I republish this document for July 4, 2022, at a time when our nation is in desperate need of it, on behalf of all those who brought it into being for all those who can bring it to life today and tomorrow. Patricia Kepler
DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE
DECLARATION OF IMPERATIVES
Presented to the nation by the Women’s Coalition of the Third Century on July 4, 1976 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA. Original in the Smithsonian Institution
Two hundred years ago the United States of America was born of the courage and strength of women and men who while searching for liberty, gold or adventure, endured to lay the foundation of our nation with their lives.
Believing in a people’s right to govern themselves, they drafted a Declaration, initiated a revolution and established this republic. Some who struggle for freedom were not fully free themselves: youth, native Americans, blacks, women of all races, and the unpropertied.
Each of us emerges out of the past with a different story to tell. We inherit a nation which has broken through to a technological age with all the dangers and promises that holds. Responsibility rests on us. We are committed to the Constitution of the United States, amended by the Equal Rights Amendment, and the evolving democracy it protects. We believe in the right of all peoples to self-government.
History teaches us that both unlimited power and powerlessness breed corruption; that where all human beings are not valued, humanity is violated; that where differences divide us, they limit and distort us; that independence is an illusion and unlimited freedom is tyranny, plunging whole societies and people into chaos and bondage. Human survival requires interdependence.
We have been called to new consciousness by impending crises that threaten to overwhelm us if we obediently serve institutions that do not serve us.
We will no longer endure the corruption of power which risks the world’s future by ignoring the rights and well-being of persons and communities. The imperative of the present is to integrate the struggle for greater humanization. To be more fully human is to share life, to respond to the dignity of ourselves and others, to be committed to the growth of one another, to develop and vitalize human community. It is necessary then to risk, to be in conflict, to suffer, to love and to celebrate.
We therefore make this declaration. We are interdependent with the good earth, with all people, and with divine reality.
In declaring our interdependence with all peoples, we recognize geographic communities of persons and their interdependence with one another. We affirm our common humanity and we respect one another’s uniqueness. We accept our responsibility to share the visions, hopes and dreams of one another and pledge ourselves to protect each other’s freedom.
We shall be dedicated to the empowerment of all people and to the expression of each person’s
We shall commit ourselves to a world in which food, shelter, clothing and health care are the rights of all people.
We shall seek protection for people in need of care in our society, and work to provide support systems for those responsible for their care and nurture.
We shall create a climate for the creative development of each person’s human potential, and for the utilization and enjoyment of all human resources for the good of all people.
We shall respect the dignity and privacy of expressions of individual personality and living relationships.
We shall be committed to lifelong learning with access to education for all persons and for the responsible uses of communication media.
We shall be committed to all people’s responsibility for public institutions of government, law, education, business, and religion, and to the concept that those institutions be responsive to the direction of the people.
We shall value and share use of free access to all public information and shall protect and value individual privacy.
In declaring our interdependence with the earth we affirm our reliance on it, our mutual responsibility for it and the rights of all persons to the fruits thereof.
We shall enjoy, protect, restore and improve the world that we inherit.
We shall produce the world’s resources and share them among all peoples.
We shall enjoy and cherish the sacredness and privacy of our bodies and shall bring into the world children who are wanted.
We shall use and control technology for the survival and protection of nature and all people.
In declaring our interdependence with Divine Reality we recognize the possibilities of a sacred mystery within and around us.
We shall honor and protect people’s right to gather as they choose in religious communities.
We shall support each other in pursuit of truths which emerge from our diverse experiences and histories, rejecting those exclusive claims to truth which deny the sacred existence of others.
We shall be open to revelations that extend beyond the boundaries of our current understanding and wisdom.
We shall recognize the divine within ourselves and in one another.
We women and men and children make this Declaration living in the midst of a world in which women are subservient and oppressed, men are repressed and brutalized, and children are violated and alienated. In making this Declaration we seek a new order and covenant ourselves to a fully interdependent society. We live in a world in which love has yielded to war, art to science, religion to materialism, and sexuality to violence. We are committed to the discovery of a humanity which lays claim to the fulness of life.
We disclaim any right to privilege in order to honor the full dignity and development of all and take up responsibility for instituting freedom.
We long for light to shine on our darkness and life on the shadow of death, and for our feet to be guided in the way of peace. We shall live with grace and struggle with courage through the transitional years that lie ahead.
The Women’s Coalition for the Third Century offers this Declaration of Interdependence to the people of the United States for response. In so doing we declare our intent to be architects of our Third Century. The future belongs to those who can dream with courage and creativity, plan with intelligence and wisdom, and act with power and compassion for the liberation of humanity. We invite others to join us in this declaration.
Declaration of Imperatives
We are aware of humanity’s suffering, for as women we have been in bondage to unjust systems. Now we will define ourselves and find release from the values, images, myths, and practices that for centuries defined us.
We will no longer be governed by institutions that do not seek, respect and include our leadership.
We will not be taxed without representation.
We will not be bound by the authority of legal systems in which we participate only minimally in the making and administration of the laws.
We will not be exploited in the labor force.
We will not be the only ones responsible for child care, homemaking and community building.
We reject educational systems that distort our reality.
We will not accept philosophies and theologies that deny our existence.
W will not abide prophets of the future who ignore our struggle.
We will not be reduced to sex symbols nor have our sexuality determined by others.
We will not be the principal source of morality for this nation. We insist that our contributions to conscience be incorporated into the public as well as the private sector. And we will not be destroyed by unethical and immoral leadership. We will not be divided by the distinctions that have traditionally alienated us from one another.
We will share the leadership of society and its government. We will demand respect for work inside and outside the home. We will share in the labor force and treasure leisure. We demand education that maximizes human potential. We will share in raising families. We will develop philosophies and theologies. We will enjoy our sexuality. We will create the future and act with strength in the fulfillment of these imperatives.
The Women of the Coalition for the Third Century make this Declaration to make certain our rights are not once again denied and our value and values ignored. Our concern for interdependence requires of each full partnership with all in the search for a human order.
President of the Women’s olation: The Rev. Patricia Budd Kepler