Investing in the Future of Democracy
Every year has its defining moments, but the paradigm-shifting changes we’ve experienced in 2020 make other years pale in comparison.
A devastating, raging pandemic spawning economic distress, waves of social change swelling around the globe and a US presidential campaign—hopefully, this won’t jinx it, but it doesn’t get much more turbulent than that.
Turbulence creates upheaval, generating fear and uncertainty.
It’s uncomfortable and sometimes painful.
As anyone who’s ever dealt with a tumultuous relationship knows, it’s not a pleasant place.
But, turbulence can also be a catalyst for change, an indication that transformation is needed.
A sign that it’s time to take a different approach.
As world-renowned business management guru and educator, Peter Drucker said, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
If we apply that logic to American democracy, maybe this is our chance to build a non-partisan movement that embraces true democracy, to focus on the cornerstones of democracy to drive progress and find solutions for all citizens.
Maybe this is a chance for a redo (of sorts)!
While voting in the upcoming presidential election is vital, more is needed to bring about real change.
A goal of ensuring a democracy that represents and provides for all Americans requires that we engage in the process, envision a just nation that works toward fostering meaningful solutions for all citizens and energize a grassroots movement to accomplish this mission.
The burden rests on the shoulders of young people.
Student activism has a long history in the United States and the rest of the world.
Young people have gone to great lengths to make their voices heard—sometimes putting themselves in harm’s way.
Student activists come in all races, classes, genders and nationalities.
The common denominator has been the students’ dedication to social justice.
Protests shine a spotlight on the issues and help mobilize people, but as those fighting for racial equality and civil rights have learned over the years, affecting real change requires having a seat at the table.
Real change—systemic change—begins with insight, empathy and hard work and harnessing our collective energy to chart a path forward.
It requires leadership.
It requires personal responsibility.
It requires hard work.
One of In This Together’s partner, Bridge USA provides an outlet for student voices and encouragement for students to not just talk about political reform, but to develop strategic steps to facilitate a grassroots effort to turn it into action through many outlets.
Students can start or join local Bridge USA chapters, participate in timely discussions or gain insight through role-playing scenarios.
Bridge member Jessica Carpenter talks about the importance of starting the conversation.
Sam Foer, founded a Bridge chapter in his efforts to embrace his passion for free expression.
Grace Boeger became a member after experiencing how Bridge works to reconcile the disconnect that drives a wedge between us.
Bridge USA also elevates the student movement with its Democracy Fellowship program and Impact Grant.
Both provide unique opportunities for passionate students to engage in real-world experiences to make concrete contributions to preserving democracy.
The unparalleled challenges of 2020 have exposed the polarization of our nation and its broken democratic system.
There’s no better time to embrace the power within us, to engage, envision and energize to build a strong United States of America.