In my role as Executive Director of The Relational Center, I get the opportunity to offer a personal message to our supporters through our newsletters. Right now, I think it’s especially important to use this platform to express my deep concern for the effects of the current social and political climate on the health and safety of our many allies. In this newsletter, I feel strongly that it’s important for me to use  use my voice to denounce the flood of new proposed policies that blatantly undermine the world’s capacity to embrace humanity and protect our connections to one another and the planet. I’m thinking especially of laws that seek to remove people’s protections and civil rights, or those that grant protections to ignore what science and history have taught us about the conditions that sustain life and justice. The community I represent is certainly not neutral on these issues. We are partial to policies and standards that align with relational values.

The Relational Center recognizes that what frequently lies at the root of poor health, distress, and social and economic struggle, is the absence of positive, affirming, and enduring relationships. Healthy relationships operate as an often-unrecognized protective force that has been strongly correlated in social science research with the presence of hope, resilience, and persistence in the face of adversity. And while relationship factors are not always the direct “cause” of health challenges, they always play a key role in mitigating suffering, minimizing harm, and generating creative solutions to complex problems.

Therefore, we believe it is vitally important to call out what we perceive to be the practices and structures responsible for masking people’s experience of the deeply valuable relationships on which our very existence depends. We resolve to expose any cultural or political conditions that succeed in alienating human beings from their awareness of what connects us to community, the stories of our ancestors, and our natural environment.