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Progressive Values Stories: Brianna Leavitt on Taking Back Family Values - Justice & Responsibility

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Frankly, I'm fed up with politicians in Washington lecturing the rest of us about family values. Our families have values. But our government doesn’t. Bill Clinton 

I interviewed Brianna Leavitt at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley.  She feels conservatives have taken over the term Values and Family Values, but she doesn't want to just give up the words to them. She goes on to talk about the Progressive Values she learned in her family. Her mother always reached out to the poor and homeless.  Brianna  was taught empathy, justice and responsibility by her parents and grandmother. These are in opposition to the Failed Conservative Family Values that exclude people.

Brianna Leavitt-Alcantara Taking Back Family Values

Edwin:  How would you define the word Values?

Brianna: I guess I would say what you hold to be important in terms of how you live your life, how you see your place in the world, how you relate to other people.  Those qualities that you consider to be most important as to how you live your life or face the world.

Edwin:  Is that something you’ve thought about before, values?

Answer:  I think so.  Growing up in my family, there’s always been a lot of emphasis on that, on thinking about what kind of person you want to be in the world, and how you want to impact the people around you, or what kind of effects you want to have.  So I think in my family there’s always been a lot of emphasis on that.

Edwin:  Is there any kind of negative type feelings you have about values.  For example, values on the progressive side, they feel a negativity of values, because it’s been taken over by conservatives. 

Answer: Yeah, I guess obviously we hear family values a lot, and it’s a lot of times defined in this very narrow way.  I guess my response to that is that I don’t like to just give them that word.  When I hear people talk about it in a very narrow way, it really bothers me that they sort of get to define values, sometimes in ways that are very hostile and exclusionary.  So I guess my response to that, though, is to not just give up the word. 

Edwin:  Take it back.

Answer:  Yeah, cause one of the things that makes me angry about that, is that a lot of people assume that if you support gay marriage, you don’t support family values.  And I feel that I support gay marriage because I support family values.  So I feel like for me it’s part of my values.

A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.  Charles Swindoll

Progressive Values: Brianna Leavitt-Alcantara on Justice & Responsibility

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Founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, (more...)
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