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Dear alumni/ae and friends,

The election is over, and we are now preparing for a new president and Congress. As we do so, it is important to remember that one of the great demands of a democracy like ours is that we, as citizens, must take the time and effort to research the important issues facing us locally, nationally and globally. Democracy assumes that we, as citizens, do not depend on someone else doing our thinking for us—we must do it—listening to all opinions, gathering a wide range of ideas and “facts,” sorting them out with others, and talking with folks who think like us and with folks who do not think like us.

Good government is not built on warring ideologies and political brinksmanship. It is built on reasoned debate and passionate engagement with the issues that face our communities like education, jobs, health care and access to it, immigration, poverty, affordable housing, aging, the environment, crime, sexual violence, policing, population decline in rural areas, and the list goes on.

As citizens, we face profound challenges that we must engage. How do we address migration and immigration, sex trafficking, youth-based justice movements, corporate America, mass genocide? How do we address diversity, diasporic communities, public education, reproductive justice, climate change and more? How do we hear each other across our differences of opinions and perspectives and solutions and recognize that the strength of a democracy is an informed citizenship that dares to tackle tough questions by getting informed instead of relying on sound bites, political spin or believing that God’s revelation begins and ends with us?

We must focus on what it means to govern rather than whose ideology is going to win. The work of governing means that each and every one of us must get busy in our communities and religious households and organizations and work for change while remembering that the work for justice, which is one of the hallmarks of good government, requires a good dose of humor in the midst of the struggle as well. Let’s put our faith to work.


Emilie M. Townes

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair
Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society

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