Institutionalizing the Beloved Community

Feb 2nd, 2020 10:30 am
Cliff DuRand

Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream of a society in which all are recognized as equal and all are treated with dignity.  That vision resonated with most people who aspire to a more caring society in which we are our brothers keepers.  However, efforts in that direction have proven to be fragile, as we have learned to our dismay in recent years.  Part of the reason for that is due to our failure to institutionalize the kind of policies that can foster such values.  Philosopher Cliff DuRand will discuss how we can better socialize institutions that will nurture our better angels.  

A veteran of the protest politics of the 1960s, Dr. DuRand was a Professor at historically Black Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. His political baptism was in the civil rights movement, and he was also active in Central American solidarity in the 1980s. From these experiences he learned the power of social movements to change consciousness as well as to force political leaders to take into account popular cries for social justice. Beginning in the 1990s he organized annual educational trips to Cuba where he came to appreciate their efforts to build a socialist society. Moving to San Miguel in 2004, he was one of the founders of the Center for Global Justice. A popular speaker and author, he has published many articles and two books: Recreating Democracy in a Globalized State and Moving Beyond Capitalism.

In his talk at this Sunday’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, he will explore how commons contribute to a good society, which Dr. King called a blessed community.  Commons are resources that a community of commoners set aside and govern for their mutual benefit.  Public spaces like parks, plazas, even streets are commons that foster conviviality.  Public schools are educational commons that bring children of different classes and backgrounds together, fostering equality.   A public library like our Biblioteca is a common resource that enriches the life of the members of the community of users.  A system of universal health care would be a commons that supports a healthy society just as social security supports a secure, dignified life in retirement.

All these commons foster human flourishing.  A moral order requires more than ethical behavior on the individual level.  It also requires that the collective “we” care for one another.  In a good society we are collectively responsible for each other.  

This responsibility is rooted in core principles of Unitarian Universalism.  They affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person along with our interconnectedness.  Socialized institutions of commons root this web of mutuality in everyday life, thereby sustaining a beloved community.

Posada de la Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15
San Miguel de Allende, GUA 37700