

Thoughtfulness
  • We are committed to objectivity, reason, and critical thinking. We seek to push past ideology, false dichotomies, and surface-level discourse to foster a shared understanding grounded in reality and multiple perspectives. 
  • We strive to empathize with others, even those with whom we disagree, recognizing the extent to which we are all products of our environment. 
  • We refrain from thinking our personal and cultural norms and beliefs are superior to others’ norms and beliefs. In critiquing others, we first turn that same critical lens on ourselves. 
  • We acknowledge that just because we do not understand something does not mean it is wrong; it only means we do not understand it. We assume responsibility for educating ourselves about that which we are ignorant. 
  • We believe in individual agency and accountability while also recognizing the limits that structure, environment, and oppression place on one's freedom and opportunities. 
  • We question tradition and authority and investigate alternative ways of being. 

Positive Mindset
  • We are visionary and forward-thinking, and believe that positive change is possible. To this end, we are committed to amplifying and developing our community's assets rather than focusing on its deficits. 
  • We believe that problems, deficiencies, and challenges are opportunities for creative remedies, therefore we identify problems only as a prerequisite for identifying solutions. 
  • We accept that barriers are realistically inherent in all social change work, therefore we work within the world as it is to seek progress, not perfection. 
  • We uphold this value not as feel-good optimists, but as individuals who understand that a positive mindset is integral to effective social change work. 

Creative Celebration
  • We embrace our festal culture and its regional tradition of using life-affirming, creative celebration to unite diverse communities and give voice and visibility to marginalized groups. We recognize the opportunity that celebrations provide for purposeful, creative expression and action. 
  • We see little distinction between the process of creating a work of art and that of creating social change. We view celebration as both product and process, in that it functions as a way to experience joy in the moment and to help create community in ways that extend far beyond the celebration itself.
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