Read the press release from Tuesday, May 19 here.
On Sunday, May 17, Pax Christi USA initiated a new effort, the “Pledge to Protect Others” as a thoughtful, compassionate response for this next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pledge works as both an “examination of conscience”, helping people to pause and think about how they will act in the context of our states and cities starting to “reopen” and what that means for themselves and the larger community; and secondly, it functions as an “act of solidarity” with others, articulating how we will demonstrate consideration for how our actions affect others, how we are taking personal responsibility to protect friends and strangers, and how we are prioritizing the common good, including making personal sacrifices.
On the website for the pledge, you’ll find a simple explanation for why a pledge and why now. You’ll also find the pledge in both English and Spanish and an embedded form to take the pledge right on the site. Lastly, we’ve included suggestions for action around the pledge — from sharing it on social media to creating signs that say “I took the pledge to protect others!” that you can place in an outward-facing window in your home to make your commitment public.
The pledge idea grew out of conversations we’ve had with numerous people over the past few weeks, including Pax Christi USA members, partners and friends. They’ve lamented the lack of leadership (from the White House in particular), the absence of calls to the common good, the racism of anti-lockdown protests, and the erosion of common human decency at every level. They’ve also shared the desire for a simple, straightforward way to open up conversations in their families and among friends to discuss how to make decisions and act with integrity and respect when the information they are getting from various levels of government and the media is often contradictory and vague and lacking any sense of common mission. The pledge is written in such a way as to serve as a resource to open up conversations and engage others. The language is designed to be accessible to people from various political, religious and cultural locations. So many people are dissatisfied with things as they are and are looking for something that speaks to that dissatisfaction and gives voice to their yearning for an alternative.
The pledge asserts something really basic — that we’re all human beings, that we care about each other, that we want to be thoughtful and considerate of our actions and how they impact other people during this crisis. (For those of us in Pax Christi USA, we recognize this as basic Catholic social teaching.) It may seem strange that this basic message has to be articulated, but people are telling us that it does. It’s an assertion that people can use to stand against that other narrative which seeks to blame and castigate others, trafficks in racism, threatens violence, foments fear, and only considers self-interest.
We hope you’ll visit the pledge website today and take it yourself. Most importantly, we hope you’ll share it with others — via email, social media, printed copies for those in your household. The pledge is a commitment each of us can make to demonstrate our concern for one another and our own capacity to act responsibly and compassionately. As more people take this pledge, our individual action contributes to a rising wave of people joining together in solidarity to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of all.