Minute on Income Inequality, Economic Justice and Social Justice
P&SO Committee (Approved 10/8/2017)
Friends (Quakers) believe that there is a divine spark in everyone, and on that basis we believe in the equality of all people. That belief leads us to create community among ourselves, foster community in the broader society and promote equal justice and equal opportunity.
We find that application of the law, tax structure, and regulations of our society often disproportionately favor and reward the few, while impoverishing the many. Wealthy special interests have used their resources and access to influence politics, the courts and regulatory agencies to redistribute wealth to enrich themselves at the expense of the middle class and the poor, who now experience declining wealth, earning power and levels of education. Our society experiences rising poverty, homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction and environmental degradation. These factors in combination result in the weakening of our democratic institutions and our social fabric. With correction of the tax codes, regulations, laws, and political reform, this inequity is reversible.
We call on Friends to teach themselves and others about the truth of economic inequality. We call on Friends, people of other faiths and people of good will to recognize the need to change our tax code, our regulations, and our electoral processes to restore our social safety net, our health care system and to provide free public higher education for all in order to create a more just, healthier and more sustainable society that is based on principles of equality and respect for our fellow human beings.
We call on Friends, people of other faiths and people of good will to work to reduce income inequality in our society by supporting actions that redistribute the fruits of our economy more broadly and equitably in order to build a stronger, more just, rewarding and stable society. Economic inequality is at the root of many of the social ills we now see. We seek to reduce income and wealth disparity, and to provide affordable health care and free higher education for all. While recognizing that success in doing so will not cure all social ills, our goal is to reduce economic stress in our society to the point that people of modest means may lead happy, educated, healthy, productive lives, and realize their God-given potential. We seek to restore respect for the inherent dignity of all.
Our goals reflect our Quaker testimonies on simplicity, equality, peace, community, and integrity and our concern for the environment.
This minute calls upon Friends to take faith-based action on the issues of Income Inequality, Economic Justice and Social Justice. In order to facilitate the transformation of this minute of concern into spirit-led action, P&SO offers the following guidance to members and attenders of IVFM.
(1) Friends should consider undertaking a process of discernment to determine what individual or corporate actions might be taken to create a more just, healthier and more sustainable society based on principles of equality and respect for our fellow human beings. We are called to work to reduce income inequality in our society by supporting actions that redistribute the fruits of our economy more broadly and equitably in order to build a stronger, more just, more rewarding and more stable society.
(2) To those of you who want to become more involved, P&SO Committee recommends you consider joining in the efforts of Quaker-based social action organizations, and/or like-minded local, regional and national/international organizations. (A partial list of such groups is provided below.)
(3) Where there is a specific need for local action on issues not currently addressed by a pre-existing group, P&SO suggests that Friends work to create organizational structure(s) tailored to meet that specific need.
(4) P&SO calls upon you to share this minute of concern with local groups in the community with which you are affiliated and with your local elected and appointed city and county officials and offer to work with them to help achieve the goals outlined in the minute.
(a) Quaker-based groups working for peace, human rights and economic and social justice:
AFSC – American Friends Service Committee (https://www.afsc.org/)
FCNL – Friends Committee on National Legislation (https://www.fcnl.org/)
FCL-CA – Friends Committee on Legislation of California (http://www.fclca.org/)
QEW – Quaker Earthcare Witness (http://www.quakerearthcare.org/)
QUNO – Quaker United Nations Office (http://www.quno.org/)
(b) Local/Regional organizations working for peace, human rights, economic and social justice:
ICFOR – Inland Communities Fellowship of Reconciliation (http://www.icfor.org/)
RCPA – Riverside Coalition for Police Accountability (http://rcpa.weebly.com)
CDI – Centro de Inmigrante (http://www.centroinmigrante.com/)
RIC – Riverside Interfaith Council (https://www.facebook.com/RiversideInterfaithCouncil/)
ICIJ—Inland Communities for Immigrant Justice (https://www.facebook.com/IC4IJ/)
GC – Glocally Connected (https://www.facebook.com/IC4IJ/)
BCPGV – Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (https://www.bradycampaign.org/chapters/riverside-county-brady-campaign-chapter)
ICUC – Inland Congregations United for Change (http://www.icucpico.com/)
Rise UP (California) (https://www.riseupcalifornia.com/)
Alternative Gift Fair (https://www.facebook.com/events/655126674681883/)
Inlandia Institute (writing) (http://inlandiainstitute.org)
Interfaith Witnesses (http://www.interfaithwitnesses.org)
Riverside Human Relations Commission (https://www.riversideca.gov/hrc)
Riverside Multi-cultural Council (http://riversidemuseumassociates.org/multicultural-council/)
Standing Together: Stand Up Mondays at Temple Beth El (https://www.tberiv.org/)
Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Committee (http://www.uuchurchofriverside.org)
San Bernardino Clergy Association
(VIAP) Via Immigration Advocacy Project
(c) National and international organizations working for peace, human rights, economic and social justice (Many of these organizations also have local/regional chapters):
Sierra Club (http://www.sierraclub.org)
ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union (https://www.aclu.org/)
Union of Concerned Scientists (http://www.ucsusa.org/about-us)
The Nature Conservancy (https://www.nature.org/)
Nonviolent Peace Force (http://www.nonviolentpeaceforce.org/)
PFAW – People for the American Way (http://www.pfaw.org/)
League of Women Voters (http://lwv.org/)
NARAL – Pro-Choice America (https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/)
Public Citizen (https://www.citizen.org/)
(FORUSA) Fellowship of Reconciliation USA (https://forusa.org/)
NAACP Legal Defense Fund (http://www.naacpldf.org/)