by Rebekah Gienapp
New Year's is the perfect time to reflect on what we want to be different in our own lives. But it's also a great time to think about what we want to be different in the world. As Gandhi is supposed to have said (but apparently might not have): "you must be the change you wish to see in the world."
Since I will soon be leaving the WIN staff and becoming a volunteer just like you, I wanted to make some social justice resolutions. After all, my passion for worker rights hasn't changed, just my job.
Here are my resolutions:
1. I will go out of my way to show respect and gratitude to the people who do work on my behalf. Whether that's the waiter who brings me dinner, the postal worker who sells me stamps, and yes even the telephone support person I have to talk to who isn't allowed to bend the rules, I'll express my appreciation. After all, being ignored, disrespected, and having other people's mistakes taken out of them are all common experiences for these workers.
2. I will spend more time in reflection and prayer, so I can better understand God's justice and what God asks of me. I'll be honest: directing WIN and raising an infant (while also moving into a new house) have led to a pretty pitiful spiritual life for me recently. But unless I know who I am and whose I am, I'll be easily distracted away from God's vision for my life and for our world.
3. I will respond to action alerts, even when I fear the cause may be hopeless. I'm specifically thinking of our state legislature, where things look bleak. But I have been surprised many times before. Terrible bills have been stopped because enough people raised their voices. I believe it can happen again, so I will pick up the phone to make that call and I will write that email, even if I fear the recipient of that email is destroying our democracy.
4. I will give my financial support to justice causes. My family is going to unfortunately have to trim some of our charitable giving since we're becoming a one income family. But we'll make sure to continue supporting groups that get down to the root causes of poverty, like Workers Interfaith Network (of course), Interfaith Worker Justice, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, and Community Shares. Small grassroots groups like these know that while charity is needed, it's not enough.
Do you have any resolutions this year that will help you seek and create justice in our world? I'd love to hear them!