Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Humanists of Rhode Island Support Occupy Providence

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Today marks a milestone of sorts for Humanists of Rhode Island, because we have just gone public in a big way. Page two of today's Providence Journal used a press release from our group to help put together a story in conjunction with a piece they did on Occupy Providence. I especially like the equal billing our group got with the Sierra Club. On the reformatted ProJo website our group was mentioned alone in the "breaking news" section.

The unedited text of our press release runs below:
The Humanists of Rhode Island have come together under a progressive philosophy of life that affirms, without an appeal to supernaturalism, our ability and responsibility to live ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. For this reason we have decided to publicly support the goals and aims of Occupy Providence.

Humanism's strong commitment to human rights and the value of individual human beings compels us to stand with the Occupy movement for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most fundamental is our commitment to the rights of all people to live without fear from government, corporations, poverty and economic uncertainty.

The Humanists of Rhode Island make no claims as to speak for the Occupy movement in general or Occupy Providence in particular, but in so far as we understand the movement, we are in agreement with its goals and stated positions. Occupy is leveraging the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, including, but not limited to the rights of free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government. They are doing this to make a bold statement about where we are as a country, and where we, as a country, would like to be.

Occupy Providence is a movement dedicated to non-violence and has also taken a strong position against property destruction and defacement. Occupy Providence have taken a strong stand against discrimination, harassment and bullying.These goals are in keeping with the Humanists of Rhode Island's values.

Occupy Providence wants to "challenge corporate greed, which places profits over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality." The Humanists of Rhode Island agree with this mission. It is a cornerstone of Humanism that all people have a basic human right to to be free from want. All people are entitled to clean air and water, adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education and access to the fruits of our culture, regardless of their economic status. Included in this is the right to work, the right to collectively bargain, and the right to adequate leisure time and relaxation.

Anything less is literally inhuman.

We see the Occupy movement as being formed in the spirit of true Democracy, a process that is instructive to watch first hand, because it is almost painfully slow, but also beautiful in the way it reaches consensus with respect and inclusion. The Humanists of Rhode Island also embraced Democracy as a cornerstone of our beliefs, and we support the Democratic principles of Occupy Providence.

All of us want a better, more fair world. Whether the Occupy movement will get us there or not is besides the point. Occupy Providence is a noble effort, marshaling the best of our human values to open discussion about the larger issues of economic inequality and unfairness. It deserves and compels our support, and points the way towards building a more inclusive Democracy in which the voices of all people can be heard, regardless of economic access.

For this reason, the Humanists of Rhode Island publicly support Occupy Providence.

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