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About Us - In The Words of our Members

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How to Bring Mindfulness into Politics

A non-cliché guide to bringing wellness into the political sphere. What is this often-used term “mindfulness”? It is the ability to fully be present and engaged in any given moment. Studies have shown mindfulness lowers ruminative thinking, reduces stress, and lessens emotional reactivity while it boosts memory and focus. The etymology of the word “political” comes from polis, which is a community. As Aristotle framed it, human beings are political animals. It means each of us belongs to communities and together we aspire to make the world a better place.

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America’s Lost Voices

The turmoil that coronavirus has exacerbated is shining a spotlight on previously under-discussed topics such as race, inequality, and the criminal justice system. Yet, a critical source of systemic inequality is still not getting attention -- the fundamentally unfair practice of prison gerrymandering.  There are several clear patterns in the prison population. First, it is disproportionately people of color. As of 2017, over 60% of individuals in prison were people of color. Black men are 6 times more likely and hispanic men are 2.7 times to be incarcerated as white men. In that same vein, black and hispanic women make up 60-67% of the female prison population.  Another important aspect to note about the prison population is their socioeconomic status. Incarcerated people of all genders, races, and ethnicities earn much less prior to imprisonment than their non-incarcerated counterparts. In fact, the American inmate population is dramatically concentrated at the lowest ends of the national income distribution. Finally, prisoners suffer from high rates of coronavirus, mental illness, addiction problems, histories of abuse, and the list goes on. 

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Looking Beyond Election 2020: How You Can Help Heal America

As Election Week 2020 looms, many of us are mentally preparing for worst-case scenarios: a drawn-out result, a contested outcome, a flaring-up of violent skirmishes. Under any scenario, and no matter who wins, we already know this to be true: millions of Americans will be elated, and millions of Americans will be dejected. We saw the first movie, and the sequel promises to be a real dog. It may feel like our divisions can only be hardened in the wake of the upcoming, contentious election cycle. How could it be any other way? After all, our opinions have certainly hardened, our feelings towards one another have hardened, and the positions of our elected leaders have hardened as well. But what if … what if … the wake of this election could instead provide an opportunity for softening the divisions that have caused so much damage to our national psyche? What if we could find our way back to each other, simply because we have become so fatigued with the level of animosity and rancor? What if it turns out that we did some hard work these past few years, in order to better understand and appreciate why fellow citizens might see the world differently than we do? What if we have learned a thing or two about the forces that aim to divide us along political fault lines, and we have collectively decided, “We’re not gonna take it anymore!”

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