originally written by Jane Morrow and published by Mennonite Mission Network
ELKHART, Ind. — Shared Voices: Mennonite Mission Network guidelines for anti-racism and anti-sexism communication exemplifies Mennonite Mission Network’s commitment to antiracist, anti-sexist and anti-oppressive action and awareness. Mission Network is, perhaps, the only global, faith-based agency of its kind to broadly offer such a resource. The communication guide helps transform and improve the work of inclusive, cross-cultural engagement in a complex world, which has become more interconnected yet simultaneously fractionalized.
Mission Network initially published Shared Voices in 2007, primarily as an internal guide for its Marketing and Communication staff. Other agencies, Mennonite Church USA congregations and partner organizations, including other Christian denominations, also began using the guide and requested permission to adapt it. Because of the unique cultural engagement experiences Mission Network staff and international workers take part in, requests for culturally competent communication advice and consultation also increased. In 2010, Shared Voices was revised to include anti-sexism guidance.
Now, in 2023, Shared Voices has been updated with broader usage in mind and includes a glossary of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) related terms that are used in various international settings.
More than 20 years of international experience gives Mission Network a measure of expertise. However, Mission Network acknowledges that the organization remains on a journey, as they promote the way of peace, justice and equity through Jesus Christ. These guidelines are meant as a tool to invite reflection and dialogue for Mission Network and beyond.
Shared Voices equips and enables:
1. Support for mission workers, partners and the people they work alongside to tell their stories from their perspectives, whenever and wherever possible.
2. The greatest possible control of written copy and media for mission partners.
3. Third-person stories and other reports to be presented in ways that accurately depict partners and others in non-stereotypical ways.
4. Photographing and recording of scenes in ways that avoid exoticism and that encourage depicting partners in non-stereotypical ways.
5. Focus on the assets and abilities of partners and the people they work alongside, even as their needs are identified.
For more information, contact Jennifer Hayes, Director of Marketing and Communications, 574-501-4139 or JenniferH@MennoniteMission.net.