I don’t know Kathy Conley-Jones, but I wish I did. I think I’d like her.
Conley-Jones is owner of the Conley Financial Group in St. Louis. In an article in the St. Louis American in May 2010, this obviously successful African-American woman was quoted as saying:
“Success is not about money. It’s living in a way that you don’t hurt other people.”
Wow! This is the golden rule writ simple…simple enough for a preschooler to understand. But it must be too complicated for corporate CEOs, local, state and national political decision makers.
If “don’t hurt other people” was the bottom line, would we have the abandoned housing, crumbling buildings, and infrastructure mess that we have in North St. Louis today?
Would we have hungry children, inadequate public schools, and lack of services for children in our community?
If they really didn’t want to hurt other people, would our state legislators continue to make it ever more difficult for women to access legal abortion services? Would they continue to deny access to affordable health care to low-income families? Would they continue to make it easier for people to carry concealed weapons? W
ould they continue to make it more difficult for people to vote? Would they try to prohibit possible life-saving stem cell research in our state?
If we really tried to honor other people, would we force some individuals to lie about their sexual orientation in order to serve in our armed services? If we truly cared about not harming people, wouldn’t we insist on safer working conditions and more environmental protections?
Social justice will be a reality when everyone does more than give lip-service to Conley-Jones’s mantra. Meanwhile, we all have a lot of work to do. May we be successful…and do that work without hurting other people.
[Originally posted in "Loud and Clear," the e-newsletter of Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice]
Barbara L. Finch is a writer and former public relations practitioner. In 2005 she and three friends founded Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, an organization of progressive women now numbering more than 500 members and friends.