FIJ Quarterly - Summer 2022 Edition

requires us to recognize its fundamental injustice: the belief that some people are worth less than others with little hope that they will ever contribute to society. Consider this question. What sort of systems would we build if we believed that some members of specific ethnic and cultural groups were incapable of contributing to society? We would develop and maintain the system and practice we have now. Can they be made more just if they continue to exist, and have those on the receiving end continued to be defined this way? No. America built a post-war welfare state on the theory that governments exist to solve social problems for people. It built institutions and industries over decades to do this. In the meantime, social problems have become more complex and more profound. It's time for a new theory of change, especially related to children and the natural environment. Dr. Robert Anda is well known for his work 30 years ago on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study. More recently, informed by the ACEs study, a new theory of change for America must be, "Parents (We will add in this article and grandparents) are the agents of change in the lives of children, governments and communities must help them be that." Government must support the natural community-led solutions and responses to social issues. Governments must support parents, grandparents, schools, neighborhoods, and communities as the only authors and architects of change, not bureaucracies and revenue-generating industries existing due to the neglect of families and communities in our hyper-individualistic, producer/consumer-focused society. Raif's wisdom teaches us, or instead returns us, to something that hallmarks the cornerstone of thinking, practicing, and decision making. "What if we invest in his capacity, wisdom, and cosmic heart?" What if we were a community built around him? Raif is not a file. Raif is not a statistic. Raif is the only superpower version of himself that has ever or will ever exist on this pale blue dot we call home. Raif is a son. Raif is a friend. Raif is a dog person. Raif is a neighbor. Raif is a teacher. Raif identifies with the value of hard work. Raif is not a problem. Raif is and always has been a unique and extraordinary human.

A return to a biologically consistent, community-built and community-led response to the needs and strengths of people is justice. Our best chance of survival through a historical and current view of wellness lies in the community. We must return to seeing the capabilities individually and communally in response to socially created problems. Do not be fooled by its simplicity. In our ever-growing complexity as beings and societies, a return to simple restores. The 'we' of this pale blue dot, as Carl Sagan would call it, begins and ends in community. Community. "That's here, that's home. That's us. We built systems to contain people and protect privilege, not to unleash, inspire or celebrate every person and life. What would be the harm of a new path toward meaningful equality with protections for personal and community freedoms? Not as producers or consumers, but the only one of us who have ever existed, exists now, or will exist in the future in the known universe? What makes us extraordinary is that we are human. We are humans who rely on relationships and community for survival. Unfortunately, we built the welfare state on the idea that not all of us are human. Our democracy will only thrive when we entirely repudiate this deeply embedded and devastating lie. Reform must be the collective effort to find and remove it from every government's cornerstone, public and private institutions in America. _________________________ Kevin Campbell is a founding partner of Pale Blue., author of Family Seeing TM and a global health policy expert living in Seattle with his family, dogs, cats, and chickens. Elizabeth Wendel is a founding partner of Pale Blue., author of Family Seeing TM , and family and community practice innovator. Elizabeth lives in Philadelphia with her partner and cat. Raif O’Neil is a creator and star of the 2011 award winning documentary “From Place to Place.” Raif lives in Colorado with his girlfriend and dogs.

34 | FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022

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