Oxfam’s mission is to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice. We uphold human rights and help people engage directly in the crucial decisions that affect their lives. A goal like ending poverty is more than wishful thinking. We know, because we’ve been helping individuals end poverty in their own lives for more than 70 years. The big news? Efforts like these work. The proportion of the world’s people who are living in extreme poverty has been halved in just 15 years.
Long-term change requires persistence and vision. Our mission doesn’t shift in response to political campaigns or public opinion. In the US, 2016’s presidential election was not only contentious; it was characterized by provocative and ugly public rhetoric. Rather than retreat in response to attacks on our values, we believe that the challenges we face make Oxfam’s mission more relevant than ever.
Oxfam believes in a world that provides opportunity for all. Fundamentally, we recognize the power of people to overcome poverty. All of us—those of us living in poverty and those who do not—have a role to play. Ending poverty and injustice requires upholding human and political rights. We believe that governments must protect these rights for all people and should be held accountable to ensure that the interests of corporations and the wealthiest are not favored over the interests of others. Leaders must, without equivocation, advocate for all and condemn words and acts that infringe on the rights of any member of our society.
We have a long history of working effectively in a pluralistic America. Regardless of who holds power, we hew to the values that are at the very center of our work: inclusion and nondiscrimination across race, religion, and gender; our collective moral obligation to tackle economic inequality and climate change; to challenge the private sector to work for the benefit of all; and to protect the most vulnerable among us. We put women and girls at the center of all we do.
That is why Oxfam America is prioritizing our work on issues that are most threatening to the well-being of those of us living in poverty:
Inequality: We fight for a more human economy that works for everyone, not just the 1 percent. Extreme inequality drives people into poverty. We fight for fair wages for workers so that they can break the cycle of poverty. We fight to reform policies that disproportionately benefit corporations and the very wealthy at the expense of everyone else. We fight for an end to discrimination of all kinds, which perpetuates inequality and poverty.
Climate change: We fight to protect the most vulnerable people around the world from climate change. These are often the people who have done the least to contribute to climate change, but are most affected. We demand that our leaders in the US recognize that climate change is a real global threat, and we call on these leaders to uphold our international commitments. Fighting global climate change simply cannot happen without the United States.
Threats to minorities, refugees, and immigrants: We work to ensure that the United States remains a safe and welcoming home for all its citizens and for immigrants—regardless of gender, race, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation. We work to ensure the United States is a safe home for refugees fleeing from strife. This is not the time to close our hearts, our minds, or our borders.
Oxfam America will hold our leaders accountable and will fight to protect the poor and most vulnerable people we serve—around the world and in the US. We will stand up for what is right, what is fair, and what is just. We will act now and for the long term.