Dear Commonweal Friends,
We live in unimaginable times. The forces working against freedom and the earth are global: climate change, war, terrorism, authoritarianism, and more. I return to the global challenge late—first an overview of our work at Commonweal.
Healing Ourselves, Healing the Earth
I turn 75 in October. My health is good. My mind clear. My energy strong. I love the work. My parents were long-lived. But age leaves its mark. Though my hearing is less acute, I listen more deeply than ever. My tremor (benign essential tremor, not Parkinson’s) makes eating, texting, cell phones, credit cards, hotel security locks, and writing more difficult. Though my hands shake, my commitment to the work is unshakeable. Some things I don’t do as well as I did. Other things I do better. Healing ourselves and the earth was the mission I was given for Commonweal in 1975. That remains our mission 43 years later
Commonweal is strong. Our leadership team is able: Oren Slozberg, Executive Director; Arlene Allsman, Managing Director; Vanessa Marcotte, Chief Financial Officer; and me. We work seamlessly together. Oren, Arlene, and Vanessa more than make up for my deficits. Together we are far more than the sum of our parts.
We have more than 20 programs in health and healing, education and the arts, and environment and justice. We’ve reformed juvenile justice in California. We rewrote the laws governing California fisheries. We started the initiative to ban drilling off the northern coast. We helped pioneer nutritional strategies for at-risk children.
Now we’re providing leadership in integrative cancer care, collaborative learning, environmental health science dissemination, arts-based camps for youth, arts-based education in schools, art and contemplative practice for disadvantaged people in Los Angeles, and much more.
Commonweal began with juvenile justice as a central commitment. Our Juvenile Justice Program, our Visual Thinking Strategies, our Power of Hope summer camps, our Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS) cancer retreats, our Gift of Compassion work in Los Angeles, and our Fall Gatherings all reflect the central role of justice and diversity in our work. We continue to build diversity in our board, staff, and program work.
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