| Get the Picture

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“We face a moral crisis as a country and a people. … The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated.” 

—President John F. Kennedy, Report to the American People on Civil Rights,
June 11, 1963


We are a democracy in crisis. The past few decades have seen our country moving steadily toward oligarchy, where the wealthiest and most powerful among us control the decisions that affect our lives and the promise of equality for all has still not been met. These past weeks and days we are also reminded—if we needed reminding—that the evil of racism that has ever been intertwined with our national journey is one of the most powerful forces holding America back. As I shared in my message earlier this week, this is not a “distraction” from our goal; this is our goal: an America where we do not abuse power to lock out, silence and destroy our fellow Americans.

Even amid seemingly insurmountable challenges and conflict in the past, Americans have never given up. We won’t give up now. Alongside the recent atrocities we have also seen Americans coming together, feeling a renewed sense that we are all in this together

Equality serves as the basis for our goal at American Promise: to ensure every American has an equal voice. Right now that goal is more urgent than ever. Next week the American Academy of Arts & Science’s Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship will launch its blueprint for how we can strengthen America’s institutions and civic culture in six strategies to improve the resilience of our democracy. In doing so, the Commission has issued a bold challenge for all Americans to meet their vision of a common purpose to reinvent democracy for the 21st century. 

We accept the challenge. The American Promise Amendment we are winning together is a central pillar of the vision of a more resilient democracy. Thanks to you and so many Americans, we will secure equal rights and equal opportunities for all in America, and we will treat all Americans as we want to be treated.

Easy Action Item

Jeff Clements
President, American Promise
America’s Broken Heart—What Can We Do to Advance Equality?

The protests and unrest across America in recent days remind us that sometimes, to believe in the American promise is hard. As American Promise President Jeff Clements says: “That promise is that every human being has equal, inalienable rights and liberty; that every American citizen has an equal right and a responsibility to vote and participate in governing this sprawling, messy republic together. That promise is always here, as it is now. It has never been delivered.”
Read More
Our Common Purpose: The Challenge of Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century 

After two years of study, research, and community meetings with Americans from different demographic and political backgrounds across the nation, the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, a bipartisan group convened by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, has created its vision to reinvent a more inclusive, effective and resilient democracy for the 21st century. On June 11, that vision will be revealed in its report, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century.
Read More
| State Spotlight: Tennessee
GOP Lawmakers in Tennessee Advance Amendment Resolution  

Huge opportunity in the state of Tennessee! In a display of the deep cross-partisan support for our movement, Tennessee House Republicans sponsored a resolution for a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics and empower all Americans. With this act, Tennessee moves a big step closer to joining the 20 other states across the nation that have formally called on Congress for this amendment. Tennessee Republicans join their GOP colleagues in states from Maine to Wyoming to Alaska, all working on this critical issue.

Our friends at Wolf-PAC, with support from the American Promise Chapter in Knoxville, have led the charge to get us this far. The vote is on June 8, and if you live in Tennessee, use this simple tool to make sure your legislator hears from you! 
| Dysfunction on Display
The issue: While one in four American workers have filed for unemployment during the pandemic, U.S. billionaires continued to build their wealth, gaining $434 billion.

The action: Join other business leaders in nonpartisan advocacy to end unlimited political spending, foster honest competition, and reestablish integrity in government by becoming a member of Business for American Promise.
Make a Difference with Business for American Promise
American Promise recently joined VoteSafe, a cross-partisan coalition of election administrators and organizations working to ensure that every American has the right to vote safely during the pandemic. VoteSafe is committed to ensuring the safety of all voters as they exercise their constitutional right. Doing so is not a partisan issue; it is an American issue that transcends politics and partisanship.
Learn More About VoteSafe
| What We’re Tracking

From the Center for Responsive Politics: Political groups that don’t fully disclose their sources of funding have already spent more than $100 million to influence 2020 races, and now some of those groups won’t have to disclose their donors to the IRS. Read more.

From the Los Alamos Daily Post: In a letter to the editor, citizen leader Adelaide Jacobson calls on all Los Alamos County candidates and elected officials to sign the American Promise Pledge and support the 28th Amendment. “Though 2020 is a very different campaign season for political candidates,” she says, “there is one unfortunate constant to running for political office in the United States regardless of the year: the necessity to raise … increasingly, large sums of money.” Read more.

From the Center for Public Integrity: The Senate’s vote to confirm Trey Trainor as a member of the Federal Election Commission means the commission again has enough members to enforce election laws. Commissioner retirements and inaction from the Senate reduced the six-person commission to just three members last year, leaving the FEC without a quorum. Read more.

From the Fulcrum: Amid a public health crisis, economic upheaval, and protests, Americans may appear more divided than ever. But a recent survey shows that public unity—the feeling that “we’re all in this together”—is at 90%, up from 63% just two years ago, a promising sign for advocates of democracy reform. Read more.

| Upcoming American Promise Events
June 11: Join us for the release of the final report of the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. Hear from the Commissioners, dedicated Americans, and organizations who came together to make these recommendations. Learn more about the steps we can take to improve the resilience of our democracy by 2026, our nation’s 250th anniversary.

More online: Watch the American Promise calendar for event updates and check our YouTube Channel for recordings of many of our past events.

American Promise empowers Americans to act together to win the 28th Amendment so people, not money, govern in America.
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