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Toward Community Response Policy

TOWARD COMMUNITY: UNITY IN DIVERSITY 
Response Policy

The mission of Toward Community is to promote unity through a sharing of cultural values, an appreciation of the richness of diversity and a commitment to justice through education, advocacy and service.  We are committed to inter-ethnic understanding and cooperation.

As a leader in promoting unity in diversity in the Fox Cities, Toward Community responds publicly to important issues and events relating to diversity within our community.  Our mission to be an advocate for diversity and justice in particular calls us to respond.  We do so because of and in accordance with our mission.

In addition to our mission statement, the following principles guide us in how we respond.

1) Our most effective approach always is to work proactively and preemptively.  Through education in particular, we work with individuals and groups of people in the Fox Cities to promote an appreciation for the richness of diversity.  To the extent this appreciation grows, there will be fewer cases of discrimination and injustice to which we feel called to respond.

2) The focus of our advocacy work will be to promote the inherent dignity and worth of all people.  We believe that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to enjoy the individual civil rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.  We work to make this belief a reality for all people in our community.  Our public responses to events and issues in our community shall be limited to this focus.

3) When we contemplate responding to a public issue or event, we shall strive to have as many Toward Community members as possible involved in the decision of whether and how to respond.  When possible, we shall decide at Toward Community meetings whether and how to respond.  On some occasions, time constraints may not allow sufficient time for the whole group to decide whether and how to respond.  In such circumstances, our Executive Committee is empowered to formulate and implement a response that is consistent with this policy.  The membership shall review such Executive Committee responses at its next meeting and is empowered to affirm, amend or overturn an Executive Committee response.  To the extent possible, members of the Executive Committee shall solicit informal feedback from members through e-mail and other means before making a decision.  On rare occasions, the Executive Committee may not have time to formulate a response.  In such cases the Chairperson of the Executive Committee may formulate a response.  The Chair shall then consult with the Executive Committee and the membership as soon as possible to affirm, amend or overturn the response.  In all of these procedures, the first step will be to assess the issue.  After the assessment and a consideration of Toward Community’s mission, priorities and available resources, Toward Community may choose not to respond.  In many cases, Toward Community’s response may take the form of a referral to other more appropriate resources in the wider community.

4) Whenever Toward Community makes a response to an issue, one or more members shall be designated to articulate the response in the wider community.  This will help ensure that Toward Community gives a consistent and coherent response.  Other Toward Community members shall refrain from public comment on the Toward Community response and refer members of the media and others to Toward Community’s designated spokesperson/people.  This policy explicitly allows Toward Community’s spokesperson/people to speak for Toward Community in accordance with this policy.  Typically one of the spokespeople shall be the Chairperson of Toward Community.  Individual members other than the designated spokesperson/people are of course welcome to respond as individuals, but they are not allowed to speak for Toward Community in their response.

5) Toward Community shall strive in the spirit of our mission statement to make our public responses positive in tone and substance.

Adopted by the membership of Toward Community, January 2001.

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