Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The poster shown here, by artist Spain Rodriguez, is from a 2003 Rex Foundation event called An Open Conspiracy to Right the Boat.   At that time, while Executive Director of the Rex Foundation, I, like many others, was concerned about the darkening clouds of political forces stirring fear across the country, worried that people would feel overwhelmed by the negativity, and be discouraged to take action.  The idea behind the event was inspired by Peter Coyote, who said, in his interview for our newsletter Perspectives on Community Engagement, that he believed the goodness of the American people could “right the boat” on the stormy seas.

We are again in turbulent waters, with threats to the integrity of our country’s rule of law, mean-spirited actions against immigrants, and divisive rhetoric from the highest levels impacting domestic and international relations.  It is not easy to feel hopeful, let alone contemplate positive action under these circumstances.  Yet, this may be just the time to raise our spirits and recognize how vital it is to be engaged in our immediate and extended communities to speak up for and work toward positive change.

I recently read this transcript of an October 9 2018 speech former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made before the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford University in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt and the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).  I hope you’ll feel inspired, as I am by the speech, with the following excerpt standing out for me:

When you add it all up—democracies in turmoil, autocrats ascendant, a dystopian future taking shape before our eyes—it sounds daunting. And it is. All of us who care about the legacy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be very worried. But, let us view this challenge not as an omen of defeat, but as a call to action. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “courage is more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run, it is easier.” —Hillary Clinton

Here is a video of Sting performing Love is the Seventh Wave, which debuted in 1985.  Sting describes his thinking that this song offered hope, noting, “in popular myth, if you count the waves on a sea shore, the seventh wave is supposed to be the strongest, the most profound.”

All the meaningful actions and work we undertake in our most immediate circles to bring about positive change and further the principles of the UDHR can forge this seventh wave, as well as help right the boatOn this page of our newly cast website (work still in process), you can find links to our resources for speaking up, as well as numerous examples and write-ups of how the UDHR has been utilized for positive engagement.  We hope this is yet another source of inspiration.  Let’s keep in mind Sting’s hopeful words, “There is a deeper wave than this, swelling in the world.”

With appreciation and best regards,

Sandy Sohcot, Director