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Care and Repair: Rebuilding our Democracy Towards Justice and Accountability

UUSC VP and Chief Program Officer Rachel Gore Freed reflects on the work ahead under the Biden administration.

By Rachel Gore Freed on January 21, 2021

Yesterday was the inauguration of the incoming 46th President and the departure of Donald Trump and his crooked cabinet. Even as we recognize the frightening events of recent weeks and months, which showed us the lengths that some powerful people are willing to go to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power, it is worth reflecting on signs of hope in the progressive movement for human rights—the fact that we’ve been resilient, organized, grounded in our strength and legacy over these last four years. These years that have led to a social and political awakening for many.

What would it look like if we could learn from the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and global uprisings against racism to construct a better society in which no one is sacrificed and everyone is recognized as essential?

“Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair” is an animated short film that dares to dream.

The Biden administration is inheriting a mess, a chaotic mess at best. The Executive office began the first day with a series of promising Executive Orders –a practice that has become necessary in the face of inaction from Congress. Here are our questions for the incoming administration, as appointed and elected officials settle in:

  • How will we reimagine our country’s approach to migration, so that we can ensure access to humanitarian protection, bring back children who were wrongfully expelled or deported, reunite the families who have been separated, and undo the harm of the last four years, while also making deeper transformative changes in the immigration system?
  • When will the Biden administration meet and hear from affected communities to develop a new framework to respond to climate-forced displacement and mitigate climate destruction?
  • Will the Biden administration take steps to shift power from corporate extractive industries to communities?
  • Will the U.S. government join the international community to push for justice and redress for the genocide perpetrated against the Rohingya in Burma?

Our voices, demands, and vision of a robust, organized, multiracial civil society continue to be our strongest force to effect change—to shape the reconstruction of our democracy and to advance human rights, both here at home and abroad. First, we must acknowledge the harms that have been perpetrated over the past four years, and only then, can we rebuild our democracy towards care and repair.

Today is the first step towards justice.

Over the past four years, our communities have moved the progressive agenda towards a more radical vision of what’s possible, grounded in the solutions of people most impacted by injustice with love and perseverance. Yesterday’s inauguration and the words of Amanda Gorman, remind us of this and the work ahead.

“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman reads, in part:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

It can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith, we trust.

For while we have our eyes on the future,

history has its eyes on us.

***

About UUSC: Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice. We invite you to join us in this journey toward realizing a better future!

Photo Credit: iStock – FatCamera

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