Sign the "One Worcester Pledge" A Renewed Commitment to Civility in Public Life
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One Worcester Pledge: A Renewed Commitment to Civility in Public Life
(Please read the attachment statement and sign you name to the petition at the bottom asking our elected leaders to take the pledge)
We the undersigned Worcester business and labor leaders, members of the clergy, community leaders and former elected officials join together to express our deep concern about the state of civic and political affairs in our city. We have watched with concern as local elections and the work of local government in our great community have been infected by the toxic political discourse that threatens to divide our community as it has our country and endangers our hard won democracy.
Sadly today some community members and local elected officials are using social media, blogs and traditional media to marginalize members of our community, including but not limited to immigrants and communities of color, tear down our leaders and disparage the motives as well as the work of appointed as well as elected officials. This toxic environment discourages civic participation, damages the image of our city, creates suspicion, poisons public discourse, sets back efforts for racial equity and adversely impacts the ability of our leaders to unite and effectively govern our city.
Today fewer people run for public office because they fear being the target of brutal personal attacks. Fewer voters participate in local elections because they are turned off by chronic personal arguments and the lack of meaningful issue-driven debate. Many community leaders avoid participation in civic affairs because they see how others who step forward have their character and even their families attacked. These terrible realities make it hard for our residents to come together as citizens, especially those on the margins, to do the difficult work of carrying out our shared responsibility for advancing the public interest
We believe that all members of the community share responsibility for the common good. We carry out these shared responsibilities through political action, civic work in a variety of community organizations, and in the day to day work of government. We believe that our current situation calls for a renewal of civic engagement and mutual respect by all of us. While we understand that elected officials and candidates for public office will advocate for their beliefs and challenge others in the pursuit of a better community; we expect our elected officials will do so in a civil manner. We call on all our leaders to reject the use of personal attacks and commit themselves to a higher standard of conduct in running their campaigns and sharing in the governing of our city.
We ask all our elected officials and candidates for public office to take the pledge listed below. We also call on the next Mayor to bring our community together to find new ways to encourage civic participation and restore civility to public life in our community.
If elected I pledge:
1. I will refrain from personal attacks on my fellow elected leaders, appointed officials, city workers and all who serve our community through civic and governmental work.
2. I will work as an elected leader to create an atmosphere where all residents, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or nation of origin, are respected and encouraged to participate in the governance of our city.
3. I will commit myself to speaking up and calling into account other political leaders who violate these principles.
We invite you to add your name to the list of the following community, business, labor and religious leaders who support this important community effort.
Community and Labor Leaders:
Mary and Bob Knittle
Former Elected Officials:
Reverend Aaron Payson
Reverend Jose Encarnacion
Reverend Brent A. Newberry
Reverend Jose Perez
Reverend Clyde Talley
Reverend Sarah Stewart
Reverend Judith K. Hanlon
Libis R. Bueno
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