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The Trajectory

Posted by griffithd@ecsphilly.org on May 10, 2020 at 9:55 AM

We all have moments that change the trajectory. The trajectory of our lives, our relationships, our careers, and our opportunity to shape our legacy. One of my all-time Muddy Boots heroes, Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 US Olympic team, famously challenges his team before they played the Russians in the semi-finals that, “This is your time.”

 

Well, we are at such a moment. This is our time. We have some choices to make.

 

Let me frame these choices in terms of our stated values at Episcopal Community Services, where I work.

 

1. Dignity: We are asked in our tradition if you will respect the dignity of every human being -not some, every.

2. Justice: What are the rules for a free society, not just the rule of law, but equity and access to opportunity for all. Is justice equal?

3. Community: How does an interdependent community of individuals from entry-level supply chain workers to corporate executives function?

4. Impact: How do our public policies, our economic systems, our support systems drive results that deliver and create real opportunities for all individuals.

 

What CV-19 has made clear is the playing field is not level, nor has it ever been. That on the core fundamental legacy values of dignity, justice, community, and impacts, we are at an inflection point.

 

As we recover from CV-19 over the next several years and we rebuild our economy and establish health policies to face the next pandemic, what have we learned? More importantly, what will we do differently? Some thoughts:

 

1. All jobs have dignity and value. Can we build a workforce that allows for living wages and benefits while addressing the critical needs of infrastructure, clean energy, access to health care, supply chain, and sustainable food supply? The data says we can, but not without changes in public policy and support for these investments.

2. How do we level the playing field on economic opportunity and still drive innovation and investment in research and design? Again public policy and partnership with industry that supports education, training, and investment in creating living-wage jobs. The current safety net programs maintain people. The most effective safety net is a living wage job with benefits. On a macro level, we need a transition tax policy that drives this transaction person by person, company by company.

3. CV19 has highlighted the enormous value of essential workers. Time to value these jobs correctly as living wage jobs. As local communities and as a country, we need to find a better balance in how we value employment. I am all for the market to work, but it needs to be a transparent and free-market guided and led by thoughtful public policy that creates living-wage jobs. Think of an economy where you have 25% more consumers.

4. We spend time and substantial funds on programs that maintain our most vulnerable. One could argue that the impact of these programs saves lives, but fundamentally does not change lives. It is time to rethink the approach and call for different long term results. What does success really look like in a post-CV-19 world? The issues have long been here. CV-19 now shines a bright light on the challenges. It would be irresponsible not to pay attention on many levels but I also can see that social unrest is brewing. Let us work on the real root causes, not bandaids.

 

We have some choices.

It is our time to listen and learn.

It is time to act.

What trajectory do we choose?

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