Why do we start with decency?

November 2023

In the current political climate, the word "radical" may feel divisive. In fact, the word's definition reveals the opposite is true in the context of our organization's core values: 

Radical (răd′ĭ-kəl) adjective

1. Arising or growing from the root or source;

2. Designed to remove the root of a disease or all potentially diseased tissue;

3. Very different from the usual or traditional;

4. Relating to or advocating fundamental changes in current practices, conditions, or institutions.

In stating and living our values, Stories Change Power seeks to push past the partisanship that has become the norm, remove practices and attitudes that are unhelpful, tend to the root of human connection, and uphold practices that promote a just, equitable, and peaceful world.

In the United States, a country known for "rugged individualism" (a term coined nearly 100 years ago by President Herbert Hoover), our "dog eat dog" competitiveness too often pits would be-collaborators against each other. Stories Change Power rejects that approach, as well as the sentiment behind the quip attributed to President Harry Truman that, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog!" Our team, particularly our Board member Jaime Werner, loves dogs but also values coalitions, cooperation, and collaboration with real people, including in the seat of our federal government.

Life is most fully lived in relationship with other people - not in competition against them. "Relationality" captures the concept of humankind's connectedness across history and geography. Often practiced in Indigenous cultures, this approach recognizes we're all better off when we not only acknowledge but embrace that there are complex and dynamic ways we impact each other in community, then act accordingly, with awareness of the greater good rather than solely our personal gain.

This is why decency tops our list of values and we see the inherent dignity in every person. No matter race, creed, income, age, nationality, political affiliation, or any other of the ways humans divide ourselves into "us" versus "them," we aim to respect everyone's humanity and our interconnectedness.

*Sources to learn more about the concepts of decency and relationality, include the works of Jeff Garson, Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt, Lauren Tynan, Meredith McCoy, Emma Elliott-Groves, Leilani Sabzalian, and Megan Bang.


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